The Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF) calls for the immediate release of Kennedy Bangibang, an official of the CPDF and a consultant of the National Democratic Front (NDFP) on Cordillera and national minority affairs. Bangibang was illegally arrested while on board a bus at a PNP checkpoint in Bangao Proper, Buguias, Benguet along the Halsema Highway last February 23. A full-blooded Igorot and a member of the CPDF since the 1st quarter of 1987, Bangibang has fully grasped the deeply-rooted issues of the national minorities and is thus pivotal in the ongoing peace negotiations between the NDFP and the Government of the Philippines (GPH). His arrest and continued detention does not speak well of the so-called peace overtures of US-Aquino Regime now much heralded in the media.
Bangibang hails from a remote village in the Cordillera, started as a youth activist who was part of a group of Cordillera college students from Baguio that integrated with the peasant masses in early 1987, as part of the patriotic effort to expose and oppose the ringleaders of the renegade CPLA and its counter-revolutionary masquerades. From then on he became a full-time underground activist and revolutionary leader. The CPDF also condemns the Gestapo-like manner and illegal arrest of Kennedy Bangibang by elements of the RIU–14 of Philippine National Police–Intelligence Group under Police Senior Inspector Rommel Saguilot.
The culture of impunity ingrained in the PNP/AFP threw away the basic and proper requirements of making an arrest and proper conduct in police checkpoints. Police Senior Inspector Rommel Saguilot did not identify himself in the checkpoint, if ever he was present. Although most were in police uniforms, nameplates were missing. They handcuffed the suspect without first identifying their target and appraising the suspect of his constitutional rights. The 51-year old activist was handcuffed and dragged to a waiting jeep despite his protests and from the other passengers, and before being presented with a warrant.
The national minority concern is among the issues to be tackled in the next round of peace talks, now centered on the aspects of drafting a Comprehensive Agreement on Socio-Economic Reform (CASER). Because of the arrest of numerous NDF consultants and the apparent insincerity of the US-Aquino regime, the negotiations have been stalled since February 2012. The arrest comes a day after the Royal Norwegian Government’s Team of Facilitators’ visit to Malacanang wherein the Palace reiterated its pursuit of the peace negotiations. Bangibang’s arrest and continued incarceration is another monkey wrench thrown to derail the continuance of the stalled peace talks.
The PNP/AFP generals continue to be preoccupied with their monkey business of bounty-hunting. The pretentions of the US-Aquino regime to engage in peace talks is undermined by releasing P466.88 million of public funds for the capture of 235 revolutionary leaders. In reality, taking cue from the US Counter-Insurgency Guide of 2009, Oplan Bayanihan’s aim is to use the peace talks to force the revolutionary movement to surrender, a ploy that the NDFP continues to thwart.
March 13, 2013 Simon Naogsan (Ka Filiw) Spokesperson Cordillera People’s Democratic Front