SC urged to probe ‘factory of search warrants’ used in Calabarzon ops vs. activists

ACT Teachers Party-list Representative France Castro urged the Supreme Court to investigate the “factory of search warrants” that was used during simultaneous operations on Sunday that lead to arrests and killings of activists in Calabarzon.

Castro denounced the “Tokhang-style” operations, claiming that the Duterte administration has been using search warrants to set-up and plant firearms against progressive groups’ leaders and members.

“We urge the Supreme Court to review its rule allowing executive judges of and Manila to issue search warrants valid nationwide and the seeming complicity of several judges with by their issuance of search warrants in violation of the Rules of Court,” Castro said.

“The tagging of human rights defenders and progressives as ‘members of the NPA and terrorists’ has been the line of the government to discredit, terrorize and demonize their legitimate calls for genuine change, which often lead to more human rights violations,” she added.

Castro also accused the Duterte administration of targeting peace advocates, members of the minority, farmers, lawyers, environmentalists, and workers who are “helpless” against the government forces.

“A President that is allergic to criticism and dissent silences those who voice out their opposition while he continues to exploit the vulnerable and the weak even amid the health and economic crisis the country is facing,” Castro said.

SC urged to probe ‘factory of search warrants’ used in Calabarzon ops vs. activists

“We demand an end to the killings of peace advocates, human rights defenders, environmentalists, activists, farmers, and workers,” she said.

Various Rights groups and activists condemned the killing of at least nine activists and the arrest of six others in police operations in Calabarzon on Sunday, March 7.

Progressive groups claimed that the deadly crackdowns came after President Rodrigo Duterte announced during the joint meeting of the National Task Force – Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict in Northern (NTF-RTF-ELCAC X) in Cagayan de Oro City to kill suspected rebels.

“We hold President Duterte and General [NTF-ELCAC spokesperson General Antonio] Parlade directly accountable for the killing and illegal arrest of these unarmed activists, as well as the brazen weaponization of search warrants and planting of evidence that were done to justify such actions. This adds to the long long list of atrocities committed by Duterte and his tyrannical, fascist regime,” said Bagong Alyansang Makaban (Bayan).