[From the web] Tinay Palabay wins prestigious human rights award; dedicates prize to fellow rights defenders | Kodao


Tinay Palabay wins prestigious human rights award; dedicates prize to fellow rights defenders

Karapatan’s office was busy Wednesday afternoon and people were scurrying about, as usual. But no list was being updated and no frantic calls were being made. The stacks of papers atop tables were being ignored and the placards were shoved to corners where they could not get in the way of the bustle.

The chatter was happy and the jokes came thicker and faster than usual. And instead of harried-looking human rights defenders, they looked like party-goers in their Sunday best.

In a space usually reserved for quick consultations when there are reports of arrests and killings stood a ring light beside a human rights lawyer, make-up brushes in hand. Under the lights sat Karapatan’s secretary general Cristina “Tinay” Palabay being glammed up.

Downstairs came a steady procession of cars loaded with well-wishers from church and other human rights groups. They were getting ready to convoy to far-off Bonifacio Global City, an unusual destination for their type who is usually seen in rallies on streets and military and police camps.

When it was time to go, Tinay emerged smiling, every inch an international human rights laureate she was to formally become in a couple of hours’ time.

Roneo “Jigs” Clamor, Tinay’s long-time deputy secretary-general, also performed an unusual role that afternoon. He drove the honoree while wearing a seldom-worn suit. Another extraordinary instance happened when they arrived at the Blue Leaf Pavilion at the swanky corner of Taguig City. “This is actually my first time to have valet parking,” he said as he passed over the car keys to the attendant.

After a brief wait at the entrance for Covid-19 health protocols, Tinay entered the hall, Marcos martial law survivors, mothers of killed and the disappeared fellow rights defenders, and friends from student activism days in tow. They were soon joined by members of the diplomatic corps, journalists, progressive activists, and candidates for various positions in the 2022 elections.

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