Political vilification against CPA by Retired Major Gen. Peale Jon L. Bondoc during an NSTP Peace and Security Mass Lecture
November 7, 2022
Today, in a National Service Training Program (NSTP) Peace and Security Mass Lecture hosted by the University of the Philippines Baguio, Retired Major Gen. Peale Jon L. Bondoc presented a slide labelling several progressive organizations including the Cordillera Peoples Alliance as fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and New Peoples Army (NPA). This will be the latest case of political vilification (redtagging) against the CPA.
On August 5, 2022, 23 petitioners from the CPA filed a petition for a Writ of Amparo in hopes of acquiring court protection from the series of harassment, vilification, coercion to surrender as rebels, and trumped-up charges instigitated by state security forces.
On August 20, 2022, CPA Regional Council Member Steve Tauli was mauled and abducted by suspected elements of the state who proceeded to lecture him about the counter-insurgency programs of the government, particularly NTF-ELCAC, and pressured him to sign a sworn statement admitting his supposed leadership position in the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New Peoples Army. His captors released him the following day. Steve then petitioned for a Writ of Amparo, making him the 24th petitioner from CPA.
On August 29-30, 2022, a redtagging forum by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) was conducted at Teacher’s Camp, Baguio City. CPA was again named as a communist-terrorist front organization. The same activity was held in Ifugao on August 22-23, and if NCIP implements the same program and presentations, it is highly possible that the redtagging of CPA and the other organizations had been conducted in many of their forums held elsewhere.
On October 25, 2022, Lorraine Badoy-Partosa recited the names of the CPA petitioners for a Writ of Amparo in her news show Laban Kasama ang Bayan which regularly airs at the SMNI network. She claimed that these were names of CPP-NPA members. Following this incident, we received the official dismissal of our petition for a Writ of Amparo.
Meanwhile, redtagging on social media continues unrelentlessly, with CPA Chairperson Windel Bolinget as one of the primary subjects of ridicule, harassment, and vilification. In these redtagging posts, there is no longer a distinction between armed combatants and civilians. Those who merely dissent in exercise of their democratic rights are directly labelled as members of an armed rebel group.
These instances are just a few of the reasons why we persist in availing human rights mechanisms despite its sorry state in the Philippines. The dangers are not ending; the attacks are organized and systematic. While we are disappointed by our Amparo petition’s dissmissal despite the instensifying human rights violations (HRVs), it will not be the end of our efforts. This November, CPA will be participating in the 4th cycle of the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR). We will be presenting our situation and recommendations in the side-events leading to the November 14 convention of the UN Human Rights Council.
We appeal to the general public to help us drumbeat the human rights situation in the Cordillera and combat the widespread disinformation on social media. Redtagging forums and posts should immediately be condemned and reported, along with other HRVs committed by the state. In the end, our calls for justice and accountability should persist over the rampant culture of impunity.