January 7, 2012
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The Cordillera People’s Democratic Front (CPDF) expressed its deepest condolences to the family, friends, colleagues and kakailians (townmates) of Atty. William “Billy” Claver who passed away last December 15.
CPDF spokesperson Simon “Ka Filiw” Naogsan hailed Claver as an activist defender of national minorities, a progressive legislator and a lawyer worthy of emulation.
Claver was a founding member of, and chaired, the Cordillera People’s Alliance (CPA), a federation of Cordilleran indigenous peoples formed in 1984. He advocated the right to self-determination and the defense of the lives, ancestral lands and natural resources of national minorities in the Cordillera.
During martial law, he served as lawyer for many people persecuted by the Marcos dictatorship. In the 1980s, he became known for his resistance to the Chico River Dam project and for handling the cases of Ama Macliing Dulag who was murdered by the military and Pedro Dungoc who escaped an attempt on his life by the AFP. He was also active in defending victims of illegal arrest and detention under the Marcos dictatorship.
Claver won a seat in Congress in the 1987 elections under the banner of Partido ng Bayan. He used Congress as a venue to continue advocating for the democratic rights that the reactionary government denied the national minorities. He belonged to the ranks of progressive leaders who stood up against all forms of oppression and exploitation. ~