Cases vs leaders of leftist groups are part of gov’t crackdown—Kabataan solon
The string of cases filed against progressive leaders is “obviously” part of a crackdown against leftist organizations, a youth lawmaker said Wednesday.
Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago said that the government “has obviously ran out of strategies to scare progressive groups, leaders, and the masses.”
“In fact, its tactics are no different from those that other administrations have used—from extrajudicial killings, outright violations of human rights, to trumped-up charges,” Elago said in a statement.
On Tuesday, Bayan Muna Party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate received a subpoena from the Manila City Prosecutor for violations of the Marcos-era Public Assembly Act (Batas Pambansa Blg. 880), and the Revised Penal Code’s Art. 148 or committing direct assault and resistance, and Art. 151 or disobedience to a person in authority for supposedly leading the protest against United States President Donald Trump during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Summit last year.
Also charged are former Bayan Muna Party-list Reps. Neri Colmenares and Satur Ocampo, and Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) leader Roberto “Obet” De Castro.
The charges stemmed from the complaint filed by Police Officer 1 (PO1) Ariel Miranda Ortega alleging that Zarate, together with other militant leaders Vencer Crisostomo and Einstein Recedes of Anakbayan, Renato Reyes of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), and Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna, have incited protesters to “attack” the policemen during the violent anti-U.S. rally along Taft Avenue on November 13, 2017.
Elago strongly condemned the “crackdown” on progressive leaders, which came days after President Rodrigo Duterte declared that the government would go after the so-called “legal fronts” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA).
She said it was ironic for the police to file the charges when it was the authorities who used all the weapons— the truncheons, the shields, the water cannons, and a new sonic weapon, the Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD)—to disperse the protesters.
“How ironic that those who had all the means to injure, and even to kill, the rallyists, now willingly appear to be the victims,” she said.
The trumped-up charges “do not scare” the progressives, Elago emphasized, adding that the “mass movement has survived each passing dictator until they fall from power.”
“Instead of sowing fear, their strategies only expose the fascist inclinations and tyrannical character of the Duterte regime, thereby strengthening the mass movement and giving us all the more reason to resist and to fight its swift rise to a full-blown dictatorship,” she explained.
Duterte last week said that he was just waiting for the court to rule the CPP as a terrorist group before he goes after its so-called “legal fronts”
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