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Rights group calls for release of environmental defender in Quezon province

Rights group calls for release of environmental defender in Quezon province

Karapatan Press Release –

15 June 2022

Rights group Karapatan condemned the arrest of Daisy Macapanpan last
week, and called for the immediate release of the environmental
defender, calling her “a victim of the state’s crackdown against
activists, which continues towards the end of the Duterte regime.”

“We call for the immediate release of Daisy Macapanpan, a victim of
warrantless arrest and unjust detention based on false charges, which
are seen as reprisals on her advocacy work for the environment and her
community,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

On June 11, 2022, Macapanpan, 69, was arrested in Pakil, Laguna by
combined elements of PNP Special Action Force, Quezon Provincial Police
Office, Laguna Provincial Police Office, Police Regional Mobile Force
Battalion 4A, Philippine Air Force and Philippine Army.

According to witness accounts, Macapanpan was dragged, handcuffed and
forced inside the police mobile in full view of residents in the town of
Pakil, Laguna. The police and military did not present any warrant to
Macapanpan during her arrest. It was only when she was at the Quezon
Provincial Police Office in Camp Gen. Nakar, Lucena City when she
learned that rebellion charges for an incident in Infanta, Quezon were
filed against her.

“This alias warrant on rebellion charges filed in 2008 against
Macapanpan was used against other activists in Southern Tagalog,” said
Palabay. The rebellion case, filed before the Regional Trial Court
Branch 65 in Infanta, Quezon was the same case levelled against peasant
organizer Dana Marcellana, daughter of peasant leader Orly Marcellana
and slain human rights worker Eden Marcellana, who was arrested last year.

“At this rate, this rebellion charge may be used repeatedly against
activists in Southern Tagalog as the government continues its harassment
against activists and government critics,” said Palabay.

As of this writing, Macapanpan remains detained at Camp General Nakar.
Macapanpan is a former professor, media practitioner and cultural
worker. In recent years, she has actively campaigned against the Kaliwa
Kanan Laiban Dam megadam project in Sierra Madre, which is said to
affect communities in Laguna, Quezon, and Rizal.

The elderly environmental advocate is also involved in the campaign
against the construction of the 1400MW Ahunan/Pakil Pumped Storage
Hydroelectric Power Plant on top of the mountain in Pakil, Laguna, which
is part of the watershed of the Sierra Madre mountain range.

“Following the mass arrests of farmers in Tarlac, and amid the
preparations for Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s inauguration including
restrictions on rallies and mass actions, we believe that this policy of
repression and terror will continue under the new government.
Nevertheless, we will continue to call and work for Macapanpan’s release
and that of all political prisoners who face trumped up charges and
other forms of attacks,” Palabay said. #

Cristina Palabay, Karapatan Secretary General, +639173162831
Karapatan Public Information Desk, +639189790580