Militant groups denounce sedition raps vs Robredo, opposition
MANILA, Philippines – At least two militant groups have called out the government for the sedition complaints filed against Vice President Leni Robredo and other opposition personalities, saying that it is just a way to silence critics of the government.
Aside from being a form of harassment, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said this measure — done four days before President Rodrigo Duterte delivers his State of the Nation Address (Sona) — is also meant to distract people from the real issues.
“The false claim of ‘sedition’ is also a distraction from the real issues that should be discussed during the Sona — Duterte’s betrayal of the people, his puppetry and murderous policies,” Reyes said in a message to reporters.
“In a way, the filing of the case wants to stun the opposition and prevent them from further exposing the abuses of the administration especially during the massive protest actions geared against the Sona on Monday,” Zarate explained.
Zarate also said that he believes the cases would not “stand credence in a fair court.”
“It was just filed now to steal the thunder from the broadening movement against the excesses and tyrannical policies of the Duterte administration,” he added.
On Thursday, the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (CIDG) of the Philippine National Police (PNP) filed sedition and other complaints against Robredo and 35 other individuals, including Senators Leila de Lima, Risa Hontiveros, former senators Bam Aquino and Antonio Trillanes.
Otso Diretso candidates, except for former Interior Secretary Mar Roxas, were also sued for the same cases. This was for their supposed role in the release of “Ang Totoong Narcolist” videos, where Duterte’s relatives and close allies were implicated in the illegal drug trade.
In May, Peter Joemel Advincula, who claims to be the hooded figure “Bikoy,” said that the video series was aimed at destabilizing the government and eventually install Robredo as president.
Robredo’s camp has already labeled the complaints as merely based on hearsay, while others have chided Malacañang for its hand on the case. However, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo insisted that they have nothing to do with the filing.
According to Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares, this pattern of charging and arresting critics has been a part of the Duterte administration’s blueprint.
“This is gravely and highly condemnable act; it uses the same template the Duterte regime utilized against progressives and activists. Now it is being used wholesale against opposition figures,” Colmenares said.
“They file trumped-up charges against critics of the regime to silence them from exposing the rottenness of the administration. Numerous critics of the administration like peace consultants Vic Ladlad, Rey Casambre and Sen. Leila de Lima are now detained for the fact that they stood up for the truth,” he added.
Colmenares also warned against the implications of the complaints against the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), which is mandated to provide legal services to those who might need it.
“Furthermore the attack against IBP officers is an attack against the mandate of IBP to provide legal services to those in need. President Duterte as a lawyer should know this,” he claimed.
“The Filipino people must be very vigilant against this hideous design as it was the same modus the dictator Ferdinand Marcos used before declaring martial law in the whole country,” he noted. /jpv
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.