• Baguio City, Cordillera Administrative Region, Philippines

ALERT! ARMED policeman wearing civilian clothes harass CPA leaders inside Baguio Justice Hall

December 14, 2023

Right after the first hearing on the petition against the wrongful terrorist designation of four Cordillera Peoples Alliance leaders (Windel Bolinget, Sarah Abellon-Alikes, Jennifer Awingan and Stephen Tauli), a masked man wearing hooded jacket and civilian clothes was seen closely taking photos and videos of the four petitioners outside the courtroom. When confronted by the petitioners and their counsels, they saw that the man was armed and learned that he is Patrolman Maruel Baniwas Benito based from his police identification card. He was immediately grabbed and brought by uniformed policemen to the Baguio City Police Station.

CPA condemns this blatant act of harassment by the police and even inside the courthouse where firearms are prohibited. Threats to the lives of the four CPA leaders is not new but more so now that they were wrongly designated terrorists by the Anti-Terrorism Council.

Ironically, today’s hearing was specifically about the petitioners’ request for the court to issue an order for the petitioners’ temporary freedom from the implications of the terrorist designation while the case is on-going. The injunction was yet to be granted.