Philippines: community-based defender arrested on false charges, red-taggedEvent
- Initial Date
- Aug 24, 2023
- Event Description
community organizer and a jeepney driver were arrested and taken into custody last Aug. 24 in Buhay na Sapa, San Juan, Batangas province.
In a recent alert issued by Tanggol Batangan, a human rights group in Batangas, the detained individuals were identified as Ernesto Baez Jr., an engaged farmer advocate and organizer of Samahan ng Magbubukid sa Batangas (Sambat), jeepney driver Jose Escobio, and his friend Junald Jabonero.
Baez Jr. is the brother of Erlindo Baez, spokesperson of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan – Batangas, who is now detained due to trumped up cases.
Tanggol Batangan learned of the incident after Escobio’s family reported his disappearance.
In a statement released by Sambat, Baez Jr. said he hired Escobio to drive for him to San Juan, Batangas. The three, however, were intercepted and held at gunpoint at Buhay na Sapa village in San Juan.
They were then blindfolded and forced to return to their vehicles, which, according to Sambat, was filled with planted firearms and explosives.
“The PNP and AFP appear to be merely repeating their well-worn and evident modus operandi of arresting civilians and planting ‘evidence’ on them which clearly shows they are doing this to silence the people,” said Sambat.
All three are detained at Camp Miguel Malvar in Batangas City and have been charged with illegal possession of firearms and explosives.
This incident adds to a growing concern of alleged harassment cases by state forces in Batangas province.
Just this month, local organizers in the sugarcane and sugar industry have been targeted with repeated harassment, false accusations, and surveillance by the 59th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army.
“It is crucial to act and mobilize further, intensifying the call to respect the human rights of Batangueños. The abduction of the San Juan 3 only implies the state’s desperation to suppress the rights of the people,” Hailey Pecayo, spokesperson of Tanggol Batangan, said.
- Impact of Event
- Gender of HRD
- (Arbitrary) Arrest and Detention
- Judicial Harassment
- Rights Concerned
- Right to liberty and security
- Right to protect reputation
- Community-based HRD
- Armed forces/ Military
- Monitoring Status
- Event Location
- Event Location
- Summary for Publications
On 24 August 2023, community-based defender Ernesto Baez Jr., was arrested by the police and military on trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives in further attempt to silence and red-tag HRDs in Batangas, the Philippines.