On the occasion of the International Day in Solidarity with Political Prisoners and Prisoners of War, declared by the International League of Peoples Struggle on December 3 of every year, political detainees join the whole nation in condemning the bloody reign of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The gruesome bloodbath in Maguindanao which snuffed out the lives of 57 men and women, the majority of whom were media practitioners, has become the hallmark of the deplorable human rights record of this murderous regime.
Today, political prisoners in many parts of the country, raise their fists in unity with the families of victims of the gory Ampatuan massacre to seek justice and condemn the impunity and brazenness by which this regime commits human rights violations. Extra-judicial killings, massacres, abductions, enforced disappearances as well as torture, illegal arrest and detention and forced evacuations of communities are being committed against fellow Filipinos ever since Arroyo’s ascendancy into the presidency in 2001.
The US-Arroyo’s brand of recycled counter-insurgency program called Oplan Bantay Laya, (OBL) ostensibly to defeat the people’s resistance, is the bloodiest and most brutal program ever unleashed by a Philippine president against its own people. Though it also targets the armed resistance movement, OBL’s focus is on the legal mass movements that have been in the forefront of people’s protests against government policies that are inimical to people’s interests.
Under this brutal campaign, human rights defenders and leaders of mass organizations are under relentless attacks – kept under surveillance, placed in watchlists and order of battles, harassed, threatened; and, in instances that they are not killed or disappeared, are slapped with
fabricated cases to paralyze the organizations they support.
Since 2001 up to the 3rd quarter of 2009, Karapatan has documented 1,946 cases of illegal arrest and detention. At present, there are 284 political detainees in the country, 257 of whom were arrested under GMA’s OBL.
Her militarist approach in dealing with the legitimate clamor for genuine reforms has scuttled the peace talks between government and the Moro secessionist groups in Mindanao and the New People’s Army and has ravished the countrysides; drove away thousands of farmers and indigenous people from their lands. Consultants and staff of the peace negotiations are illegally arrested, tortured and are charged with common crimes.
Eduardo Serrano, spokesperson of the political detainees in the custodial center in Camp Crame stated that with GMA’s bloody human rights record, she deserves to be in jail than be allowed to run for public office.
To show their rage and condemnation, the political detainees and prisoners in Camp Crame New Bilibid Prison, San Fernando Provincial Jail in Pampanga, Bohol Detention and Rehabilitation Center and Compostela Valley Rehabilitation Center staged a nationally coordinated noise barrage at 11:00 am to 12:00 noon today. They say, GMA should be in jail instead of us!
In solidarity with the political detainees and prisoners here and around the world, Selda, Karapatan-ST and Bayan-ST hold a parallel activity at the Edsa gate of Camp Crame to demand for the immediate release of all political detainees and prisoners and the arrest and incarceration of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo and her murderous cohorts like Andal Ampatuan and Jovito Palparan, Jr.
Fr. Dionito Cabillas,
Mobile phone number: 0915-240-7039
Landline phone number: 434-2837