Political persecution

By Carol Pagaduan-Araullo
Chairperson Bagong Alyansang Makabayan

It would be hilarious if it were not deadly serious. A hooded witness who gives his name as Jaime B. Fuentes claims to be an ex-communist cadre and accuses several individuals known to be progressive, or Leftist, in the traditional political nomenclature, of conspiring to commit rebellion. The Department of Justice swallows his suspicious testimony hook, line and sinker.

The incredible witness unwittingly undermines his own testimony by wearing an improvised device to hide his identity. He is widely perceived as a latter-day “Makapili” (a paid spy of the Japanese Occupation whose hallmark was to point an accusing finger against fellow Filipinos while wearing a bayong over his head).

The point is starkly made: under the Arroyo administration, the accused are prevented from confronting their accuser even though this is guaranteed under due process and this injustice is abetted by no less than government prosecutors.

Fuentes thus gets away with his mission of red-baiting and besmirching the reputations of the six progressive party-list representatives and many other leaders of various legitimate and aboveground organizations who have all along espoused unabashedly Leftist politics.

This latest travesty on the rights of illegally detained Representative Crispin Beltran, much respected trade unionist, democrat and nationalist who survived Marcos’ martial law, and the “Batasan 5” party-list congresspersons as well as fellow activist leaders is happening in the midst of unabated extrajudicial killings among their ranks. The latest to fall is Malolos Bayan leader, Ka Santi Teodoro, gunned down once more by what are feared to be this regime’s death squads.

The squid and red scare tactics are standard in the government’s bag of counter-insurgency tricks but they assume a new purpose: to justify intensified and unrelenting attacks on the Left as well as rally support behind the hugely unpopular President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo for the tyrannical use of martial law powers to suppress the people; more specifically, the broad array of anti-GMA political forces calling on her to step down.

Part and parcel of the latest red scare tactics is the hype about the so-called alliance between the Communist Party of the Philippines and rebellious sections of the AFP and PNP that has resulted in an elaborate plan to launch a coup d’etat, overthrow the Arroyo regime and set up a military or civilian-military junta in its place.

This Malacañang tall tale deserves a separate discussion all together but at this point an immediate retort is in order: how can the national democratic movement in this country countenance a military or civilian-military junta when its progressive and militant leaders, members and allies would be the first targets for attack by such an undemocratic form of government? This is not speculation; it is historical fact, not just in the Philippine experience but the world over.

Another patent falsehood and one that only a rabidly anti-communist and fascist mind set can concoct and purvey is that the legal and openly functioning Left parties and organizations are actually engaged in rebellion by virtue of their having the same or similar political analysis and program as the CPP/NPA or what is generically termed the “underground” Left.

There is the deliberate refusal to acknowledge that the legal or “aboveground” Left does not engage in nor espouse armed revolution and can therefore not be liable for either rebellion or sedition under the law.

Corollary to this is the obfuscation of the fact that with the repeal of RA 1700 or the Anti-Subversion Law in 1992, former or even current members of the CPP are not engaged in any criminal act as long as they do not carry arms themselves or call on others to do the same to overthrow the duly-constituted government (which many pundits say does not apply to the Arroyo administration).

Of course the follow-up line is that the legal Left maintains links with the armed revolutionary movement and its organizations should also therefore be proscribed, its leaders and members arrested and prosecuted.

Specific to the progressive party lists like Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Party and Anakpawis, the innuendo by rabid anti-communist groups like Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales’ Philippine Democratic Socialist Party, is that the former channel their countryside development funds to the NPA and NPA-controlled areas.

Curiously this is echoed by a Jesuit priest, Fr. Romeo Intengan, who the Left has long-ago described as a crypto-fascist, and whose “research” into Bayan Muna et al “illegal” activities is lauded no end by Malacañang.

Nevertheless, they have failed, time and again, to prove this preposterous charge and merely resort to black propaganda such as government-produced “documentaries” to keep repeating the lie until, like Gobles, they hope it sticks.

May we just point out that the direct persecutors of the legal Left in this country are the police and military forces who stand accused of extrajudicial killings, massacres, torture and other grievous human rights abuses as well as their cover-up; who are useless when it comes to running after the likes of COMELEC Commissioner Garcillano and Agriculture Department Undersecretary “Jocjoc” Bolante, both widely believed to be involved in egregious crimes but are super efficient and gung-ho when it comes to running after activists; and who are cited by the government’s own Commission on Human Rights as the most notorious human rights violators, are subject of Congressional investigations for their involvement in rampant jueteng and smuggling not to mention wholesale electoral fraud.

Dr. Carol P. Araullo, is the Vice-Chairperson for External Affairs of the ILPS

Gloria definitely not a role model for us; works against emancipation of Filipinas, say Fil-Am women

Filipino women in the United States, young and old alike, are uniting with a single message on the occasion of March 8th, recognized as International Women’s Day: “Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is a disgraceful image of the Filipina and definitely not a role model for us. Best way to advance the struggles of Filipino women now is to oust Arroyo.”

This message came from the female ranks of BAYAN USA, a U.S. chapter of the national alliance in the Philippines with over 12 organizations in the U.S. under its belt. The U.S. chapter has been active with actions in multiple U.S. cities calling for the ouster of Arroyo since last year, while many within the ranks of BAYAN in the Philippines, a continuous voice of criticism against the Arroyo regime, have been killed, jailed, or victimized by rampant human rights violations under Arroyo’s military command.

The Philippines is one of a handful of nations around the world that have carried not one, but two female presidents in their country’s history.

“We, young Filipinas in the U.S., do not look up to Gloria at all, but are in fact shamed by her. Let’s not forget, she cheated her way into the position with election fraud. So she really isn’t the duly-elected head of state,” states Berna Ellorin, a New York-based representative of BAYAN USA.

According to the alliance, the declaration of PP1017 weeks ago has brought false charges of rebellion and/or unjust arrest to over 51 individuals, all vocal critics of the Arroyo regime. Among them is progressive partylist leader Liza Maza, a pro-people legislator who has committed her life to the genuine advancement of women’s struggles in the Philippines.

“This is the woman who has single-handedly resurrected martial law in the Philippines. More and more Filipinos are suffering under Arroyo’s martial rule, and the democratic struggles of women in the Philippines, the majority of whom are poor peasants and workers, are driven backward under Arroyo’s moral, political, and economic bankruptcy,” states Marisa Mariano of the San Francisco-based women’s organization babae, also a member of BAYAN.

Highlights of the last tumultuous year under Arroyo have been a dramatic skyrocket in unemployment rates, a declared fiscal crisis driven by rampant government corruption, and the controversial Value Added Tax (VAT) which Arroyo lauded as the necessary measure to uplift the country’s ailing economic problems against the beaten backs of the impoverished Filipino majority.

Amongst the most outstanding events that has galvanized the call for ouster from more and more Filipino women is the subservience displayed by Arroyo to the U.S. military and a passive attitude towards the alleged gang-rape of a Filipina by 6 U.S. Marines last November.

“This is a woman who also not only refused to stand up for another Filipina and the entire nation behind her when she was gang-raped by 6 U.S. Marines, she is the number one proponent for the continuation of rape and other sexual violations against Filipino women nationwide through her support of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and her welcoming of thousands of U.S. troops to Philippine shores throughout her term,” Ellorin continued.

The alliance also asserted that if not for opposition pressures coming from the popular people’s movement on the streets led by BAYAN and others, Arroyo’s push for the intensification of direct U.S. political, economic, and military intervention under her Charter Change (Cha-Cha) which pose major threats to the livelihood of all Filipinos, could go unchecked.

“As a concerned Filipina woman with two young daughters to raise I want to empower them with the sense of social responsibility and value for civil rights, liberties, and freedoms– which is the antithesis of the Arroyo regime” states Rachel Redondiez, secretary-general of BAYAN USA. “Instead I am teaching my daughters of the daily struggles of Filipino women, the importance of building a strong peoples’ movement to advance these struggles, and why Arroyo must be ousted. It is the best message for parents to give.”

BAYAN USA vowed to continue their call for a Gloria-free Philippines and the establishment of a transition council in her place while taking to the streets in massive anti-war protests across the U.S. on Saturday, March 18th, the 3rd anniversary of the U.S. military occupation in Iraq, of which Arroyo has been an avid supporter.

Berna Ellorin, Media Officer, BAYAN USA, email:

The woman’s place is in the struggle! The woman’s place is in the fight!

babae joins women all over the world in celebrating International Women’s Day. Today is a reminder of the escalating oppressive conditions of international women, but more importantly, today is a testament to the unyielding solidarity of women across oceans and land. Millions of women, internationally, are united in raising awareness and fighting against the systemic and widely tolerated injustices against them.

Injustices imposed upon international women cannot be separated from the oppressive systems of imperialism, feudalism and partriarchalism. The conditions under these existing systems harm the majority of women all over the world.

In the Philippines, under the Macapagal-Arroyo regime, women have suffered under severe and relentless economic and political repression. Women are experiencing mass unemployment, forcing them to leave the Philippines in search for job opportunities abroad. In 2005 alone, more than 700,000 Filipino women have left the country.

The current human rights violations in the Philippines under the de facto and fascist regime of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo are increasing. After the declaration of Proclamation 1017, many women and men striving to address the majority of Filipino people’s needs are being wrongly accused for plotting to overthrow the current government. Liza Maza, Congresswoman for the Gabriela Party List, has been falsely charged and placed under arrest, along with 58 other individuals, organizers, and Congressional representatives.

Even within the United States itself, hard-won women’s rights and welfare are under fire. The reproductive rights of women are constantly being challenged. Immigrant women are under attack through Congressional Bills such as HR 4437 (Sensenbrenner Bill), which criminalize immigrants and agencies that provide services for them. Women who are lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered or unwilling to conform to traditional women’s roles are experiencing discrimination in the context of this patriarchal society. Filipinas in the United States endure intense acts of domestic violence that are overlooked by civil and federal governments.

Around the world, women are bought, sold, and forced into prostitution because of the neglect and incapability of governments to protect and employ their women. In Darfur, Sudan, women and girls are sexually victimized under government-sponsored attacks, including abductions, rapes and kidnappings. In Mexico, Central America, and South Africa, women’s reproductive biological traits are used to exclude them from unionizing and obtaining fair worker benefits.

As a direct result of the conditions under which women are experiencing oppression internationally, we are taking on these systemic injustices with arms linked and fists raised. Lost are the fears of naiveté and hesitancy, women all over the world are organizing their communities, struggling and fighting to find resolutions to their situations. The international women’s movement is strikingly resilient despite the relentless offensives taken against the well-being and human right of women.

babae denounces any and every human rights violations against women internationally. Our practice reflects the growing strength of the international women’s movement. Finally, we stand in solidarity with women all over the globe who are fighting for women’s emancipation.

Long live international solidarity!
Continue the struggle for women’s liberation!
Rise up against Imperialism!
Celebrate International Women’s Day!

Valerie Francisco, Mass Campaigns Officer, babae San Francisco, Email:,

[Message from Liza Maza] With or Without Proclamation 1017, Stop Political Persecution of Partylists now!

In reaction to today’s lifting of Proclamation #1017, Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Liza Largoza Maza said that the political persecution of progressive Partylist solons should stop and that Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran be released immediately.

“If indeed times are back to normal, threats to our life and liberties, the crackdown of our leaders should stop, so should DOJ secretary Raul Gonzales and National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales be censured for threatening that crackdowns will continue against our leaders and members. Otherwise, Mrs. Arroyo’s lifting of this Draconian measure is as fake as her presidency.” Maza said.

She also demanded that Executive Order #464 and the Calibrated Pre-Emptive Response be revoked.

According to Maza, there should be no accolade for Mrs. Arroyo for the lifting of Proclamation 1017, nor should people be fooled that the President had a change of heart towards critics and organizations opposed to her. “We have no illusions that her policy against critics and the opposition will change.”

Maza said, “Her statement today came with a veiled threat, that she will continue to use her powers against forces opposed to her rule.”

“Despite the lifting of Proclamation 1017, we must not fall silent. The people’s vigilance and militant opposition to all attempts to stifle legitimate expressions of dissent will continue.”

For Reference: REP. LIZA LARGOZA MAZA 0920-9134540 Tels: 9316268, 9315001 loc7230; Jang Monte (Public Information Officer) 0917-8226635