Twenty soldiers attempted to enter the BAYAN-Northern Mindanao Region office in Camaman-an, Cagayan de oro City last March 20 purportedly to arrest a certain “Albert.” When they were refused entry, the soldiers surrounded the house and prohibited the staff members to leave the office.
On the same day, the office of KASTAN, the provincial chapter of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance in Abra, located at Barangay Lipcan Ubbog, Bangued was ransacked.
Meanwhile, members of Karapatan-Quezon were harrassed and threatened last March 9 at two military checkpoints in barangays San Francisco and Dao. More than 50 elements of the 58th IB and CAFGU searched the delegates’ personal belongings. The delegates were on their way to Lopez, Quezon to conduct an investigation in a community where a firefight between the AFP and NPA took place last March 8.
Members of the International Delegation of Lawyers probing attacks against their Filipino counterparts were themselves brazenly subjected to surveillance and harassment by state intelligence agents. An agent took pictures and videos and snooped on the delegates’ conversations. Agents even tailed them to their hotel. .
The international delegation was composed of nine lawyers from Belgium, Italy, Japan, Korea, The Netherlands and United States. The investigation, conducted on March 14-17, looked into the incidents of attacks against the sector, including the killing of Atty. Benjamin Ramos and the Red-tagging of NUPL-Panay members. According to their findings, the killings of lawyers and prosecutors are interrelated and are a consequence of Duterte’s diatribes against the sector.
A day before the investigation, Atty. Rex Jasper Lopoz was shot-dead in front of a mall in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. According to National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL), Lopoz was the 38th lawyer killed under the US-Duterte regime.
Attacks on lawyers, human rights defenders and the people will surely heighten with the withdrawal of the government of the Philippines from the International Criminal Court, NUPL added. The withdrawal took effect last March 17.