Quezon rights defenders charged with terrorism financing


SANTA CRUZ, Laguna – Two human rights defenders in Quezon have been charged with violating Section 8 of The Terrorism Financing Prevention and Suppression Act of 2012.

The charges against Tanggol Quezon Spokesperson Paul Tagle and Kabataan Partylist Quezon Coordinator Fritz Labiano stemmed from an incident in July 2023, when the two visited political prisoners Rowena Dasig and Miguela Piniero. Tagle and Labiano handed grocery items for the two political prisoners, which the Philippine Army, in its complaint, claimed to constitute “financing terrorism.”

“This news comes as a shock, as both individuals were unaware that complaints had been filed against them until a preliminary investigation resolution was released on April 8, recommending criminal charges,” said Charm Maranan, Defend Southern Tagalog spokesperson, in a statement.

Tagle and Labiano have both been vocal about the human rights issues in Quezon.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has recommended filing criminal charges against them.

In a live broadcast in SMNI’s Laban Kasama ang Bayan last July 18, 2023, former Commanding Officer of the 85th Infantry Battalion Philippine Army (IBPA), Lt. Col. Joel R. Jonson  red-tagged Karapatan Southern Tagalog and threatened to file charges against its leaders and volunteers for providing assistance to Dasig and Piniero.

“These charges are desperate attempts by state forces, particularly the 85th IBPA, to silence human rights workers and impede their work in serving the oppressed and marginalized,” said Maranan, emphasizing that “providing services to political prisoners is not a terrorist act nor is it criminal.”

Defend Southern Tagalog called on all freedom-loving citizens to defend basic rights and freedoms, and to demand the dismissal of these trumped-up charges against human rights defenders.

Six other individuals, mostly activists, in Southern Tagalog have been charged with similar cases. (RVO) (https://www.bulatlat.org)

Share This Post