Tell it to SunStar: Free the peace activists

Pilgrims for Peace

ALMOST a year ago, in the wee hours of Dec. 7, 2018, Rey and Cora Casambre were arrested by operatives of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) from the National Capital Region (NCR) along Molino Boulevard, Barangay Niyog 3, Cavite. To justify the manner and style of their arrest, the arresting team planted firearms and explosives on the vehicle Rey was driving and filed illegal possession charges against him at the RTC in Bacoor.

This case is fabricated. Even during the inquest proceedings, the fiscal called it preposterous that Rey and Cora Casambre had a whole list of firearms and explosives in their small vehicle. Rey is a known peace advocate who had been working openly and diligently as a speaker at peace forums and in other peace-building tasks. On that night, he and his wife were simply returning home from a wake in Manila. Preposterous is the right word for the charges at the RTC Bacoor.

Also levied against Rey was a warrant for charges of murder and attempted murder filed against him in Lupon, Davao Oriental, Mindanao.

These charges are unimaginable and absurd. These are simply part of the widespread attacks on activism and public dissent. Rey had never been to Lupon. He and several other persons’ names were handwritten into the case information. One of his co-accused has been dropped from the case, because he wasn’t even in the country on the day of the alleged incident.

The human rights situation in the country since President Rodrigo Duterte took office is dismal. Human rights violations are rampant nationwide; Duterte and his cohorts who are behind these violations arrogantly defend their actions to the core. Since he took office, more than 27,000 mostly poor Filipinos have been killed in the name of his war on drugs and implementation of the regime’s E0 70 Whole-Of-Nation Approach.