Junk the trumped-up charge against Windel Bolinget! Drop the bounty and 'shoot to kill' order!
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LETTER OF CONCERN

[Addressed to the national and regional officers of the Department of Justice, Commission on Human Rights, and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples of the Philippines]

We are deeply concerned about a trumped-up case of murder which was filed against Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) Chairperson, Mr. Windel Bolinget, by a police officer in a court in Tagum City, Davao Del Norte, Philippines in 2020. Bolinget and ten other individuals are accused of killing Garito Tiklonay Malibato on March 21, 2018 in Barangay Gupitan, Kapalong, Davao del Norte. On January 20, 2021, Cordillera Police Director Brig. Gen. R'win Pagkalinawan issued a 'shoot to kill' order, if he resists arrest, against Bolinget.

Bolinget is not a murderer. He did not kill Malibato. As mentioned in his statement dated January 4, 2021, he has never been to Davao del Norte and has also never set foot on any place in Mindanao in 2018. A news report dated March 23, 2018 stated that Malibato’s kin and village mates pointed to the paramilitary group ALAMARA as the perpetrator of Malibato’s killing.

Since before Christmas 2020, Bolinget’s residence and home towns have been put under visible surveillance, with members and assets of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) swarming around in search for him and showing Bolinget’s relatives an e-copy of a warrant of arrest for Bolinget. The manhunt for Bolinget further intensified as a PNP Facebook page circulated on January 14, 2021 a Wanted poster of Bolinget and endorsing a reward of Php 100,000 for any information that could lead to his arrest. This bounty only encourages vigilantes and more violence, which further puts in danger the life of Bolinget. It also denies due process to the falsely accused Bolinget.

We fear for Bolinget’s life and safety, especially from extrajudicial killing under the pretext of resisting arrest or fighting back against arresting officers as this has been occurring in the country over the past few years.

Bolinget has been an environment activist and human rights defender most of his life. We believe the trumped-up case against him is meant to silence him and the CPA from asserting indigenous peoples’ rights, human rights, people’s welfare, and genuine peace and justice. This trumped-up murder case is the latest of a series of attacks against Bolinget. The attached Urgent Appeal (https://cpaphils.org/urgent-alert-drop-the-trumped-up-case-against-cpa-chairperson-windel.html) issued by the CPA narrates the history of attacks against Bolinget, especially under the Duterte regime.

We urge the Philippine Department of Justice (DOJ), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), and National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) to:

1. Take actions to immediately drop the trumped-up murder case against Windel Bolinget.

2. Conduct an urgent, thorough and independent investigation on the attacks against Windel
Bolinget and the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and hold accountable those responsible for the
attacks.

3. Provide protection and ensure the security of Windel Bolinget and his family, and leaders and members of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance who are currently subjected to intensified attacks by the military and police through red-tagging, political vilification, threats, harassment, intimidation, and extrajudicial killings.

4. Ensure access to justice for Windel Bolinget.

5. Stop the attacks against indigenous activists and human rights defenders, and uphold human rights and international humanitarian law.

See Urgent Appeal here: https://cpaphils.org/urgent-alert-drop-the-trumped-up-case-against-cpa-chairperson-windel.html
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