MANILA, Philippines – The House of Representatives Makabayan opposition bloc has filed a resolution which seeks to condemn and probe the detention and torture of Filipino Moro activist Jerome Succor Aba by the United States Homeland Security and Customs Border and Protection last week.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Thursday decried how activists remain under attack in the Philippines and in the US.
Zarate cited the detention and expulsion of Australian missionary nun Patricia Fox, as well as peasant activists being killed and critics being harassed.
“This just goes to show the striking fascist similarities between the Trump and the Duterte administrations. People all over the world should condemn this deplorable acts,” the Davao-based solon said.
“What is the US and Philippine governments so afraid of? Are they so paranoid and scared that the whole world would know the horrid human rights situation in their countries? They should stop harassing activists,” he added.
House Resolution 1826 was filed by Zarate, ACT-Teachers Reps. Antonio Tinio and France Castro, Gabriela Reps. Emmi de Jesus and Arlene Brosas, Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago last Wednesday.
Last April 17, Aba, chair of Suara Bangsamoro, was briefly held by Immigration agents at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport on his scheduled flight to US. He was invited by the Human Rights Office of the Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church to be a resource speaker at the 2028 Ecumenical Advocacy Days in Washington, DC.
While he was held, he was asked if he would be participating in rallies in the US. He was also subjected to separate random security checks.
Upon arrival at the San Francisco International Airport, Aba was escorted by two officers and was brought to the Homeland Security office where he was left alone in an empty room, his belongings and phone confiscated.
Aba was interrogated for 12 hours by different officers and was even denied food, sleep and access to a lawyer. He was forced to admit that he was a “terrorist and communist” despite his truthful answers.
At one point, Aba was made to strip naked in front of a large industrial fan inside an air-conditioned room. After this, he was forced to sign a blank waiver attesting that he was treated humanely by the officers. He was later deported back to the Philippines.
“The harrowing experience of Jerome Succor Aba, including his torture from the hands US Immigration agents, is highly condemnable and a grave violation of human rights,” the militant lawmakers wrote in the resolution.
“The said acts are not only an affront to the rights of an innocent Filipino citizen who was validly invited and granted travel documents for his US engagement but, a serious affront as well to the Philippines, for which the government should rightly protest,” they added. (davaotoday.com)