Re: Charges against Remigio Saladero Jr. – Follow Up Letter
To: H.E. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo
From: Constance Marlatt, LRWC Member
I am writing to follow up on a letters sent to you by Lawyers Rights Watch Canada (LRWC) on June 4th, 2009 and August 13, 2009 regarding LRWC’s concern with the murder charge being pursued against Remigio Saladero Jr, a lawyer in the Philippines, for the death of a para-military personnel in Rizal province on August 2, 2008. This charge was filed before the Provincial Prosecutor’s Office in Rizal province and a preliminary investigation is still ongoing.
We note with concern that not only have we not received any response to our letters, two additional charges (on an unrelated matter) have been brought against Mr Saladero for the murder of several police personnel and para-military personnel on the island of Mindoro on March 3, 2006. Charges had previously been brought against Mr Saladero in this matter, and then quashed on technical grounds on February 5, 2009. We understand that those charges have been re-laid and directly filed in the Regional Trial Court of Oriental Mindoro without undergoing the required preliminary investigation. We are concerned that these charges may be politically motivated, and are directed at Mr Saladero’s work as a lawyer.
We have yet to receive any response to our appeal to you that 1) Mr. Saladero is given the full protection of all international human rights standards relevant to the treatment of lawyers and people accused or charged with criminal offences; 2) the criminal proceedings against him are stayed unless and until there is a proper basis of verifiable evidence facts implicating him in criminal activity; and 3) Mr. Saladero is assigned effective protective measures adequate to ensure his professional and personal safety.
LRWC remains very concerned by the reported violations of Mr. Remigio Saladero Jr’s internationally protected rights. We remind you that the Philippines is a signatory to the Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CAHRIHL). The CAHRIHL was a landmark agreement binding your government to respect and enforce international human rights standards, which includes the protection of those representing clients pursuing investigations of or remedies for human rights violations. Mr. Saladero is an individual whom you have an absolute obligation to protect as a human rights defender.
LRWC calls on your office to act immediately to:
- ensure that Mr. Saladero is given the full protection of all international human rights standards relevant to the treatment of lawyers and people accused or charged with criminal offences;
- carefully examine the bona fides of the aforementioned prosecutions of Mr. Saldero and if evidence available to LRWC is confirmed to stay criminal proceedings unless and until there is a proper basis of verifiable evidence facts implicating him in criminal activity.
- assign to Mr. Saladero effective protective measures adequate to ensure his professional and personal safety.
It is critical that LRWC receive a response outlining the actions being taken by your government to remedy violations against Mr. Remigio Saladero Jr and to prevent any further violations.
LRWC will continue to monitor Mr. Saladero’s situation closely.