Cordillera People’s Alliance and Bolinget’s family fear for his safety, noting that he can be subjected to a “tokhang-style execution” if he gets arrested and transported to Davao Del Norte for his case.
BAGUIO CITY—After being red-tagged by state security forces, Igorot leader Windel Bolinget is now facing murder charges in Tagum City, Davao Del Norte, a place where he has never set foot on, according to his colleagues.
The Philippine National Police Police Regional Office 11 filed the complaint against Bolinget, chairperson of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA), before the Regional Trial Court Branch 30 in Tagum City, Davao del Norte. A certain Ranel Timbog Vender, in an affidavit, named Bolinget as among those who killed Garito Tiklonay Malibato on March 21, 2018.
Earlier news reports on Malibato’s killing quoted indigenous peoples’ organizations in Mindanao like Karadyawan and PASAKA identifying the paramilitary Alamara as perpetrators. Malibato and his organization Karadyawan were victims of military’s red-tagging.
CPA Secretary General Sarah Dekdeken said the case is the latest attempt of the government to silence and discredit their organization.
“Bolinget did not commit any murder or physical harm against any individual,” CPA said in its urgent appeal January 11, as they call for the dropping of the fabricated case against their leader.
Bolinget never went to Davao del Norte nor visited any part of Mindanao in 2018, Dekdeken added.
Judge Sharon Rose Saracin issued a warrant of arrest for the accused on September 25, 2020. CPA believes that the “heightened surveillance,” which Bolinget’s relatives in Baguio City and Mountain Province observed since December is connected with the case.
CPA and Bolinget’s family fear for his safety, noting that he can be subjected to a “tokhang-style execution” if he gets arrested and transported to Davao Del Norte for his case.
“This has been the track record of the PNP [Philippine National Police] and AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines], the latest of which was the extrajudicial killings of nine indigenous leaders and arrest if 16 others in a synchronized operation last December 30 in Capiz and Iloilo provinces,” CPA said.
Bolinget, who belongs to the Kankanaey and Bontok indigenous peoples groups in Mountain Province, has been under attack on social media since April. Troll accounts and Facebook pages believed to be run by state security forces accused him of having ties and recruiting for the New People’s Army.
Last December 10, flyers accusing Bolinget and other individuals of “immoral acts” and recruiting for the NPA were scattered along the road some 80 meters away from his home. The same materials were also posted in various areas in Baguio City.
In 2006, Bolinget was also included in a military’s hit list along with other CPA members and leaders.
The Department of Justice also included him in the proscription case seeking to declare the Communist Party of the Philippine and NPA as terrorist organizations in February 2018. His name was subsequently dropped from the list, following condemnation from various groups. (Nordis.net/ Reposted by