Uniformed policemen took a member of the Baguio City Intelligence Unit of to their station after he was reportedly caught taking photographs of activists attending a court hearing on Thursday morning. The police intelligence officer was identified based on his ID card as Patrolman Maruel Baniwas Benito. He was frisked by fellow policemen after he was confronted by the petitioners
and their counsels.

The petitioners together with their counsels are attending the first hearing at the Baguio Justice Hall on their petition against the AntiTerrorism Council’s (ATC) terrorist designation. The activists are four Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) leaders— Windel Bolinget, Sarah Abellon-Alikes, Jennifer Awingan and Stephen Tauli. The masked intelligence agent wearing hooded jacket and civilian clothes was noticed taking photos and videos of the four petitioners outside the courtroom.

Baniwas was reportedly armed with a pistol tucked in his waist. CPA in a statement condemned what it called, “a blarant act of harassment by the police and even inside the courthouse where firearms are prohibited. “Threats to the lives of the four CPA leaders is not new but more so now that they were wrongly designated terrorists by the Anti-Terrorism Council,” the statement issued after the incident read.

“Ironically, today’s hearing was specifically about the petitioners’ request for the court to issue an order for the petitioners’ temporary freedom from the implications of the terrorist designation while the case is on-going.” The injunction is yet to be granted. The Baguio City police has yet to issue its comment on the issue and it was not available yet if the intelligence agent will be facing any formal charges.

Artemio A. Dumlao/ABN

Foto courtesy of Cordillera Peoples Alliance, Public Information Commission

Amianan Balita Ngayon