On 05 February 2020, Jennefer Aguhob was arrested in Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental by virtue of a warrant based on obviously contrived testimonies and manufactured evidence for murder.

This dawn, Karapatan Eastern Visayas coordinator Alexander Philip Abinguna, together with Eastern Vista correspondent Frenchiemae Cumpio, Bayan staff Mira Legion, and Marissa Cabaljao of People Surge Network (and her one year old baby), were arrested in Tacloban, Leyte in a gestapo-like raid of their offices based on a warrant that suited a premeditated planting of firearms and explosives.

All of the arrested are open, legal and peaceful yet militant human rights workers.

Aguhob, an engineer by profession and a law graduate planning to take the bar, was a tireless and dedicated paralegal who regularly attends court hearings of political prisoners as part of her work. She was an official delegate of the Union of Peoples’ Lawyers in Mindanao (UPLM) to the 5th NUPL National Congress in Manila last October 2019 where Supreme Court Associate Justice Marvic Leonen was the keynote speaker. She was also present during the 7th Biennial Assembly of the UPLM in General Santos City last December 2019 where retired SC Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio was the guest speaker. NUPL President Edre U. Olalia also addressed the assembly. 

Abinguna and Legion were themselves among the host organizers in the relaunching of the NUPL Tacloban Chapter in Leyte. The event was graced by Atty. Olalia and NUPL Chair Atty. Neri Colmenares. 

In all these events, several lawyers and paralegals were present. These were even covered by media. Quite interestingly, posters red-tagging Olalia, Colmenares, NUPL Adviser Rep. Karlos Isagani Zarate as well as the NUPL itself and their clients Karapatan, Bayan, Bayan Muna and other progressive groups were brazenly plastered at some of the venues. 

The question is simple and straightforward, if not rhetorical: How can high profile and visible people working in open legal organizations doing perfectly legal and constitutionally-protected advocacy commit or be committing patently criminal acts and yet not be in hiding?

This is illegalizing otherwise legal acts, behavior, and individuals. 

No, this is legalizing illegal acts against those who still choose to be legal, despite and inspite of this whole of nation attack going berserk and bonkers.#

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers was founded September 15, 2007 as a nationwide association of human rights lawyers as well as law students, paralegals and legal workers in the Philippines united by a commitment to the defense, protection, and promotion of human rights especially of the poor and the oppressed. nupl2007@gmail.com | 02 9206660