For human rights workers, these trying times are being challenged by the Duterte-Marcos-Arroyo alliance. An alliance that is sickening to the bones and being hated and repudiated by the people.

Natural Science would state that a combination of strong elements produce a weak reaction. The same thing with Chemistry – combining a very strong acid with a very strong base produces a very weak reaction. This is a law of nature. And the Duterte-Marcos-Arroyo alliance is doomed to fail because it is weak even with its so-called foreign backing.

I am now incarcerated at Butuan City Jail. Rita Espinoza and I are facing fake charges in Bayugan City, Agusan del Sur, even if I haven’t been there. I am also charged with trumped-charges in Negros Occidental.

These machinations by the current administration is part of the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA) which is in line with the legal offensive of Oplan Kalayaan, reminiscent of the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) of Oplan Bantay Laya during the reign of terror of the Arroyo administration. All this is part of the US counter-insurgency campaign in its shift of focus to the Asia-Pacific region.

In the city jail, you can witness the human rights violations to all inmates, not only for political prisoners but also for those involved in drug cases. The slow pace of justice in the Philippines is indeed one for the books. Imagine we have a case here wherein the inmate has been in jail for 8 years and still no hearing whatsoever!

Karapatan has been in the forefront of promoting, fighting and defending for human rights in the country. It has defied all odds in this journey towards attainment of human rights including illegal arrest and arbitrary detention and even death to its own human rights workers. It has courageously continued in its path of freedom even when many others have been reduced to silence and apathy.

I therefore congratulate Karapatan on the holding of its 5th National Congress. May you continue with your noble task for human rights. Mabuhay ang Karapatan! Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipinong lumalaban para sa karapatang pantao!

Benito Concio Quilloy
Butuan City Jail
Agusan del Norte

August 20, 1018

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AscentPH is a national alliance of development organizations determinedly working for the empowerment of the people through poverty alleviation and promoting and defending the right to development and other fundamental human rights and freedoms.

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