‘How quickly the dominoes fall,’ terror charges vs. ST youth activists dismissed

Human rights alliance, Defend Southern Tagalog continues to echo the call for justice and the protection of activists against terror charges after court junked cases against human rights defender Ken Rementilla and Jasmin Rubia.


SANTA CRUZ, Laguna — The Office of the City Prosecutor in Antipolo City, Rizal dismissed the complaints filed by Sgt. Jean Claude Bajaro, under the command of Lt. Col. Ernesto Teneza Jr. of the 59th Infantry Battalion (IB), against youth rights activists Kenneth Rementilla and Jasmin Rubia in a resolution released Nov. 23.

Rubia and Rementilla were charged with violating Section 12 of the Anti Terror Act of 2020.

The accusations against Rementilla and Rubia were intertwined with the tragic death of nine-year-old Kyllene Casao, which has been attributed to the 59th IB by human rights groups.

The activists were accused of giving material support to the New People’s Army for attending Casao’s wake and engaging in humanitarian missions.

Read: Soldiers blocking rights groups’ access to father of minor slain in ‘fake encounter’
Read: 2 rights defenders ask prosecutor to dismiss trumped-up anti-terror law charge

The resolution pointed out that attending a wake in itself is not terrorism.

In a statement, Defend ST Spokesperson Charm Maranan expressed relief at the dismissal, highlighting the state forces’ attempts to use lawfare tactics against activists. “The 59th IB, led by Lt. Col. Ernesto Teneza Jr., had pursued court hearings as a form of psychological warfare, attempting to silence the voices advocating for human rights,” she said.

“The dominoes are falling one by one. After Hailey Pecayo’s case was dismissed, we received news that Ken and Jasmin’s case was dismissed too,” said Maranan, adding that “the dismissal of charges against Rementilla and Rubia signifies progress, but the fight for human rights and advocacy work is far from over.”

Read: Court junks terror charges vs. Batangas rights defender for lack of evidence

While celebrating this victory, Maranan urged caution, emphasizing that 17 other Anti-Terror Law cases still await resolution.

“As the light of truth shines fully, the time of reckoning for those who abuse power begins,” said Maranan. (RTS, RVO) (https://www.bulatlat.org)

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