Philippines: PCPR Condemns Malacaang Assault on Civilians, Media

Nov. 30, 2007

The continuous firing, the rain of tear gas and forcible entry of one APC truck at the Manila Hotel Peninsula yesterday sent strong signals that the combined special forces of the police and military were given orders to launch all-out assault even at the risk of civilian lives including Bishop Julio Labayen, Vice Pres. Teofisto Guingona and so many members of the media. What we have witnessed in the way Malacaang handled the Makati crisis is total disregard of civilian safety and the people’s appeal for sobriety. We strongly condemn Malacaang for resorting to excessive force that could have cost the lives of so many people.

We join the media groups in condemning the unjustified arrest of media persons. The arrest of media workers who were in the line of duty to report to the nation constitutes grave violations of press freedom and the people’s right to know. We admire the reporters and crew who courageously stood their ground to carry on their jobs amidst deadly gunfire and sickening cloud of tear gas.

We deplore the Arroyo government for imposing virtual martial law through curfew, checkpoints and warrantless arrests such as the mass arrest of reporters and civilians yesterday. As we have repeatedly experienced in the past, Sen. Antonio Trillanes and his known supporters will not be the only ones who will be targets of heightened surveillance, harassment, threats or actual arrests. In the name of ‘national security,’ all-out surveillance operations, harassment and repression will again be directed by Malacaang against communities, people’s organizations and even media groups that are critical of the administration.

Today, November 30, and in the days ahead, we will continue to voice out our protests and call for the immediate ouster of the presidency that is guilty of massive plunder, fraud, political killings and deadly bombings against civilians. The Arroyo government can continue to physically detain Sen. Trillanes et al and threaten to arrest numerous administration critics. But the people victimized by Arroyo’s all-around corruption and even more members of the military who have legitimate grievances and aspirations for change will never be suppressed. Former President Fidel V. Ramos claimed that the Filipino people will have to live with Arroyo as president until 2010 because we have “no better options.” This is a gross insult to the integrity of Filipino leaders who can rightfully replace the morally bankrupt and illegitimate president. The people who have had enough of corruption, poverty and injustice will continue to demand change and better options other than this rotten government. #

Reference: Amie Dural

Secretary General, Promotion of Church People’s Response (PCPR)

Contact: 9251786

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