Karapatan condemns kidnapping, serious illegal detention charges vs NUPL lawyer

Karapatan strongly condemns the kidnapping and serious illegal detention charges reportedly filed by Vic Pedaso, the biological father of “Lester”, a 14-year old witness-survivor of the Sagay massacre, against Atty. Katherine Panguban, National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL) Women and Children's Committee Head.

These charges, which we can only presume to have been wildly concocted by the Negros police and other forces who want to divert the accountability of paramilitary forces and private armies of landlords, have no legal and factual basis, and are ill-intentioned and manufactured. It is lamentable that they have been using Mr. Pedaso to peddle and insist on lies regarding the roles of Atty. Panguban, NUPL and Karapatan in the case. 

For the record, NUPL and Karapatan, in the course of our fact-finding mission and support for the victims and their relatives in Sagay, assisted Lester’s mother in obtaining custody of her child from the Sagay City Social Welfare and Development Office on October 25, 2018. The turn-over of custody was duly documented and Pedaso was present in the said turn-over. Atty. Panguban properly represented Lester’s mother. There is absolutely no truth to allegations of Pedaso and the police that mother and son are being held against their will by Atty. Panguban, NUPL and Karapatan. 

The charges against Atty. Panguban are among the forms of intimidation by state forces against people’s lawyers. This incident once again exposes the vile intent of the police to go to great lengths to exploit relatives of victims and survivors and to use them for their slanted narratives. The charges against Atty. Panguban should be immediately withdrawn or dropped, unless the Sagay police and their cohorts want to fall flat on their faces with the tall tales that they have been weaving.

Reference:

Roneo “Jigs” Clamor, Deputy Secretary General, Karapatan, 09997721233 

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580