Philippines: Gabriela Solon to IPU: We are being harassed

Apr. 18, 2007

18 April 2007

Reference: Rep. Liza Largoza-Maza, Gabriela Womens Partylist (09209134540)
Cristina Palabay, GWP Secretary General (09175003879)
Gabriela Womens Partylist Headquarters (9284007)

Gabriela solon to IPU: We are being harassed

“The Arroyo administration is out to persecute and kill us and members of our political parties. It is out to disenfranchise our constituents by harassing and demonizing political parties that are gaining the support of the people as part of the political opposition.” This was the statement of Rep. Liza Maza of Gabriela Women’s Party during a meeting with members of the Inter- Parliamentary Union (IPU) this afternoon at the Westin Philippine Plaza in Manila.

Anders B. Johnson, IPU secretary-general, Ingeborg Shwarz, secretary of the IPU Committee on Human Rights of Parliamentarians and Canadian Senator Sharon Carstairs, vice president of the IPU Committee on Human Rights of Parliaments are in the country for a mission to investigate the cases of Maza, together with the other members of the progressive party list legislators known as the Batasan 6. The IPU committee is acting on the complaint filed by the legislators last March 2006 and on a resolution issued in support of the said legislators.

“We are fulfilling our duty to represent our constituent sector. As the representative of Gabriela Women’s Party, the sole party list of women in 13 th Philippine Congress, it is my obligation to register the women’s discontent of the current administration. Not to take the stand of the political opposition to the Arroyo administration would have meant dereliction of my duty,” added Maza.

Maza brought up with the IPU team the current criminal charge of multiple-murder filed against her and the 4 legislators in Nueva Ecija. “Rep. Crispin Beltran is still in detention while Rep, Satur Ocampo is currently out on bail. I am the logical next target.”

The solon also cited the cases of harassment against leaders and supporters of Gabriela Women’s Party, especially in the National Capital Region as a complementary attempt in the efforts to have the party disqualified. “President Arroyo’s fear of the growing opposition against her administration, especially in Congress, compels her and her lackeys to harass us with fabricated criminal charges, one after another,” concluded Maza. “We are fully aware that the government is hell-bent in ensuring that we do not take our rightful seats in the 14th Congress.”

Maza also put forward to the IPU the abduction of Selda-Panay officer, Luisa Posa-Dominado and the case of Grecil Buya, the nine year old shot dead by the military in Compostela Valley as clear cases of the brutal attempts of the military in silencing organizations and civilians.

Meanwhile, the Women International Democratic Federation (WIDF), which just concluded its 14th General Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, expressed their deep concern about persecution and repression of Gabriela.

In their resolution, WIDF, one of the largest federations of womens organizations world wide, showed their united support for Rep. Maza, who is also a member of the WIDF Executive Board and serves as the coordinator of WIDF-Asia Pacific. ###

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