Philippines: Malacanang-backed persecution of partylist groups escaltes

May. 08, 2007

MANILA — Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today decried anew the worsening government and military attacks against the progressive party-lists and demanded the immediate release of Anakpawis Eastern Visayas coordinator Vincent Borja. He also denounced moves of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ 801st Infantry Brigade to file charges against Bayan Muna lawmaker Teddy Casino.

“These are outrageous charges that they’re leveling against our party-lists, leaders and lawmakers,” said Beltran. “The military is slapping false charges and accusations against us every which way and they’re using fake warrants and unfounded testimonies. They do not have a scrap of proof to substantiate their charges against Borja, and now they’re also dragging Rep. Casino into this mess they made.”

Beltran who also stands as Anakpawis’ national chairman and first nominee said that the AFP was clearly on the rampage against the progressive party-lists and have resorted to fabricating charges to slap on the strictly legal officials and members of the party-lists. ” Bebot Borja is an Anakpawis regional coordinator, a ranking official of Anakpawis and has been so since 2003 when our party-list was first established. The fact that he is being charged of being a member of the New People’s Army (NPA) is ridiculous. He is a highly visible personality in the legal democratic mass movement in Ormoc. He is not an NPA and neither is he an official of the Communist Party of the Philippines,” he said.

“Why is the AFP being allowed to abuse what should be its limited authority? They’ve practically taken over the jobs of the police because they’re the ones serving warrants and threatening the arrest of elected lawmakers,” he said. “The military has become even more arrogant and abusive because of Malacanang’s continued support for its actions.”

“Who will stop the military from perpetrating all these abuses? It seems that there are no more limits to their authority. They get away with extrajudicial killings, abductions, and they’re arresting our officials left and right without even bothering to present legal and credible warrants.”

“This is martial law. Pres. Macapagal-Arroyo may not have made any formal declaration, but these shocking developments speak volumes about the true state of the nation and the deterioration of civilian authority. It’s the military whose now calling the shots, and Pres. Arroyo has all but been reduced to being a mere figure head. She remains president only because of the support of the military, and hence she has practically removed all limits to the authority of the military.” #

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