By KIMBERLIE NGABIT-QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — Over 500 church people, teachers, indigenous people and students trooped to picket the Supreme Court summer courthouse anew on April 24, and call for the junking of the quo warranto petition against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno.
The group was blocked by some 40 police officers from marching towards the gates of the courthouse. This was the fourth rally staged at the SC Baguio compound since the High Court held this year’s summer sessions here.
Cordillera elders performed a prayer ritual in front of the police barricade where they offered a chicken.
Windel Bolinget, chair of the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), said the elders prayed for a successful protest and the junking of the quo warranto plea and cursed all the forces obstructing justice.
Bolinget reiterated that the attacks against CJ Sereno is part of the Duterte administration’s plot to control the judiciary. “The attacks against the judiciary is tyranny and we must unite and resist,” Bolinget said.
Bolinget said that the people’s court is higher than the SC. He urged the SC justices to heed the people’s demands.
The indigenous people (IP) came from various provinces of the Cordillera, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Southern Luzon and Mindanao to participate in the Cordillera Day program.
Cordillera Day is an annual celebration of the legacy of Cordillera martyrs and heroes who offered their lives to defend their homeland from destructive and oppressive projects. It started with the commemoration of the day when Macliing Dulag was murdered. He was the Kalinga village leader who led the opposition against a hydroelectric dam project for Chico River during Martial Law. Dulag was killed by government soldiers on April 24, 1980.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate, former Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino and Gabriela Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas participated in the rally.
The picket ended at around past 12:00 noon when the protesters returned to the Pacday Quinio Elementary School to continue with the Cordillera Day activities.
In her message that was read at the Cordillera Day venue, CJ Sereno paid homage to the courage and bravery of the Igorots and their long history of struggle for the respect of their rights as a people and for defending freedom and democracy. She recognized their victories through their collective action and aspirations toward building a peaceful and just society.
CJ Sereno, however, pointed out that the fight is not over yet as the attacks against people’s freedoms and rights continue. She said that today, under the threats of an authoritarian and fascist rule, the people must take courage to defend the victories of the martyrs and heroes and ensure that their sacrifices will not go to waste.
“Sa araw ng inyong pagbubunyi ng inyong kultura, nawa’y paigtingin niyo pa ang mga napagtagumpayan at ipagpatuloy ang pakikipaglaban para sa ganap na demokrasya,” CJ Sereno said. #nordis.net