Legal Offensive vs. Activists, Disturbing – CHR Chair

In a dialogue with the Free Atty. Saladero et. al. Coalition, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Chairperson Leila de Lima yesterday was quoted as saying that, after intense local and international pressure caused a slight drop in the number of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances, state authorities apparently have been employing a ‘new strategy’ against political activists, the filing of charges.

De Lima found this ‘new strategy’ of legal offensives against activists a “disturbing pattern.”

The coalition sought a dialogue with de Lima yesterday to urge the CHR to conduct an investigation into the arrest and detention of labor lawyer Remigio Saladero Jr. and the filing of ‘trumped-up charges’ against 72 activists in Southern Tagalog.

Saladero and five others are detained at the provincial jail in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro while facing multiple murder and multiple frustrated murder charges for allegedly participating in a New People’s Army (NPA) ambush in March 2006.

“Those who are charged fit perfectly the profile of the usual victims of extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances,” de Lima told members of the coalition.

De Lima said the CHR would release a report on the case of Atty. Saladero next week. She also said that the case has attracted the attention and concern of many groups and individuals here and abroad.

Roger Soluta, head of the coalition’s secretariat, welcomed the CHR’s probe. He said he hopes the report would contribute to pressures to immediately release Atty. Saladero and the five other political prisoners.

Soluta said the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) must be held accountable for political persecution and should be abolished. (

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