Contact: Rhonda Ramiro
Secretary General, BAYAN-USA
“Rep. Alcover is only deceiving himself if he thinks that anyone is going to believe his malicious lies and slanderous statements. He should apologize to the Filipino people for wasting their money and time, and issue an immediate retraction of his slanderous statements,” remarked BAYAN-USA Chair Berna Ellorin, in reaction to Representative Pastor Alcover Jr.’s privilege speech to the Philippine House of Representatives on August 17, 2009.
The US Chapter of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, or BAYAN-USA, denounced Rep. Alcover’s privilege speech as another pathetic attempt by the Arroyo regime to wash its hands of responsibility for the thousands of state-sponsored human rights violations plaguing the Philippines and to discredit the testimony of torture victim Melissa Roxas. “Melissa Roxas’ strong credibility as a victim of torture, backed unanimously by the Commission on Human Rights in the Philippines, has created a diplomatic nightmare for the Arroyo government. Roxas’ brave pursuit of justice and accountability is expectedly bringing out the witch-hunters in the Arroyo government, namely ANAD Partylist Representative Jun Alcover,” stated Ellorin.
Throughout the speech, Rep. Alcover made baseless claims and stated erroneous information as facts. Such information included Rep. Alcover’s branding of BAYAN-USA as “an organization under the NDF [National Democratic Front] international in the United States.”
“Rep. Alcover is stooping to slander as a means to absolve the Arroyo government of the more than 1,000 cases of extrajudicial killings and over 200 cases each of enforced disappearances and torture—including the most recent case of Melissa Roxas. This is no surprise, given the overwhelmingly credible testimony provided by Melissa,” said Ellorin. “The Arroyo regime has a history of recycling the ‘communist boogeyman’ every time it gets put on the defensive. Rep. Alcover should be reminded that these McCarthyist red-baiting tactics were discredited last century, for their utter failure to do anything but demonize innocent people and make the world less safe for everyone.”
Rep. Alcover also referred repeatedly to a “hate campaign” being waged to shame the government. “Did Rep. Alcover mis-read the reports by the United Nations, Amnesty International and Human Rights watch, which all point to government responsibility for the overwhelming majority of human rights violations committed against innocent Filipinos?” stated Ellorin. “Clearly, the hate campaign being waged is the one that GMA and her supporters have been waging since 2001, against any person courageous enough to speak up for justice and criticize the failed policies of the Arroyo administration.”
“Alcover is abusing his position in the legislature to advance the Philippine military’s agenda within. His red-baiting and inflammatory remarks also serve to undermine the resumption of peace talks between the Philippine government and the NDF, even though the NDF has every right to assert its platform for genuine national freedom and democracy, lasting peace, and a progressive Philippines. Rep. Alcover should spend his time, and the Filipino people’s money, concerning himself with public service for a nation in grave need, and not with bloody, ineffective counter-insurgency tactics.” ended Ellorin.