By KIMBERLIE QUITASOL
BAGUIO CITY — The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) assailed the shoot to kill order issued against their chairperson Windel Bolinget, who is facing a “fabricated murder charge,” saying the directive shows the police’s intent to kill him.
“Police Regional Office-Cordillera (PROCOR) Director R’win Pagkalinawan’s shoot to kill against Windel Bolinget if he resists arrest only shows their clear intent to kill and silence Windel Bolinget, knowing that the fabricated murder charge won’t hold merit in a court of law,” CPA stated.
Cordillera’s top cop’s instruction came after the Kalinga police announced a P100,000 bounty for any information that would lead to Bolinget’s arrest. Pagkalinawan clarified that the order stands only if the CPA leader fights back. He said they would exhaust all means to make him peacefully surrender.
Pagkalinawan said the warrant of arrest issued against Bolinget “is a legitimate order of the court and any law enforcement agency that includes the police is mandated to implement it.” He stressed that the rule of law must be followed and urged Bolinget to surrender and face the charges as he promised.
“The truth will set him free if so, says the judicial system that everyone follows and should follow,” he said.
Tagum City Branch 30 Regional Trial Court Judge Sharon Rose Saracin ordered the arrest of Bolinget and 10 others on September 25, 2020.
The police implicated Bolinget, a known human rights defender and vocal critic of the Duterte administration, in killing Garito Tiklonay Malibato on March 21, 2018.
Malibato was a Lumad who defended his ancestral home against large-scale plantations. He and his organization Karadyawan has been red-tagged by the military. Malibato’s kin and Karadyawan believe that Alamara, a paramilitary group linked to the military, is responsible for his death.
Nanlaban, a cover-up
Bolinget’s family and colleagues earlier raised the alarm over his safety after the Kalinga police announced a P100,000 bounty for any information that would lead to his arrest. They expressed fear that he would be executed in a “tokhang-like” manner.
CPA pointed out that law enforcers have overused the nanlaban (resisting arrest) narrative to cover-up their excesses in their Tokhang (war on drugs) operations. The campaign against illegal drugs has resulted in the killing of thousands of suspected drug users and pushers and prompted an International Criminal Court investigation.
Human rights advocates have also criticized the administration’s crackdown against activists. Activists groups said the police and military had extended the nanlaban story against individuals perceived by the government as members of the revolutionary movement.
The most recent case where the police used the line to justify the killing of red-tagged activists was the Synchronized Enhanced Management of Police Operation (SEMPO) in Panay Island. Nine Tumandok activists active in opposing destructive projects in their ancestral lands died in the incident.
“Pagkalinawan’s statement is a pretext for the speedy extra-judicial killing of Bolinget before law and evidences will prove that this is a false charge,” the CPA further stated
The group believes the PNP has no plan of allowing their leader to undergo trial from the beginning.
“Instead, they have been orchestrating this frame-up to execute a prominent leader of a peoples’ organization, the Cordillera Peoples Alliance, and a vocal critic of the tyrannical Duterte regime,” CPA added.
The IP alliance underscored that the order encourages “violence and terrorism” among police officers. “His brand of law enforcement is to ignore all ethics and standard of law enforcement, turning the men in uniform into executioners,” the CPA added.
CPA urged the public to stand for what is right and speak up against abuses and injustice, as they reiterate that any harm against Bolinget is the police’s accountability and the Duterte administration. # nordis.net/with reports from Ace Alegre