The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) is alarmed over the series of attacks against human rights defenders in the country in the past two months, and has denounced what it called the “patterns of harassment” directed towards individuals who are only working with peoples organizations.
The CHR reported that on January 19, peasant organizers Emerito Pinza and Romy Candor went missing in Brgy. San Antonio, Kalayaan, Laguna. It has been suspected that elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) Regional Mobile Force Battalion 4A were involved in their disappearance.
On February 3, the CHR said that indigenous people leader and organizer, Jay-ar Mercado of Oriental Mindoro, was killed by alleged members of the 4th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army. His remains were found buried in Bulalacao without the consent and knowledge of his family.
Two days later, Engr. Jennifer Agohob, a resident of Oroquieta City and member of the Union of People’s Lawyer in Mindanao (UPLM) and Karapatan, was illegally arrested. The arrest was based on the warrant of arrest for murder issued on July 26, 2019 by Judge Victoriano Lacaya, Jr. of Regional Trial Court Branch in Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte. According to the CHR, Agohob was not even made aware of any of these complaints.
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