SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
The human rights group Karapatan has condemned the targeting, red-baiting, and arrests of two union organizers, Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano, who organize for the rights and welfare of government employees:
Karapatan deplores the Aquino government’s continuing attacks against human rights defenders through the recent arrests and filing of trumped-up charges against union organizers and community leaders, days before the commemoration of the International Human Rights Day on December 10.
Randy Vegas and Raul Camposano, both long-time union organizers and staff of the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE), were arrested last December 3 for fabricated charges of murder, theft, and frustrated murder filed at the Regional Trial Court Branch 64 in Labo, Camarines Norte. Vegas and Camposano were implicated in the said cases because of their alleged participation in an ambush of members of the Armed Forces of the Philippines by the New People’s Army in Camarines Norte in April 29, 2012. Courage, including both organizers, supported the latest protest action of employees of the Metro Manila Development Authority for the release of their work benefits.
“Aquino’s institution of ‘judicial reforms’ for the ‘respect for human rights’ means the renewal of its efforts to churn out fabricated charges against activists, members of progressive organizations and unions, peace consultants and leaders of the revolutionary movement, and ordinary citizens. Such dirty ploy is reminiscent of former Pres. Arroyo’s tactics to silence the opposition during her rule. These are underhanded, malicious and desperate tactics that are direct attacks against the organizers and leaders and against the people’s right to organize,” said Cristina Palabay, Karapatan secretary general.
Karapatan said the trumped-up charges against Vegas, Camposano, Velez and Gamara are the latest among the series of cases filed against rights defenders, peace consultants and ordinary individuals.
“This is Aquino’s de facto revitalization of Arroyo’s Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG), which was recommended for abolition by UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston due to its role in the arrests and filing of fabricated charges against activists and leaders of the revolutionary movement. It is but a copycat of Arroyo’s terror campaign against the people, through Aquino’s Oplan Bayanihan which clearly targets all those perceived by the government as its enemies,” Palabay said.
Karapatan called on Aquino to withdraw all trumped-up charges against activists, peace consultants, leaders of the revolutionary movement, and ordinary individuals and release all political prisoners. The rights group has documented 467 victims of illegal arrests under the Aquino administration, with 127 political prisoners arrested and detained in the said period.