9 July 2020
Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, +639173162831
Karapatan Public Information Desk, +639189790580
Arrests of rights defenders in CamSur signal darker days ahead with enactment of terror law — Karapatan
The arrests of United Church of the Philippines (UCCP) pastor and Karapatan – Bicol Chairperson Dan San Andres and Bicolana Gabriela Chairperson Jenelyn Nagrampa in Camarines Sur on false charges “signal darker days ahead in the country with the signing of the Anti-Terrorism Act,” human rights watchdog Karapatan said, as the group assailed the arrests and charges as “part of the Duterte administration’s continuing crackdown and criminalization of human rights defenders.”
“In a matter of days after the Anti-Terrorism Act was signed, the harassment of human rights defenders in the country has already visibly worsened, from policemen attempting to serve a moot arrest warrant to the arrests of activists on clearly falsified murder charges. The arrests of Pastor Dan San Andres and Jenelyn Nagrampa are nothing more than efforts to threaten human rights defenders and to vilify and malign our work,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay stated.
Nagrampa, also a current village councilor in Brgy. San Isidro, Nabua, Camarines Sur as well as the national vice-chairperson of Gabriela, was arrested at her residence in Nabua, Camarines Sur around noon last Tuesday, July 7, through an arrest warrant issued last June 29. She is currently detained at the Nabua Municipal Police Station. Meanwhile, San Andres, 61, was arrested today, July 9, at 12:55 p.m., in his house in Sipocot, Camarines Sur. According to the initial reports of Karapatan – Bicol, Nagrampa and San Andres were accused of double murder in relation to an alleged New People’s Army (NPA) ambush that resulted in the deaths of two soldiers in Ragay, Camarines Sur on May 13, 2018.
Palabay averred that both Nagrampa and San Andres “have already filed their respective counter-affidavits where they vehemently denied participation in the alleged ambush. They have submitted their affidavits during the preliminary investigation on the double murder complaint last December 2019. During the said incident, San Andres was conducting a mass in his parish in the UCCP Church South Centro in Sipocot, Camarines Sur, while Nagrampa was campaigning for the barangay elections.”
“The concoctions of cases linking human rights defenders to alleged NPA encounters is already an old and tired tactic repeatedly orchestrated by the military to harass, threaten, intimidate, and criminalize us as well as to publicly vilify us as ‘terrorists’ or ‘terrorist sympathizers.’ This is already happening way before the Anti-Terrorism Act was signed into law,” the Karapatan officer continued.
“With its enactment, such incidents and patterns of human rights violations are expected to intensify in the mad rampage against human rights defenders, dissenters, and critics of this administration. Karapatan condemns the arrest of our Bicol chapter chairperson Pastor Dan San Andres and woman human rights defender Jenelyn Nagrampa. We urgently demand their immediate release as we call for the halt to all forms of attacks against human rights defenders in the Philippines,” she ended. ###
PUBLIC INFORMATION DESK
Alliance for the Advancement of People’s Rights
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KARAPATAN is an alliance of human rights organizations and programs, human rights desks and committees of people’s organizations, and individual advocates committed to the defense and promotion of people’s rights and civil liberties. It monitors and documents cases of human rights violations, assists and defends victims and conducts education, training and campaign.