CPP: Dismissal of trumped-up charges, an indictment vs AFP/PNP
The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) today said the dismissal and quashing of three separate cases against national minorities is an indictment of the dirty tactics applied by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) against civilians, especially against minority peoples, in the conduct of the regime’s counterinsurgency operations.
CPP Chief Information Officer Marco L. Valbuena said the dismissal of these cases show “that the charges against innocent civilians which led to their killings, arrests and persecution are baseless and cannot stand even before the reactionary courts.”
“This shows how dissenters and people opposed to the regime’s anti-people programs are falsely accused of being members of the New People’s Army (NPA) and subjected to killings and arrests in the regime’s desperate war to silence the people,” said Valbuena.
A Capiz court resolution dated June 15 made public last July 13, voided seven search warrants issued by Manila RTC Branch 4 Judge Jose Lorenzo dela Rosa, which were used by the military and police in conducting the simultaneous raids in Calinog and Capiz provinces last December 30, 2020 which resulted in the killing of 9 and arrest of 16 Tumandok leaders and activists opposed to the Jalaur Dam project.
Lawyer Angelo Karlo “AK” Guillen, who represented the Tumandoks, confirmed that four of those arrested, Eleuteria Caro, Marevic Aguirre, Ferdinand Capillo, and Rollen Catamin were freed on July 8. While the two others were earlier released on bail.
A week later, a court in Tagum City, Davao del Norte cleared and dismissed the murder charges against known Igorot leader Windel Bolinget, and five others. They were baselessly accused of involvement in a supposed ambush operation of the New People’s Army in Kapalong, Davao del Norte last March 2018.
Bolinget is the chairperson of the Cordillera People’s Alliance and was threatened with a shoot-to-kill order if he resisted arrest. He was also included by Department of Justice (DOJ) among the 656 people that the Duterte government had wanted to declare as terrorists through a proscription case filed in February 2018.
Meanwhile, the two Aetas from Zambales charged with violation of the Anti-Terorrism Law were freed after the cases were dismissed for lack of evidence.
Valbuena congratulated the lawyers of the victims for successfully defending their clients before the courts. He pointed out, however, that “all the military and police personnel and their superior officers behind the killings, unjust arrest and torture of innocent civilians must be held accountable for their crimes and wrongdoing.”
Valbuena said the NPA will continue to do everything to exact justice for the victims by identifying and meting out just punishment against the perpetrators of the killings of innocent civilians.
“These court victories are important and must be celebrated,” Valbuena pointed out. “However, these comprise a very small part of the Duterte regime’s overall campaign of suppression and dirty counterinsurgency war.”
“Under the direction of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), the AFP and PNP relentlessly red-tag, harass and force civilians to submit themselves to the military and police,” he added.
Valbuena also called for the immediate release of 713 political prisoners, 487 of whom were arrested over the past five years under the Duterte regime.