Sanchez: ‘Terrorist’ label

WE WERE classmates in Spanish I-II during our freshmen years at the state university tackling basic Spanish conjugations. Yo soy, tú eres, él, ella, Ud. Es…

For some reason, I can still remember her name and face, and that of her then boyfriend. But just most students during our basic education years, she cannot remember my face and name.

Fast forward decades, I got to see her in international events. The last time was in Turin, Italy when she was a resource person in a symposium while I was a participant.

Who can forget Victoria (Vicky) Tauli-Corpuz? She became the first UN special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples and became famous worldwide.

A woman indigenous leader from the Kankanaey Igorot, Vicky is a social development consultant, indigenous activist, civic leader, human rights expert, public servant, and an advocate of women’s rights.

And now Malacañang labeled her as a terrorist member of a Maoist rebel group.

Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said it is an opportunity for the UN to take a look at their process of selecting rapporteurs.

“Perhaps the UN Rapporteur system should fine-tune its selection process to ensure that individuals identified with terrorist groups are not given any mandate by the UN Human Rights Council.”

Roque added, “The DOJ would not have filed the petition without evidence that she is a member of or somewhere affiliated with the CPP-NPA.”

Whoa, Harry Roque, my lodi (idol) on human rights defense several years back is now turning out to be an embarrassment as the presidential spokesperson. Big time.

Is Roque saying that Vicky is presumed guilty until innocent before a court? How far did he sink in his human rights credentials in his denial of due process? Has he forgotten that the Philippine State has already repealed the Republic 1700 (Anti-Subversion Law)?

Vicky was the former Chair of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues, an indigenous leader who helped draft and adopt of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in 2007.

According to her website, Vicky is the founder and executive director of Tebtebba Foundation ((Indigenous Peoples’ International Center for Policy Research and Education) who has collaborated with the Negros-based (Broad Initiatives for Negros Development (Bind).

She has managed various NGOs involved in social awareness raising, climate change, the advancement of indigenous peoples’ and women’s rights.

I shudder the implication of this hit list. Considering his stature, this administration has the gall to include her in a hitlist. Who else is subject to such a witch hunt?

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