International Coalition for Human Rights in the
May 28, 2019

Atty. Menardo Guevarra
Secretary, Department of Justice
Padre Faura St., Manila

Free Marklen Maojo Maga! Free all Political Prisoners in the Philippines!

Dear Secretary Guevarra,

The International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines urges you to take action to withdraw the trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms against union organizer Mr Marklen Maojo Maga, which are due to be heard on June 3, 2019, at the San Mateo, Rizal. We consider the detention of Mr Maga to be unlawful.

Maoj is an organiser of the Kilusang Mayo Uno Labor Center. On February 22, 2018, Maoj was accosted on a basketball court by at least a dozen men, blindfolded and forced into a vehicle without knowing why or where he was being taken. At the police headquarters, he was subjected to hours of interrogation and not given the chance to contact his lawyers and family. The arresting officers added to the outrage with the absurd charge or a murder in far away Mindanao, and planted a .45 caliber pistol on him. Maoj has been put through misery in several congested prisons as well as a quarantine-isolation cell.

On the eve of the June 3 court hearing, we call for your urgent consideration of this case and for this ludicrous charge to be withdrawn and Mr Maga to be released.

We see the case of Mr Maga as typical of the detention of 550 other political prisoners in the Philippines. We call for the release of all detained trade unionists in the Philippines and all 550 political prisoners held in jails across the country, an end to the repression and for genuine peace negotiations to resolve the deep crisis in Philippines society.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Murphy
Chairperson, Global Council,
International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines

Cc Hon Chito Gascon, Commission on Human Rights; Senator Marise Payne, Minister for Foreign Affairs; Senator Penny Wong; Senator Richard Di Natale; Ms Michelle Bachelet OHCHR; KMU; Karapatan