The Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) and the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance (CHRA) are enraged over the maligning and insinuation that CPA is behind the abduction of its very own pioneer, James Balao. In three media reports written by Tetch Torres-Tupas of the Philippine Daily Inquirer (PDI) dated June 22, 2016; Ina Reformina of ABS CBN News on June 22, 2016 and Tarra Quismundo of PDI on June 23, 2016, they cited a Supreme Court (SC) decision ordering the Philippine National Police to investigate CPA as an angle of the abduction of Balao.
The CPA, CHRA, our legal counsel and the family have yet to receive the SC decision.
The angle by which these articles were written is malicious and outrageous. This is being played up by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to intensify the political vilification and persecution against the CPA and more so, to wash their hands off their accountability on James’ enforced disappearance. This is another effort to distract us from searching for James and searching for justice.
There was no effort to reach out to the CPA, the CHRA and the family before the article was released.
For the record, the investigations conducted by the PNP and AFP have been found to be inefficient and superficial. It was through the effort of the Cordillera Peoples Alliance and the Cordillera Human Rights Alliance that we found out after two weeks where he was abducted including the description of who abducted him. We went from camp to camp, station to station that we can reach in our efforts to find him making sure no stone is left unturned. We attended court hearings, supported witnesses to testify in court and investigations.
We are the victims here and the blame should not be placed on us.
We urge the media to be more objective in the reporting of human rights cases. The side of truth is always the side of justice.
Windel Bolinget Imelda Tabiando
Chairperson Secretary General
Cordillera Peoples Alliance Cordillera Human Rights Alliance
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