Karapatan decries trumped up charges, shoot-to-kill order vs IP leader Windel Bolinget

Human rights group Karapatan today deplored the blatant attacks and violation of rights of indigenous people’s leader Windel Bolinget, chairperson of the Cordillera People’s Alliance, based on reports of a warrant of arrest against him and other activists and recently the statement of Police Regional Office Cordillera Director R’win Pagkalinawan issuing a shoot-to-kill order against Bolinget if he supposedly fights back.

“What is appalling in this case of Windel Bolinget are the brazen violations on his right to life, to due process, and to presumption of innocence. Bolinget has stated that he was denied of his right to know that there was a complaint against him as he did not receive any notice from any prosecutor. He was denied of his right to participate in the preliminary investigation and offer evidence disputing his involvement in the crime being falsely attributed to him,” Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay said.

“The bounty placed on his head as well as the police’s shoot-to-kill order are in direct violation of his right to life, liberty and security,” Palabay further stated, adding that the “nanlaban” narrative peddled by the police regarding individuals killed in the drug war and counterinsurgency operations have been well-exposed as false and dangerous. 

She asserted that, assuming that there is indeed a warrant of arrest against Bolinget, he has the right to avail of remedies and question the basis of this warrant: “Palibhasa itong mga pulis at sundalo, laging shortcut ang ginagawa. Walang matinong imbestigasyon at walang matinong ebidensya pero pinapalusot na may regularity ang mga ginagawang krimen.”

The Karapatan official averred that trumped-up charges against activist leaders and members such as in the case of Bolinget, the indigenous communities of the Tumandok in Capiz, Iloilo and the seven human rights defenders arrested last International Human Rights Day are based on perjured testimonies of alleged witnesses and informants and planted evidence. 

“Our justice system is being used and abused by people in authority who trifle with people’s lives and liberties in exchange for bounties and to stifle political dissent. This administration does not only coddle these crooked people in government - it encourages, incites and orders them to continue committing human rights violations as its main policy and blueprint of governance,” Palabay continued. 

“The Philippine National Police should stop its harassment and threats against Bolinget. We support the call of Bolinget, his family and colleagues to drop the trumped up charges against him, as well as those against all activists and political dissenters,” she concluded.