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[Senate of the Philippines] Senate Condemns Illegal Acts Under Proclamation 1017

The alleged illegal acts and excesses committed by government forces such as the warrantless arrest of political opponents of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, including a member of the House of Representatives, and the police takeover on the Daily Tribune newspaper were condemned in a resolution introduced in the Senate this afternoon.

In a resolution principally authored by Liberal Party leaders Senate President Franklin Drilon, Majority Leader Francis Pangilinan, Senators Mar Roxas, Rodolfo Biazon as well as independent Sen. Pia Cayetano, the Senate condemned the “raid and exercise of control over print media, the warrantless arrest of several citizens including a member of the House of Representatives, and other similar acts carried out by the government pursuant to Proclamation No. 1017 issued by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.”

Drilon said several other senators, including those from the majority and the minority, have signified their intention to co-sponsor the resolution.

“During these difficult and uncertain times, we must prevent the weakening of our democratic institutions and protect civil liberties as the cornerstone of our democracy,” Drilon said.

The Senate President explained that as “the elected representatives of the people, senators can not stand idle while overzealous functionaries of President Arroyo trample upon the bill of rights of our people under the guise of a real or an imagined national emergency.”

In the resolution, the senators claimed that “these acts carried out by the government pursuant to Proclamation No. 1017 on its face contravene the fundamental guarantees of the Constitution particularly the basic civil liberties enshrined therein and deserve outright condemnation.”

“Despite Malacañang’s claim that Proclamation No. 1017 was a mere statement of fact, alarming acts have been carried out pursuant to said Proclamation, including: (1) all scheduled rallies, with or without permit, were cancelled; (2) some protesters, including UP Professor Randy David and Akbayan President Ronald Llamas, were apprehended for inciting to sedition and violation of the Public Assembly Act; (3) the National Telecommunications called a meeting of the members of the Kapisanan ng mga Broadcasters sa Pilipinas (KBP) and discussed the possible revocation of franchise or take-over of media companies that engage in biased reporting or publication of matters affecting national security; (4) a 6:00 p.m. curfew was imposed on the press corps of Malacañang; (5) one major newspaper, The Daily Tribune, was raided and other major dailies were placed under surveillance; and (6) Party-List Congressman Crispin Beltran was arrested based on a warrant of arrest issued during Martial law, while other lawmakers are under threat of arrest; (7) attempted arrest of Bayan Muna partylist Representative Satur Ocampo; (8) retired Police Major General Ramon Montano was likewise arrested while other lawmakers and opposition leaders are under threat of arrest,” the resolution said.

The resolution noted that on February 24, “even before the issuance of Proclamation No. 1017, officials of Malacañang categorically declared on national television that an attempt to overthrow the government has been successfully quelled and restrained.”

The resolution cited that Article VI, Section 23 of the 1987 Constitution, “allows the Congress to authorize, by law, the President to exercise certain powers during times of national emergency, for a limited period and subject to restrictions set by it.”

“In accordance with Philippine constitutional practice and precedents, the declaration of a state of national emergency does not in any way suspend the Constitution and does not limit the civil liberties, basic human rights, freedom of the press and other fundamental rights enshrined therein,” it added.

The resolution also noted that Congress, as a separate and independent body, “has a constitutionally mandated duty to ensure that the demarcation defining the powers of the three branches of government are maintained and ensure, as part of the democratic checks and balance, that the acts of any other branch do not transgress.

The resolution noted that President Arroyo’s declaration of a State of National Emergency under Proclamation No. 1017 “was a statement of fact and does not entail the President’s exercise of additional powers.”

“Pursuant to Proclamation No. 1017, the President issued General Order No. 5 calling “upon the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine National Police (PNP) to prevent and suppress lawless violence in the country” and directing “the Chief of Staff of the AFP and Chief of the PNP to prevent and suppress acts of terrorism and lawless violence in the country,” the resolution said.

“The directive issued under General Order No. 5 gives the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine national Police (PNP) and the PNP unbridled and broad discretion to carry out the supposed policy of Proclamation No. 1017, possibly opening boundless opportunities for abuse and violation of fundamental human rights,” the Senate resolution pointed out.

Reference: Lyn Eyana (0916-7068148)

KMU third update and action alert

Another militant Party List Representative arrested; DOJ files rebellion charges against party list reps, tags KMU and other progressive legal organizations as CPP fronts

3:30 p.m. – Bayan Muna Representative Joel Virador was arrested in Davao City this afternoon. Sketchy reports said that he was arrested at the Davao International airport. He was immediately brought to Camp Leonor but Davao Mayor Rodrigo Duterte took Rep. Virador into his custody. Duterte said that he will personally surrender Rep. Virador to House Minority Leader Francis Escudero and House Speaker Joe de Venecia tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano, Bayan Muna Representatives Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casino, and Gabriela Womens Party representative Liza Maza, opted to go to the Congress and wait for their warrant of arrests to be served. A commotion ensued when policemen tried to prevent their supporters from entering the House. The police also attempted to arrest a staff of Rep. Virador but failed.

This morning, the PNP filed rebellion charges before the Department of Justice (DOJ) against 51 so-called “reds”, which included leaders and members identified with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), partylist representatives, and other militant leaders.

In its complaint, the PNP named 41 individuals and several John and Jane Does. Among those charged were Jose Maria Sison, founder of CPP-NPA; National Democratic Front (NDF) chairperson Luis Jalandoni; and partylist Representatives Beltran and Mariano (Anakpawis); Ocampo, Casiño and Virador (Bayan Muna); and Maza (Gabriela).

It also tagged as legal fronts of the CPP-NPA organizations such as Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), Gabriela, and PAMALAKAYA, among others.

Last Saturday, Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran, also a veteran labor leader, was arrested outside the gate of a subdivision in Bulacan, north of Manila, where he resides.

At 6pm tonight, KMU will launch a “Candle for Democracy” campaign. Simultaneous candle lighting will be conducted in front of factories, offices and residences to protest the blanket martial law that the Arroyo government is implementing under PD 1017. KMU is calling on the people to go out of their houses, offices, factories and communities at 6pm tonight and everyday and light a candle until PD 1017 is scrapped.

We are encouraging our international network to join us in this campaign.

In solidarity,
Kilusang Mayo Uno

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