I am ready to face this battle

Apr. 26, 2006

(Below is the statement released on Tuesday by Alvin Luque, secretary-general of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Northern Mindanao)

The case leveled against me by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), particularly by the 73rd Infantry Battalion, is one I will not back down from, since I am certain of my innocence. But given the harsh human rights landscape, given the extent of disrespect and the degree of manipulation the Arroyo regime is capable of, I will not turn myself in without asserting and pursuing justice.

I am ready to face this battle.

I will make use of the increasingly tapered space in the judicial system, to expose the incredulity of the accusations hurled against me, and to defend my name and the peoples movement of which I come from.

I am not one to renege against my earlier conviction to face the courts when time comes. At this phase, I also know fully well that my innocence can only be proven by way of a fair and impartial trial. Should I appear in court, I shall then be carrying with me a sense of certainty that justice will indeed be fair and impartial.

Given the current social condition, however, I do not have that sense of certainty that justice can indeed be carried out. I am of the belief that the court handling my case is most capable and deserves the utmost respect and trust in the delivery of the justice I seek, but I cannot say the same for Ms Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo who recently imposed Presidential Proclamation 1017.

I can neither say the same for the Department of Justice (DoJ) under Sec. Raul Gonzalez who spearheaded the persecution of Rep. Crispin Beltran of the Anakpawis and the Batasan 5 nor for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) when the likes of M/Gen. Jovito Palparan and Col. Eduardo del Rosario continue relentlessly to crackdown against dissenters and progressive forces.

I cannot allow myself to face my accusers under this period of our history when activist leaders and supporters run defenceless from and are slaughtered by extra-judicial killings. Before I could reach the court house, my guilty verdict may not come from a judge but from the bullet of hooded motorcycle-riding men. Since Gen. Palparan and Ms Arroyo tolerated this bloody and murderous trail, this appeared to have become the sense of justice of this government. Am I simply to submit myself to it blindly?

How am I to expect justice to be delivered when this governments responses to the expression of peoples basic rights and freedoms, as seen in protests, are the pre-emptive calibrated response and the declaration of a state of emergency (a.k.a martial rule)? How am I to expect justice when the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), the Bayan Muna Party-List and other progressive organizations continue to be vilified and harassed by the states foremost fascist arms, the AFP and the Philippine National Police (PNP)?

As I have been indicted, yes I desire no less than to defend myself in court, but as the Arroyo regime has taken control of the country with an iron-fist, I cannot, at this time, fulfil what I have earlier vowed to do, which is to voluntarily surrender myself to the judicial process. I have nothing to fear from the law as I am no criminal, but, I have to defend myself in this manner because I know that Ms Arroyo, the AFP and the PNP are not just out to prove my guilt but they will stop at nothing to silence and, eventually, kill activists like me, as they have done to countless others before myself.

If only I can be given iron-clad assurance that what I will be facing will indeed be a fair and impartial trial, perhaps from the local government of the city of Davao, I will not hesitate for a moment to present myself. But, then again, I would not expect much since the salivating pack of wolves from Col. Del Rosarios camp are now ever so ready to pounce on me once I am there. (Perhaps, Col. Del Rosario should contemplate the decadence and corruption within the AFP to take a breather from hunting down dissenters.)

For my part I would like to say this for the record that the only scenario perhaps that could convince me that fairness is restored, giving me certainty that justice can truly be carried out for activists like myself, is when I, together with the rest of the Filipino people, see Ms Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo step down from Malacanang to make way for a more democratic rule.

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