“The scriptwriters of these lists could care less about whether these persons are already dead or reported missing, so long as they can cover a wide range of activists and rights defenders to implicate.”
By RONALYN V. OLEA
MANILA – Eight individuals who have long been dead and two activists who have been missing for years have been included in Duterte’s terror list.
In a petition recently filed in a Manila court, the Department of Justice seeks to proscribe the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist organizations and listed 600 individuals, including scores of John and Jane Does.
Human rights alliance Karapatan noted that among the list were six alleged NPA guerrillas who had been killed in separate incidents; one victim of extrajudicial killing; and, a former political prisoner who died in 2015.
The following were killed by government troops and declared as NPA fighters:
– Camille Manangan and Carl Labajata were killed in Batangas on Nov. 28, 2017.
– Andres Hubilla was killed in Sorsogon on July 28, 2017
– Francisco Vilan was killed in Zamboanga del Norte on July 12, 2017
– Alexander Doongan killed in Bukidnon on Dec. 6, 2014
– Arnel Estiller was killed in Sorsogon on July 4, 2013
Danilo Badayos, meanwhile, was a peace consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP). He was detained during the administration of Benigno Aquino III and was eventually freed after charges against him were dismissed. He died in 2015.
On the other hand, Arturo Colao was a peasant leader who was slain by motorcycle-riding men in Balingasag, Misamis Oriental on Jan. 25, 2018.
Two victims of enforced disappearances have also been named in the DOJ petition.
Luisa Posa-Dominado, spokeswoman of Selda, an organization of political prisoners, was abducted on April 12, 2007 in Cabanbanan village, Oton, Iloilo.
Posa-Dominado became an activist at the age of 16 and fought the Marcos dictatorship. She was detained fives times. She escaped prison three times.
Like today’s political prisoners, Posa-Dominado had been charged with criminal offenses such as murder, double murder and illegal possession of firearms, but all were dismissed for lack of evidence.
READ: Aparición | Luisa Posa-Dominado and Leonilo Arado
Another desaparecido on the terror list is farmer Michael Celeste who has been missing for nearly seven years.
Celeste was abducted on July 19, 2011 inside his house Canlusong village, Enrique B. Magalona municipality, Negros Occidental by armed men wearing bonnets. Celeste was an active member of Negros-based National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW).
Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay said that “this is indicative of how ludicrous and dubious Duterte’s fake terror list is. “The level of callousness from the Duterte regime is unprecedented!” she said.
Karapatan called for the immediate junking “of this baseless, malicious and arbitrary petition.”
Human rights defenders, indigenous people’s advocates, peasant leaders, NDFP consultants are among those in the terror list.
Karapatan also condemned the DOJ and the Duterte regime for “such attempts to threaten, harass, and bully rights defenders into submission.” “This all falls into Duterte’s grand design to persecute opposition and cripple dissent and protest – a devious scheme that should be exposed as empty and malicious, and ultimately overturned,” Palabay said.
Not the first
Karapatan noted that the practice of lumping together names of activists is a long-standing maneuver of the police and military.
Palabay cited the complaints filed by the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) against leaders and members of people’s organizations on May 12, 2015 following the evacuation of some 800 Ata Manobo residents from Talaingod and Kapalong, Davao del Norte and San Fernando, Bukidnon. Cases of kidnapping and serious illegal detention, and anti-trafficking charges were lodged against leaders who assisted the evacuation of said residents to the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP)-Haran in Davao City in January 2015. The list, containing at least 70 names, included the late labor leader Crispin Beltran and environmentalist Francis Morales who were already dead at the time of the filing of charges.
“The scriptwriters of these lists could care less about whether these persons are already dead or reported missing, so long as they can cover a wide range of activists and rights defenders to implicate. From the very start, these lists have no integrity,” Palabay said.