CPA’s statement on the draft resolution from the RLECC

In a draft resolution from the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Committee of the Cordillera, PBGen. R’win Pagkalinawan is being authorized to file charges against an officer of the Cordillera Peoples’ Alliance (CPA).

Quoting RLECC Resolution No. 6 s. 2021, “we, RLECC members, do hereby resolve to authorize PBGen. R’win Pagkalinawan, RLECC chairman to file appropriate case/s against Ms. Aisah Mariano. Mariano is the current Deputy Secretary General of CPA. The reason behind, as stated in the resolution, was our statement released on March 8, 2021.

Previously, CPA Secretary General Sarah Dekdeken was charged by Pagkalinawan with cyberlibel for presenting information in an online press conference. Several media personnel have also been charged with the same case by the same complainant.

While there is a clamor to decriminalize libel, we see a trend in how authorities are brandishing this to stifle dissent and gag people from presenting vital information.

The regional executives being asked to sign said resolution should reject it. We should learn from the public outcry against the problematic ‘Tokhang’ resolution, from the same body, about how the police and military are abusing their authority at the expense of civil liberties. Playing into the whims of the state armed forces will further erode democracy and ultimately cause violation of peoples’ rights by those who are supposedly mandated to uphold these.

This is genuinely alarming in the context of rising violence against activists and civil society actors. Judicial harassment is fast becoming a trend as more innocent people, mostly human rights defenders, are being jailed for fabricated charges by state agents.

The ‘Tokhang’ resolution was from the premise for the rampant redtagging of activists, holding the same potent danger to peoples’ lives and liberties.

CPA Chairperson Windel Bolinget is one amongst the many victims of human rights violation by state armed forces. After being charged for a murder he did not commit, a ‘shoot-to-kill’ order was issued for him which the draft RLECC reso is trying to deny.

Wherein, in several articles, Pagkalinawan has been quoted saying that the order was only meant as a last option. Particularly, an article from dated March 10,2021 quoted him saying that a ‘shoot-to-kill’ order is standard police procedure which the national police headquarters in Manila denied.

Wouldn’t Pagkalinawan’s comments regarding the shoot to kill order against Bolinget establish that there was such an order, after all.

We must not allow this wanton and blatant trampling of peoples’ basic rights. We enjoin the public to express outrage for these attempts to twist narratives by taking advantage of the authority resting on state mechanisms. Public Information Commission – CPA