“By implication, they are all being branded as ‘terrorists’ and to add my name and those of the NDFP peace negotiation panel and consultants, eight deceased individuals and at least 185 easily replaceable aliases exposes even more the list’s absurdity.” – Elisa Tita Lubi
MANILA – “We got news – a real one – for Mr. Duterte and his gang: We will not be cowed. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever.”
This is the statement of human rights defender Elisa Tita Lubi who is among the more than 600 individuals who are included in the Department of Justice’s list of alleged terrorists.
Lubi is a current member of the Karapatan National Executive Committee. She was also a former interim Regional Coordinator of the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD) and founding vice chairperson of Gabriela Women’s Party.
The proscription petition or petition seeking to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) was filed on Feb. 21 at a Regional Trial Court in Manila. Together with the petition is the list of names alleging them as leaders or members of the CPP-NPA.
Karapatan said the list also included those who are dead, missing and members of paramilitary units accused of killing Lumads in Mindanao.
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said 46 human rights defenders were included in the list. Among them are Victoria Tauli Corpuz who is the current United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, a former chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples and former secretary general of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA); Joan Carling who is a current member and co-convener of the Indigenous Peoples Major Group for the Sustainable Development Goals, former secretary general of the Asian Indigenous Peoples’ Pact (AIPP), and former member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and former Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo. Also included in the list are consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.
In a statement, Lubi described the list as “both egregious and ludicrous.”
“By implication, they are all being branded as ‘terrorists’ and to add my name and those of the NDFP peace negotiation panel and consultants, eight deceased individuals and at least 185 easily replaceable aliases exposes even more the list’s absurdity,” Lubi said in a statement.
Lubi also said that there is not even an “iota of any evidence” that she is indeed an “officer or member” of the CPP-NPA nor any any credible connection that would link her and any “terrorist” incidents metioned in the petition.
“I have not engaged, induced or tolerated any terrorist organization nor any terrorist act; things I could not do in good conscience nor extreme liberality, but could not say of those behind this modern-day witch hunt,” she said.
She added that the organization is in not even a terrorist group but a revolutionary force adhering to International Humanitarian Law (IHL) and the Comprehensivge Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL).
The CARHRIHL is the first agreement in the four substantive agenda in the peace talks, which was signed by the Government of the Republic of the Philippines and the NDFP in 1998.
‘Hard working, passionate’
Palabay said Lubi is not a terrorist as she has known her since 2003 while working together for Gabriela Women’s Party.
“Criminalizing her work is the crime of desperate, lunatic and macho-fascist regimes like Duterte’s,” Palabay said in a post in her social media account.
“She is one of the most hardworking activists I know; passionate on the issues and struggles of women, human and people’s rights,” she added.
Palabay described Lubi, whom they fondly call “Tita,” as one of the APWLD leading lights, “especially during the difficult and learning moments of the feminist platform.”
“She helped theorize and move into action key issues and campaigns of the network on Asia Pacific women’s struggle against globalisation, militarism and fundamentalism; on women’s participation in political processes; and APWLD’s role in building the capacity of women human rights defenders,” Palabay’s post read.
Lubi was also a former political detainee during the regime of the late Ferdinand Marcos Sr. She is a member of the National Board of the Samahan ng mga Ex-detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (Selda).
Lubi said was involved in development work after fighting martial law and the dictatorship.
Palabay said Lubi “has worked doggedly for the passage of the Human Rights Victims Indemnification Law and the process of the actual compensation for victims.”
“Tita is no terrorist. She is a brave and passionate human rights defender, as she has helped build Karapatan, Gabriela Women’s Party, Selda, APWLD and other people’s and women’s organizations to what these organizations have become now – organizations at the forefront of the struggle for human and people’s rights in the Philippines and in the Asia Pacific region,” said Palabay.