Stand with Human Rights Defenders! Defend the Defenders!

The Center for Women’s Resources stands in solidarity with human rights defenders from Gabriela, Karapatan, and Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), and reverberates the call to drop trumped-up charges of perjury filed by former National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. against them.

In 2019, human rights advocates from Gabriela, Karapatan, and RMP filed petitions for the writ of amparo and habeas data with the Supreme Court to seek protection against state-sponsored harassment and threats. Esperon, one of the respondents in the petition, countersued with perjury charges.

Today, the Quezon City Metropolitan Trial Court Branch 139 will issue its judgment on the perjury case filed against the rights defenders. Among the accused are longtime women’s rights activists Gert Libang and Joms Salvador from Gabriela. The perjury charge is part of the systemic attacks against women human rights defenders who are steadfast in fighting for women’s and people’s rights.

Alarmingly, this judicial harassment aimed at silencing critics and rights defenders comes at a time when a strong voice is needed to demand state accountability amid intensifying economic woes and social crises. We see very clearly where this government’s priorities lie when instead of addressing high prices, transportation crisis, and lack of decent employment, among many more crises, they are sowing terror and violence against the people they vowed to serve.

As we await today’s verdict, we call on everyone to support the fight to uphold democracy and defend human rights.

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