Cebu court junks terrorism financing charges against deceased activists

John Sitchon

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Cebu court junks terrorism financing charges against deceased activists

RESISTANCE. Members of BAYAN Central Visayas and other sectoral groups protest the attacks against development workers, in Barangay Guadalupe, Cebu City on September 28, 2023.

Jacqueline Hernandez/Rappler

'If a person is already deceased or dead, it is useless to try the case,' says retired judge Meinrado Paredes

CEBU, Philippines – A Cebu City court has dismissed the terrorism financing charges against two deceased activists, retired judge Meinrado Paredes, the legal counsel of Cebu-based human rights activists, told Rappler on Wednesday, June 26.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) had filed complaints against 27 individuals associated with the Community Empowerment and Resource Network (CERNET) on May 10. The Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 74 in Cebu City then issued arrest warrants on May 14 against the accused. 

At least 23 out of the 27 accused were able to post bail. Lawyer Mel Ebo, another legal counsel of the CERNET members, earlier told Rappler that three of the 27 respondents were already dead even prior to the filing of the complaints.

“Without ascertaining the existence of the [activists], the military went and filed the complaint,” Paredes said, describing the filing of the charges as “reckless.”

In an order penned by Judge Marlon Moneva of the RTC Branch 74 in Cebu City on June 24, the cases against deceased respondents Geraldine Labradores and Merlin Logronio were dismissed.

Paredes shared that lawyers and friends of the third deceased respondent were unable to secure a death certificate as they could not find living relatives who can prove that the accused was dead.

“If a person is already deceased or dead, it is useless to try the case,” Paredes added.


In a statement on social media, the Alliance for the Advancement of Peoples’ Rights (KARAPATAN) in Central Visayas hailed the dismissal as a ”triumph of truth.”

“We welcome the court order because, in effect, it underscores the lack of investigation by the Department of Justice when it took the cudgel for the [army] in harassing them with manufactured and malicious tales of wrongdoing,” KARAPATAN Central Visayas said.

It also pointed out that Labradores and Logronio had already died long before the case was filed against them in May.

“Karapatan Central Visayas calls on the DOJ and AFP not to wait for the people’s verdict but to abandon their addiction to attacking humanitarian organizations and human rights advocates. We also demand that they compensate their victims of red-tagging and attacks before this is imposed on them through court processes here and abroad,” the group said. –

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