JUST IN | Rebellion charges vs. Northern Luzon 7 quashed by court
The rebellion charges against Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) Chairperson Windel Bolinget, CPA Research Commission staff Jennifer Awingan, CPA Regional affiliate member Steve Tauli, Martial Law activist Lulu Gimenez, peace advocate Sarah Abellon-Alikes, Northern Dispatch correspondent Niño Oconer, and former Kabataan Party-list nominee Renz Kang, also known as the Northern Luzon 7, has been quashed by a court in Abra, Philippines.
“The additional seven personalities namely: Jennifer Awingan, Sarah Abellon-Alikes, Stephen Tauli, Windel Bolinget, Lucia Lourdes Gimenes, Nino Joseph Oconer, and Florence Kang were NEVER identified…. (and) hereby EXCLUDED from the information for lack of probable cause. Consequently, ALL warrants of arrest issued against them in connection with the case are ordered quashed," the decision stated.
Meanwhile, Bolinget reiterated trumped-up cases are not matters "we can just brush off when dropped/junked." He said justice and accountability should still prevail.
"We will continue to call for justice and accountability, especially at this time of continuing attacks. Judicial harassment, red-tagging and terrorist-tagging, and all forms of human rights violations must be stopped immediately," Bolinget added.
We welcome the May 11 decision of Judge Corpuz Alzate of the Bangued Regional Trial Court Branch 2. Still, our fight continues.
All trumped-up charges on human rights defenders, like those filed against the Northern Luzon 7, must be dropped immediately. Activists, development workers, advocates, and Indigenous Peoples (IP) human rights defenders are not criminals. They fight for IPs' rights for ancestral lands, self-determination, and life, amid continuing, criminalization, harassment, and human rights violations.