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KMU condemns crackdown on progressive partylist solons

The militant labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) condemns the arrest of Anakpawis Rep. Crispin “Ka Bel” Beltran.

“If the government can do this to our representatives in the Lower House using PD 1017, how much more to us ordinary citizens?” stressed Elmer Labog, KMU National Chairperson.

According to reports, Beltran was arrested by the military led by a certain Major Rene Corpus at the gate of Francisco III Subdivision in Muzon, Bulacan around 10 am today after leaving his house. Beltran was said to be taken for investigation in Camp Crame. The veteran labor advocate was accompanied by his wife, grandchild and two security personnel when the incident occurred.

Beltran was also a victim of martial law during the dictatorship of the late President Ferdinand Marcos when crackdown hit the KMU leaders. On August 13, 1983, three trade union leaders, 28 organizers and three church people were arrested. The office of the National Federation of Labor Union (NAFLU) was raided. Then KMU National President Ka Bert Olalia, KMU Secretary General Crispin Beltran and PISTON President Medardo Roda were arrested.

Beltran was honored as an outstanding congressman for four consecutive years.

Meanwhile, an attempt to arrest Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo also happened this morning after a press conference in Sulo Hotel in Quezon City. But reports said, members of Criminal Investigation and Detention Group (CIDG) failed to arrest the partylist solon and instead took two of Ocampo’s staff.

KMU urges the media, different organizations and the people to be vigilant on the president’s state of emergency, “It is apparent that Gloria is using this decree to freely suppress and take revenge on the staunch critics of the anti-people policies of this administration.”

With GMA’s desperate moves apparent, Fil-Ams launch US-wide protests for Arroyo’s Ouster

Various cause-oriented groups and Filipino organizations under banner of BAYAN-USA held quick reaction protests in four major US cities yesterday to condemn the Arroyo administration’s declaration of a so-called “state of national emergency” (Proclamation 1017) in the Philippines less than 24 hours after it was announced in a nationally-televised broadcast from Malacanang.

Filipinos and their allies in the US condemned the illegal maneuver as “unwarranted and desperate, pushing Arroyo’s strategic agenda of resurrecting a full-blown martial law to quell nationwide dissent towards her regime and retain her stolen presidential seat.”

Since then police and military raids have entered newspaper offices, such as the Daily Tribune, to prevent the media projection of broad opposition forces gaining considerable momentum from various fronts. Outspoken Anti-Arroyo legislators, such as Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran have been arrested, while others have been forced into hiding.

“Proclamation 1017 is an illegal act. It is the latest in Arroyo’s tone-setting of fictitious national conditions to justify martial rule. We condemn the rise of fascism under Arroyo. The massive street demonstrations that started with the commemoration of People Power 1 will only heighten from this point on. Arroyo’s gaining more and more opponents by the moment and it shows through her measures,” stated BAYAN-USA chair Kawal Ulanday.

In New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, broad multi-national solidarity groups joined BAYAN-USA and its member Filipino organizations Babae, Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students, NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines, Critical Filipino/Filipina Studies Collective and Habi Arts in front of Philippine consulates everywhere.

Supporters that also joined the US-wide actions included the International Action Center, ANSWER Coalition, CAAAV:Organizing Asian Communities, Nodutol for Korean Community Development, Al-Awda, and many others.

“Filipino-Americans and the freedom-loving people of the US will not cease to intensify our actions calling for Gloria’s immediate ouster until such time she is removed from Malacanang. We look forward to launching more US-based support for People Power 3. We reiterate our call for a transition council to be established in Arroyo’s place to address the people’s urgent issues sincerely and move the country in a genuinely positive direction,” Ulanday ended.

References:
Kawal Ulanday, Chair, BAYAN-USA, email: chair@bayanusa.org
Berna Ellorin, Media Officer, BAYAN-USA, email: ny@bayanusa.org

[Message from Satur Ocampo]

The following message was read by Dr. Reynaldo Lesaca Jr, chairman of Bayan Muna, at a vigil and solidarity gathering the night of February 25, 2006, at the La Salle Greenhills chapel:

MESSAGE FROM SATUR OCAMPO
President and Partylist Representative, Bayan Muna
Deputy Minority Leader, House of Representatives
Feb. 25, 2006

Much as I would like to be with you tonight, the developments within the last 24 hours, especially the attempted forcible abduction against me this morning, has constrained me from exposing myself in public, lest I succumb to the dangers posed by the rampaging monster that is the Arroyo regime.

Indeed, my colleagues from the Independent Bloc of progressive partylist organizations and myself are faced with grave danger after Mrs. Arroyo’s declaration of a state of national emergency. Between 8 to 8:30 this morning, Anakpawis Partylist Representative Crispin Beltran was forcibly abducted on his way to a House Minority press conference and arbitrarily detained at Camp Crame for “questioning.” The absurd basis for the illegal police action was a two decade-old trumped-up case filed against him by the Marcos dictatorship in 1985.

A few hours later, emerging from the said press conference at Sulo Hotel, I was almost abducted by at least three police agents in civilian clothing with their guns drawn – one had a high powered rifle and the other two were armed with automatic pistols – who blocked my vehicle in front of the Hotel in full view of the media. Luckily, I was riding a different car so they ended up arresting my driver and aide.

I was one of the longest-held political prisoners during martial law. I do not particularly mind being arrested for my political beliefs. The problem is when the arrest is made arbitrarily and without due process, like the attempted arrest this morning where the authorities did not even have the decency to formally serve a warrant of arrest. Instead, they resorted to the martial-law tactic of blocking my vehicle and threateningly waving their firearms like I was some fugitive of the law. Who knows what could have happened had I been in that vehicle? Remember, more than 80 of Bayan Muna’s leaders have been summarily executed since Mrs. Arroyo took power in 2001.

Friends and comrades in arms, what happened yesterday and this morning cannot be taken lightly. The declaration of a state of national emergency is not only patently illegal; it is also aimed at suppressing the civil liberties and political rights of our people. How else can we explain the bellicose pronouncements from Malacañang, the blanket ban on rallies and demonstrations, the violent dispersal of our peaceful assemblies, the closure and harrassment of critical media outlets, and the arbitrary and illegal arrest of opposition figures?

Mrs. Arroyo’s true colors have emerged. Her regime is nothing but a fascist dictatorship in the works.

I therefore appeal to you, on this 20th anniversary of the ouster of the Marcos dictatorship, to hold fast to our hard-earned rights and liberties. Let us not be cowed by the Arroyo regime’s fascist tricks. Never again should martial rule destroy our country.

More than this, we should continually press for Mrs. Arroyo’s removal from office. Only her removal will prevent the setting up of another dictatorship that is more brutal and more corrupt. Together, let us struggle for a just, sovereign and democratic Philippines.

Makibaka, huwag matakot!
Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!!

Full Text of Proclamation 1017

MALACAÑANG PALACE
MANILA

PROCLAMATION NO. 1017

PROCLAMATION DECLARING A STATE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY

WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political opposition have conspired with authoritarians of the extreme Left represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme Right, represented by military adventurists–the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine State—who are now in tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted and systematic conspiracy, over a broad front, to bring down the duly constituted Government elected in May 2004.

WHEREAS, these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring down the President;

WHEREAS, the claims of these elements have been recklessly magnified by certain segments of the national media;

WHEREAS, this series of actions is hurting the Philippine State–by obstructing governance including hindering the growth of the economy and sabotaging the people’s confidence in government and their faith in the future of this country;

WHEREAS, these actions are adversely affecting the economy;

WHEREAS, these activities give totalitarian forces of both the extreme Left and extreme Right the opening to intensity their avowed aims to bring down the democratic Philippine State;

WHEREAS, Article 2, Section 4 of our Constitution makes the defense and preservation of the democratic institutions and the State the primary duty of Government;

WHEREAS, the activities above-described, their consequences, ramifications and collateral effects constitute a clear and present danger to the safety and the integrity of the Philippine State and of the Filipino people;

NOW, THEREFORE, I Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Section 18, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution which states that: “ The President…whenever it becomes necessary,…may call out (the) armed forces to prevent or suppress…rebellion…, “ and in my capacity as their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction; and as provided in Section 17, Article 12 of the Constitution do hereby declare a State of National Emergency.

IN WITNESS HEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Republic of the Philippines to be affixed.

Done in the City of Manila, this 24th day of February, in the year of Our Lord, two thousand and six.

GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
President
Republic of the Philippines