Activists from Ilocos and Cordillera among individuals cleared
BAGUIO CITY – The Department of Justice has trimmed down to eight individuals the alleged officers of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) it wants declared as terrorists in a revised petition submitted before the Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) on Jan. 3, this year.
With DOJ’s submission of the amended petition, the Manila RTC resolved that motions submitted by Joanna Cariño, Joan Carling, Jeannette Ribaya-Cawiding, Beverly Longid, Windel Bolinget, Sr., Elisa Tita Lubi, Rey Casambre, Sherwin De Vera, and Randall Echanis to remove them from the DOJ petition were declared as “moot and academic.”
Carling was UN’s Champion of the Earth in 2018. Cariño, Longid and Bolinget are Cordillera People’s Alliance leaders. Cawiding was affiliated with Tongtongan ti Umili, a Baguio multi-sectoral group and is now the third nominee of the Alliance of Concerned Teachers partylist. De Vera is an environmentalist and journalist from Ilocos. Casambre and Echanis are NDFP peace consultants.
The DOJ’s original petition contained more than 600 individuals that included human rights defenders, environmental activists, Catholic priests and lawmakers. It was strongly denounced by many local and international organizations, including the United Nations.
The petition suffered a setback when the court cleared four of the names from the original list including Satur Ocampo, Rafael Baylosis, UN special rapporteur for indigenous peoples concerns Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and Baguio City human rights lawyer Jose Molintas.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra also admitted that the original terror list was not properly vetted during a budget hearing at the House of Representatives.
Karapatan and other progressive organizations equated the DOJ list to a “tokhang list” endangering the lives of those in the list when the petition was made public last year.
Randy Malayao, the NDFP peace consultant shot dead on Jan. 30, this year while sleeping in a bus in Aritao, Nueva Vizcaya was among the more than 600 individuals that the DOJ originally listed. ●