By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Indigenous people’s groups and human rights group condemned the tagging of more than 600 people in a proscription petition of the Department of Justice (DOJ) filed by senior state prosecutor Peter Ong at the Manila regional trial court on February 21.
The DOJ petition not only seeks to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as terrorist organizations but also named individuals as their supposed leaders or members, including those who are dead, missing and members of paramilitary units accused of killing Lumads in Mindanao.
The Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA) said the tagging of its past and present leaders as terrorists in the DOJ petition is an effort of the Duterte administration to silence dissenters.
Sarah Dekdeken, CPA secretary, general said the DOJ list is reminiscent of the violent days under the Arroyo and Aquino administrations where indigenous activists and human rights defenders were systematically tagged as terrorists under Order of Battle (OB) lists and neutralized through extra-judicial killings and enforced disappearances.
Dekdeken further said that last week Ricardo Mayumi, an activist of Ifugao province was shot dead in his house. She added that the present administration is also responsible for thousands of extrajudicial killings, indiscriminate bombings and the wholesale of the country’s patrimony.
“Majority of the people on the list are women indigenous activists who fought and endured the fascist regimes from Marcos to Aquino,” Dekdeken said.
Among the listed respondents were Victoria Tauli Corpuz, United Nations Special Raporteur on Indigenous Peoples; Joan Carling, coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group under the UN Sustainable Development Goals; Atty. Jose Molintas, a human rights lawyer and former member of the UN Expert Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; Beverly Longid, global coordinator for the International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation; Joanna Carino, member of the CPA Advisory Council and SANDUGO co-chairperson. Corpuz, Carling, Molintas and Longid were former chairpersons of the CPA. Carino is a founding member of the CPA and presently with its advisory council.
Jeanette Ribaya Cawiding, coordinator of the Confederation for Unity Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage), is also included in the list. She was the former chairperson of Tongtongan ti Umili (TTU), the CPA Baguio chapter.
Windel Bolinget, the present chairperson of the CPA, is also tagged in the DOJ’s list.
Sherwin de Vera, an environmental advocate and journalist who was recently released on bail after being unlawfully arrested, was included in the DOJ’s list.
Corpuz in a separate statement said the DOJ petition was baseless and malicious. “I will address this baseless, malicious and irresponsible inclusion of my name even as I am consulting my lawyers on what legal courses of action to take to clear my name and even make accountable those who put my life and security at risk,” the UN special rapporteur for IP said.
It can be recalled that Corpuz and other UN officials were at odds with President Rodrigo Duterte on human rights and indigenous people’s rights issues before the DOJ petition became public.
“There is no doubt that the filing of the petition is an effort to sow fear and panic among Duterte’s detractors, subjectively prepare the public for more intense political repression, and be the front act of a crackdown against the dictator wannabe’s critics. The list of leaders and members is a take-off from the Order of Battle (OB) lists of the Gloria Arroyo and Noynoy Aquino regimes,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina E. Palabay.
She recalled that persons listed in the OB often ended up arrested based on false charges, incarcerated and even tortured, missing or killed. “Not only do such lists incite human rights violations, they also legitimize and make “normal” to the public the government’s abuse of power in suppressing dissent and decimating the supposed “enemies of the state,” she stated.
While National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) as an organization was omitted in the proscription, those involved in the peace talks between the GRP and NDFP were listed like Peace Panel members Coni Ledesma, Juliet de Lima and Benito Tiamzon; Chief Political Consultant Jose Maria Sison; Senior Adviser Luis Jalandoni; Wilma Austria-Tiamzon and at least 20 other peace consultants; and former Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, independent cooperator.
The Karapatan leader also said that the list is “severely defective as it contains scores of aliases (aka), John and Jane Does so any person can be added later.”
Palabay said that seven names of paramilitary group members including four from the New Indigenous Peoples’ Army (NIPAR), led by Alde “Butchoy” Salusad, who have standing warrants for the killing of Lumad leader Datu Jimmy Liguyon were included in the DOJ list. “They also have been presented and paid as surrenderees, consistent to their being all-purpose pawns in the military’s repressive schemes,” she said. # nordis.net