Baguio councilors Monday decided to invite 44 of the 45 members of the Regional Law Enforcement Coordinating Council who signed two resolutions they deem infringe on human rights including the adoption of a tokhang operation against left leaning individuals, government workers and media.
This after more than two hours of deliberation with invited guests that include law practice luminaries, church leaders and media who condemn Resolutions 2 and 4, series of 2021 for violation of human rights and may lead to killing of left leaning personalities, media and other entities.
Resolution 2 will adopt a tokhang style operation wherein law enforcers will knock on doors of “known” left leaning individuals including government personnel, media and even church workers. This is “to persuade” them from supporting the communist movement, said PCol. Maly Cula, RLECC secretariat head and chief of the regional operations management division of the Police Regional Office – Cordillera who spoke via zoom in behalf of RLECC co-chair and PRO-Cor director PBGen. R’win Pagkalinawan.
Resolution 4, on the other hand, wants that left leaning groups that seek to stage protests to not just get the approval from local government unit executives but must also have the concurrence of the police or the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
The councilors opted to meet with all the signatories for them to know the reason for signing the resolutions and from there adopt a city council resolution that may seek for the withdrawal of the same.
Councilor Arthur Allad-iw, a former journalist and main proponent of the resolution to invite said personalities for Monday’s regular session, wanted the RLECC to recall the two resolutions which was backed by councilor Fred Bagbagen.
But their motions were prevailed upon by their colleagues, saying that it is more prudent for them to invite the RLECC members, all regional directors of government agencies. In said executive meeting, the city council members hope to know who the 300 “left leaning” personalities identified by the PRO – Cor and AFP are and what were the “parameters” used in determining that they are, which Cula admitted he has no knowledge of.
Progressives, media and church leaders on Monday stage a protest in front of the city hall before the start of the regular session seeking for the recall of the two RLECC resolutions.
Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club president Aldwin Quitasol called the resolution to adopt tokhang as a “nightmare to media and the press.”
He added: “The identification of media as one of the sectors to be included in the tokhang is a reprehensible assault on the nature of a free press.”
Last March 4, Quitasol was visited by Philippine Army and police officers to seek a commitment from Baguio media that it must exercise its discretion before writing on stories sent by leftists who seek to destabilize the government.
Earlier Monday, National Council of Churches in the Philippines General Secretary Bishop Reuel Norman Marigza filed a case RLECC – Cordillera for their tokhang resolution at the Hall of Justice.
Human rights lawyer Jose Molintas and Lauro Gacayan both condemned the resolution for violating the rights of those identified to be placed under tokhang by the RLECC resolution.
Commission on Human Rights for Cordillera director Rommel Daguimol said that Resolution 2, that employs tokhang style is against the position of the agency. He earlier retracted his signature.
In filing the resolution for the Monday dialogue, Allad-iw and colleagues Mylen Yaranon and Isabelo Cosalan, Jr. echoed the media’s position that “it contradicts the media’s role as the fourth pillar of democracy and advocates (and) believed it contravenes basic rights;…”
The three added that “as concerned with the rights and welfare of its constituents, to know the rationale of the above resolution and see their possible effects to the constitutionally guaranteed freedoms of expression and of association,…”