Bandillo: On my inclusion in the DOJ list of terrorists


I condemn my inclusion in the so-called “terrorist” list submitted to the courts by the Department of Justice in a petition to have the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) declared as “terrorists”. I learned of my inclusion in the list as I grieve for the passing of my dear mother who has yet to be laid in her final resting place.

The DOJ list is brazenly preposterous and malicious. It includes names of peace panel members, 29 peace consultants, legal activists, human rights defenders, and political dissenters – all alleged CPP and NPA “officers and members” in a petition proscribing the two entities as terrorist organizations under Republic Act 9372 or the Human Security Act of 2007, otherwise known as the Anti-Terrorism Law.

This is not the first time that I have been maliciously charged of trumped-up cases. I had endured nearly five years of unjust imprisonment from 2008 to 2012 under the regimes of Macapagal-Arroyo and Benigno Aquino. When I was abducted by Armed Forces of the Philippines elements, I was heavily tortured. All cases were eventually dismissed after being acquitted of all the trumped-up charges brought to bear against me.

After imprisonment, I have since devoted myself to peace-building, defense of human rights, people empowerment, agrarian reform and rural development. Desirous to see the resolution of the armed conflict in the country, I have been actively engaged in peace talks as National Democratic Front of the Philippines Consultant for Political and Constitutional Reforms, one of the substantive agenda in its peace negotiations with the Government of the Republic of the Philippines (GRP).

I have participated in the 1st and 2nd formal rounds in Oslo, the 3rd formal round in Rome and the scuttled 5th round of talks in The Netherlands. I have attended, too, seminar workshops and lectures sponsored by the Royal Norwegian Government on conflict resolution and peace-building. I have traveled around the country and abroad to promote the GRP-NDFP peace process among Filipino compatriots, migrant workers, urban and rural communities, academe, socio-civic organizations and various churches, working hand-in-hand with GRP officials on many occasions. I ask, how can the Rodrigo Duterte regime accuse one who has worked ardently for just and lasting peace a terrorist?

I am a member of various human rights organizations and an officer of the Board of Trustees of Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detention at Aresto (SELDA) – Northern Luzon that works for recognition and reparation of Martial Law victims and advance the rights of political prisoners and detainees. I am also a member of the Executive Committee of the Makabayan Coalition, being one of its Vice-presidents.

In between peace talks, I am engaged in legitimate peoples struggles be it in courts, Congress, local governments, mass media or in advocacy institutions. I also write a column in a weekly regional newspaper. All of these are not terroristic activities.

I have never committed, supported nor will ever espouse, collude or induce terrorism. I have not been a party to any of the so-called terroristic incidents mentioned or alluded to in the exiguous petition for proscription.

The proscription list endangers my security including our respective families and organizations. It is a draconian measure meant to intimidate, harass, threaten and suppress activists, rights defenders and dissenters. This will further aggravate the curtailment and disregard for people’s rights and enhance all fascist policies peddled by the Duterte regime.

In sum, the proscription list is not only injurious it will effectively kill all earnest efforts to resume the peace process. Negotiated settlement and peaceful resolution of the roots of the armed conflict would now be very difficult or impossible.

Tyranny in whatever form must be resisted. The Duterte regime’s proscription petition and the DOJ’s preposterous listing must be vigorously frustrated. #


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