The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self-Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL) strongly condemns the brutal attack on Atty. Angelo Karlo T. Guillen, legal counsel of Tumandok 16, on the night of March 3 in Iloilo City, Philippines. Attorney Guillen was mercilessly stabbed with a screwdriver by masked attackers, stealing his bag and leaving him bleeding on the streets.
A member of the National Union of Peoples Lawyers (NUPL), a petitioner against the draconian Anti-Terror Act and also the one handling the case of murdered and jailed indigenous Tumandok, Atty. Guillen added to the victims of brazen attacks on activists and Indigenous Peoples human rights defenders (IPHRDs) in the Philippines. Many of these incidents have been strongly linked to state-sponsored repression and red-tagging of those speaking out in defense of Indigenous and human rights.
Atty. Guillen, now stable after receiving critical head injuries, represents the Indigenous Tumandok 16 arrested for trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives last December 30. This endless barbarity now added to the shameful record of the Philippine government in its bloody human rights record and incompetence to resolve more than 700 cases of extrajudicial killings and frustrated killings.
More condemnable is how the government under President Duterte supports murderous actions and policies, enabled by the military, police, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and its many agencies in shamefully justifying such brutalities with impunity. As such, NUPL, the murdered and arrested indigenous Tumandok, and all who express dissent have been continuously maligned by the government as enemies of the state and terrorists.
We call for an immediate independent investigation on the attempt on the life of Atty. Guillen. These bold, murderous acts favor only those desperate to silence people likeAtty. Guillen who are standing up for the voiceless and marginalized. We reiterate our call to free Tumandok 16 and uphold justice for the victims of the Tumandok massacre.
With the bloody and endless record of rights violations of the Duterte government, the appeal for accountability grows urgent to depose authoritarian powers that thrive in injustice.