On January 30, 2023, a certain Jennifer Awingan was arrested by the Baguio City Police in Irisan, Baguio City for a rebellion case filed in Abra. Based on the report by police authorities, Awingan is a
member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and National Democratic Front (NDF). Apart from her, other members of CPP and the NDFin the Cordillera were also included in the warrant of arrest issued by a local court in Abra for said crime.

We can recall that one of their colleagues, Sarah Dekdeken, was convicted with cyber libel in December 2022 followed by another colleague, Frank Cimatu, who faced similar conviction also in December 2022. As expected, most of their colleagues protested and chanted their usual alibi and
allegation of the government filing trumped up cases against activists. They even launched campaign which they tagged as “Stand with Sarah Dekdeken.”

This same scenario was seen in Baguio City following the arrest of Awingan where they launched “Free Awingan” campaign; hence, we expect similar complaint of trumped up cases against activists. What do these cases tell us about people or groups that have constantly been attacking
the government with tirades on human rights abuses, political repression, oppression, antipeople
policies and so on? They have consistently denied being connected with the armed New People’s Army (NPA) with their claim that they are “activists and not terrorists”; hence, should not be charged with criminal cases.

These recent developments show that these people may not be seen holding arms but the court issuing a warrant for rebellion and conviction on cyber libel cases indicate how they are also liable
for serious violations of the laws that are tantamount to a grave sin towards the Filipino people. Their colleagues attempt to portray that these people are not guilty as if they are the victims here. But let the court decide, observe due process and deliver justice to their victims – the Cordillerans, the Filipinos, who have long been deceived by these people and their groups. Let justice prevail, and put an end to their hypocrisy and pretention.

Cristina Catbagan

Amianan Balita Ngayon