Philippines: Manila Peninsula ‘assault’ an overkill; arrests of media people unprecedented and condemnable

Nov. 30, 2007

November 29, 2007

Manila Peninsula ‘assault’ an overkill; arrests of media people unprecedented and condemnable – KMU

The Labor Center Kilusang Mayo Uno(KMU) today condemns in highest terms possible the “excessive force’ used against Sen. Trillanes, Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim and other people involved in the ‘Manila Peninsula stand-off’.

KMU Chairperson Elmer ‘Ka Bong’ Labog said that the assault in the Manila Peninsula six-hour siege and the eventual arrests of the people involved in the stand-off was an “overkill”.

” We witnessed this day the barbarity of the Arroyo government which is more concerned of its political survival than to protect the lives of civilians, including media people during the stand-off. The highhandedness displayed by the police and military against unarmed civilians shows their sheer arrogance and contempt for people who are just working to know the truth and fighting for what is right. In the first place, the issues that Sen Trillanes and his supporters aired were all legitimate,” Labog said.

Labog also noted that the government did not exhaust all possible options that should have not endangered the lives of the Manila Peninsula occupants and other civilians. ” People inside the hotel was treated as collateral damage. What the Arroyo government should had done was to negotiate with former Vice President Tito Guingona, Bishop Labayen or Fr. Robert Reyes for a peaceful settlement of the stand-off,” Labog registered.

The labor leader also expressed anger for the unprecedented arrests of media people who covered the stand-off.

” The arrests were very despicable and only shows that military and police might supersedes the superiority of civilian power. Is this a dreadful sign that martial law will be imposed by this government? If that so, the Filipino people will strongly protest and fight this back. We cannot allow a dictatorship masquerading of upholding democracy and rule of law to prevail, ” Labog said. ###

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