Tanggol Quezon claims that Genelyn Dichoso’s ‘surrender’ is being used to red-tag their organization.
The long history of threats and harassment against progressives from Quezon continues as human rights group Tanggol Quezon also falls victim to the military’s red-tagging scheme.
After the accusation of being involved with Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), Tanggol Quezon wrote in a Facebook post that they were threatened and harassed by the 201st Brigade, led by General Norwyn Tolentino.
Tolentino is said to be a close comrade of General Antonio Parlade, former spokesperson of National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC). This task force is notorious for red-tagging various individuals and progressive groups.
Meanwhile, Antonio and Marilyn Pajalla, active leaders and members of the Anakpawis Partylist and human rights group Karapatan, were also recently asked to “clear their names”, after they were “forced to surrender” by the 201st Brigade resulting from an involvement with the CPP-NPA.
“Ang panggigigil ni Tolentino sa mga progresibo na linisin ang pangalan ng mga kasapi nito ay malinaw na paghahabol niya sa mas malalaking gantimpala ng NTF-ELCAC,” Tanggol Quezon claimed.
Tanggol Quezon reaffirmed that all progressive groups affiliated with their organization are legitimate and lawfully-registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and are recognized by various government authorities in the Philippines.
“Nag-[o-operate] ang mga samahan sa pagsusulong at pagtatanggol ng demokratikong interes at karapatang pantao sa lalawigan ayon sa ipinapahintulot ng Konstitusyon ng bansa,” Tanggol Quezon wrote.
The organization also said that the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) IV-A should use its teeth to combat harassment against the Pajalla couple and other progressives who fall victim to malicious threats and attacks by the military.
A long history of harassment
It can be remembered that Genelyn Carabot Dichoso, former Secretary General of Karapatan Quezon, was also imprisoned on trumped-up accusations of attempted homicide after being red-tagged even before President Rodrigo Duterte assumed his presidency (READ: HR group call to drop Karapatan Quezon sec-gen’s trumped-up homicide case).
Last April, the military claimed that Dichoso “surrendered because of numerous reasons” – a case that, according to Tanggol Quezon, is still being used against their organization.
“Naniniwala ang aming samahan na pinipilit at patuloy na ginagamit ng 201st Brigade at buong NTF-ELCAC si Dichoso bilang numero unong pambala laban sa mga kasapi ng Tanggol Quezon,” they claimed.
However, the organization cleared that as a progressive organization, it is stated in their policy that they do not recruit civilians into joining armed conflict.
“Ang pagsasangkot ni Gng. Dichoso sa kaniyang sarili ay hindi nangangahulugan na ang buong kasapian namin ay kabilang din sa mga inaako niyang pananagutan,” Tanggol Quezon added.
The cases of Tanggol Quezon and Dichoso are but mere parts of numerous other harassments in the province. It can also be recalled that earlier this year, more than 26,000 individuals in Southern Quezon were brought into danger due to the continuous aerial bombing of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) (READ: Higit 26,000 na indibidwal sa Timog Quezon, nailalagay sa alanganin dahil sa patuloy na aerial bombing).
Earlier this year, two Quezon farmers that were accused as leaders of the CPP-NPA were arrested and thereafter prohibited from even seeing their own families (READ: 2 magsasaka sa Quezon, pinagbawal ng militar makipagkita sa pamilya).
“Noon pa man, walang batayan ang pasistang rehimen ni Duterte na pigilan at busalan ang mamamayan. Lagi’t-laging uusbong sa gitna ng mga pakikibaka ang mga tunay na human rights defender na hindi na-surrender,” Tanggol Quezon said. [P]