Four Cordillera activists question legality of ‘terrorist’ tag in court

Four Cordillera activists question legality of ‘terrorist’ tag in court

/ 12:34 PM November 23, 2023


Four Cordillera activists question legality of ‘terrorist’ tag in court

Members of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) pose with lawyers in front of Bulwagan ng Katarungan in Baguio city on November 23, 2023 after filing a petition challenging their alleged designations as “terrorists” by Anti-Terrorism Council. (Photo from CPA)

MANILA, Philippines – Four Cordillera activists on Thursday filed a petition at Baguio Regional Trial Court, challenging their labels as “terrorists” allegedly by the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC).

The activists — Windel Bolinget, Sarah Abellon-Alike, Jennifer Awingan-Taggaoa, and Stephen Tauliwere — were designated as “terrorist individuals” under the ATC Resolution 41 signed in June 2023.


They are Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) officers, a “non-stock, non-profit corporation registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission,” their petition reads.


The four asked the court to overturn their alleged designations as terrorists because they believed these tags were “arbitrary and unconstitutional.”

READ: Baguio activists sue government anti terror body

“Respondent ATC committed grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or in excess of jurisdiction when it designated the Petitioners as terrorist individuals, and subsequently denying their request for delisting, there being no appeal or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law,” the petition reads.

It also stated the “political persecution” against the group resulted in its members being subjected to various forms of harassment, intimidation, and threats.

The petition comes following the alleged rejection by ATC of the activists’ requests in July 2023 to be removed from the council’s “terrorists” list, the petitioners said.

READ: Continued use of anti-terror law vs activists worries rights group

In a press release, CPA called the petition a “landmark” case since this is the “first legal action filed in court that seeks to overturn a terrorist designation.”

Bolinget, the CPA Chairman, described their alleged labels as “an assault to basic rights.”


He said the tags “deprived them of fully practicing their work and advocacy and ultimately subjected them to further harassment, humiliation, and threats,” he said in a press release.

Bolinget belongs to the Kankanaey and Bontok Indigenous Peoples in Mountain Province.

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TAGS: Activist, ATC, court, CPA, Terrorism

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