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Cordillera activists cry foul over terrorist tag

By JJ Landingin

BAGUIO CITY – Leaders and members of cause-oriented groups as well as human rights defenders in the Cordilleras are questioning the legal basis of the inclusion of their names in the more than 600 individuals declared as terrorist by the Department of Justice (DoJ).

They denounced the list in a press conference at Camp Peppot Ilagan in Burnham Park, Baguio City, deeming it a violation of their democratic and civil rights.

Lawyer Jose Mencio Molintas said being included in the list put them in a position of vulnerability especially now “when thousands of Filipinos fall victim to extra-judicial killings.”

Molintas questioned the credibility of the list as he also observed inconsistencies in the spelling of the names mentioned therein.

He asked, “How can they say that I am a terrorist if they do not even know how to write my name properly?”

Joanna Carino, who helped found the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), stressed, “I have been an activist for decades and I am proud of it because I never see it as an act of terrorism.”

Carino deemed the DoJ list a “clear” attack on democratic organizations and human rights defenders.

“Let us speak up to denounce this new scheme to silence the legitimate opposition,” she said.

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