Philippines: Human rights group’s lawyer receives death threat
September 20, 2011, 6:56 pm

Human rights watchdog Katungod-Sinirangan Bisayas lambasts suspected military agents who sent a death threat letter to Katungod-SB’s former Secretary-General and its current Legal Officer, Atty. Kathrina Castillo. The letter was received by her mother last Friday, April 16, 2010 at their ancestral house in Catbalogan, Samar which was sent via snail mail.
“There is no one except the military who has the motive to send a death threat to Atty. Castillo since she is known to be an active human rights defender and a critic of human rights violations perpetrated by state agents especially the military,” said Flor Chantal Eco, Katungod-SB’s Secretary-General.

The letter, which was signed by a certain Ricardo I. Picardal from Tarangan, Samar, said that they “found out that you [Atty. Castillo] continue your alliance with the enemies of democray, progress and peace-the CPP-NPA-NDF and its Partylists.” A black ribbon is stapled to the letter “that will remind you [Atty. Castillo] that your life, as well as your family, is only a privilege.” The letter ended with the threat: “if death becomes you, you may rest in peace.”

“Atty. Castillo’s personality has always been attacked in confirmed military sponsored radio programs “Dalan han Kamatuoran, Dalan han Kauswagan” in DYMS Catbalogan, and “Bantay Ka” in DYDW Tacloban, both anchored by Col. Armand Rico hiding as “Kuya Aaron”. The military has consistently linked her to the CPP-NPA-NDF. Her name has been mentioned in almost every episode of their programs,” furthered Eco.

According to Katungod-SB, this is a systematic red-baiting by the military to justify the harassment, abduction and killings of personalities and members of progressive groups and partylists.

“At first the military consistently attack Atty. Castillo’s personality in their radio programs, then a death threat arrives, now they accuse that the death threat is a result of NPA’s purging, what’s next? Shoot her? This pattern has been evident in many victims of extrajudicial killings nationwide,” added Eco.

Despite the death threat, the military has failed to scare off Atty. Castillo; instead, the threat roused rage from her family, members and supporters of Kabataan Partylist where she is the 3rd Nominee and fellow human rights defenders.

“Death threats will not stop us from exposing the truth and defending the people’s rights,” Eco concluded.