The Cordillera Regional Director of the Philippine National Police, Brig. Gen. Rwin Pagkalinawan on 20 January issued a ‘shoot-to-kill’ order against Cordillera indigenous leader Windel Bolinget, should he ‘resist arrest’. Mr. Bolinget, Chairperson of the Cordillera People’s Alliance, representing the indigenous peoples of northern Philippines, is facing charges of murder in Davao del Norte, in the southern island of Mindanao.
Sarah Dekdeken, Secretary General of the CPA, decried the arrest and shoot-to-kill orders as the attempt of the Duterte government to silence Bolinget and the CPA from asserting indigenous peoples’ and the Filipino peoples’ rights against development aggression. “Bolinget did not commit any murder or physical harm against any individual. He never went to Davao del Norte nor visited any part of Mindanao in 2018,” she said.
The CPA called for the dropping of the fabricated case against their leader.
“Gen. Pagkalinawan’s order is a pretext for the extra-judicial killing of Bolinget… It is clear that from the beginning, they didn’t have any plan to let Bolinget undergo trial for what he is being accused of and give him a chance to defend himself in a court of law,” the CPA said.
PNP personnel have been known to kill unarmed suspects ‘resisting arrest’. The UNHRC had reported that Duterte’s police forces reuse confiscated firearms as ‘evidence’ that those they killed resisted arrest.
Mr. Bolinget, a member of the Kankana-ey and Bontok indigenous groups in Mountain Province, has been accused by Duterte’s security officials of recruiting for the New People’s Army. He has been included in a military hit list, along with other CPA leaders. ‘Wanted’ posters with his picture have been distributed in various places in Mountain Province.
A court in Tagum City, Davao del Norte, recently issued an arrest warrant for Bolinget and several others allegedly for the murder of Garito Tiklonay Malibato on 21 March 2018 in Tagum. Following the arrest warrant, the PNP in Kalinga province in northern Philippines announced on 15 January a PhP100,000 (US$2,000) bounty for any information on Bolinget’s whereabouts. Gen. Pagkalinawan then issued his shoot-to-kill order on 20 January.
On 21 January, Bolinget voluntarily submitted himself to the National Bureau of Investigation for custody and protection, so that he could challenge the allegations against him in a competent court.