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[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

Never again to martial law! Resist GMA’s emergency powers with people power! Oust Gloria now!

BAYAN-USA Urgent Actions in the U.S. today!

NEW YORK (ny@bayanusa.org)
Join Filipino New Yorkers in condemning the fascist Arroyo regime!
5 pm – Friday February 24, 2006
Philippine Consulate in NY

LOS ANGELES (socal@bayanusa.org)
Condemn State of Emergency and Oust GMA
12 pm Philippine Consulate in Los Angeles

SAN FRANCISCO (norcal@bayanusa.org)
Oust GMA Rally and march to Philippine Consulate
4 pm Assemble Powell and Market in downtown San Francisco
March up Powell to Consulate on Sutter

BAYAN (Bagong Alyansang Makabayan) USA Chapter declares overall failure and disgrace of the Arroyo government as the Real State of National Emergency that cannot stop third People Power ouster!

From across the ocean and within the borders of the U.S., BAYAN-USA proudly stands with thousands of Filipinos in the streets of Ayala and EDSA yesterday on the 20th Anniversary of the first People Power ouster of Dictator Ferdinand Marcos. We condemn in fullest terms Gloria Arroyo’s Proclamation 1017 of a National State of Emergency that is short of declaring martial law and the first step towards authorizing warrantless arrests, media takeover, dispersal of people’s assemblies and systematic suppression of the Filipino people’s right to participate in collective actions that go against Arroyo’s wish to stay in power.

The Filipino people know that the real State of National Emergency started when GMA took office from the ousted Joseph Estrada in 2001. This latest crisis development reveals more than she can hide about her crisis-ridden and crumbling administration. GMA’s desperate measures come after a preventable mudslide which killed more than 1500 in Leyte last week. She is responsible for Human Rights Violations worse than the declared years of Martial Law under Marcos. She has orchestrated a full- blown economic crisis burying the country in billions of dollars of foreign debt. Worst of all, she continues to cling to power, holding on to a presidency discredited with election fraud while escaping democratic impeachment.

Since she assumed the presidency, BAYAN-USA has participated in international actions called by the growing People Power 3 movement in the Philippines. Yesterday’s People Power anniversary and OUST actions are the result of escalating outrage from under poverty level wages, joblessness, homelessness, high gas prices, the burden of value added taxes on basic commodities and the failure to bring justice for the gang rape of a Filipina woman by U.S Marines. There is nothing spontaneous or surprising from the people’s louder voices of dissent which represent a courageous anti-fascist stand. We recognize the most powerful way to honor the People Power Anniversary is to continue the struggle against fascism in the brutal form of the Bush loyal GMA regime.

There will be no denying People Power 3! Calibrated Preemptive Response (CPR), state sponsored terrorism and political killings in the Philippines, undeclared martial law and even arms and training by U.S. troops in the Philippines will never quell the people’s resistance and will for national liberation and democracy and a just and lasting peace. We call on the U.S. and governments around the world to withdraw support to the Arroyo government which proved to be best in stealing, lying and cheating rather than governing the nation towards genuine progress and democracy.

OUST THE BRUTAL, FASCIST ARROYO REGIME!
ARROYO IS THE REAL STATE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY IN THE PHILIPPINES!
ESTABLISH THE TRANSITIONAL COUNCIL NOW!
NO U.S. TAX DOLLARS TO FUND UNDECLARED MARTIAL LAW AND POLITICAL REPRESSION!
PEOPLE POWER 3 LIVES!

Police brutality strikes Filipino youth in Jersey City; groups tag cops racist, anti-immigrant

Jersey City, NJ– Filipino groups are outraged over what many are calling “a blatant act of police brutality, racial discrimination, and anti-immigrant sentiment” on the part of two Jersey City police officers who arrested and detained a young Filipino who was about to file a complaint against an erring cab driver.

Alan James Alda, 25, a Jersey City warehouse worker originally from Manila, was startled when police suddenly “arrested and threw him into a detention cell” at approximately 3 am on Saturday after he asked for the names of the two police officers who rudely dismissed his complaint against cab driver for overcharging fare.

The two police officers were later identified as Sgt. Dennis Halleran and Officer A. Nunez of the Jersey City Police Department.

Alda and two of his young Filipino friends had gone to the Jersey City Police Department Precinct near Manila Avenue to report on a cab driver for overcharging fare and demanding upfront payment.

“We went up to the two police officers in order to file a complaint against the cab driver but instead we were rudely told to start walking home,” stated Arcy Yuson, Alda’s companion at the time.

After dismissing their complaint, Alda asked the police officers for their names. It was then that the tide shifted. “Alan was physically grabbed by the cops and arrested”, Yuson explained. “We were shocked.”

The two police officers threatened Alda’s companions with arrest but eventually left them standing outside the police precinct as they took Alda in.

“We didn’t know what was going on. We stood there waiting for Alan to come back out. After a while 2 unidentified officers came out without Alan, but this time holding batons. It was an intimidation meant for us,” Yuson recalled.

Once in custody of the Jersey City police, sources claim that the Nunez and Halleran continued to intimidate Alda, with another unidentified officer even going as far as asking if he was a “terrorist” after they found foreign currency in his pocket.

During this time, Alda remained uninformed by the authorities of the charges against him, even as he sat in jail. He would later be released later that morning. When asked by an attending officer what he had learned from the whole experience, he was told to shut up immediately by surrounding officials upon his attempt to answer.

When asked by Alda if this would affect his right to find work, the officers shouted, “Hell, yeah!”.

It was shortly after that Alda became aware of his charges upon receipt of a slip of paper that stated police complaints of so-called “disorderly conduct” and “resisting arrest”.

“Alan never resisted arrest or created a physically threatening situation for the cops. Why would he? We went to the police precinct to file a complaint. We went there looking for help!” Yuson stated.

“The police seemed to be more interested in insulting these three Filipino immigrants rather than helping them. Alan and his companions were simply asserting their right to police protection, a move which landed Alan a night in a jail cell,” stated Nicholas Cordero, an organizer for Anakbayan, a Filipino youth group based in Jersey City, of which Alda is also a member.

“The police were out of line. Alan’s only crime was that he was Filipino, brown-skinned, and obviously foreign-born. Like many other immigrants of color, this is the treatment we receive from the public servants whose paychecks are supplied by our tax dollars to protect and serve. But more often than not, it is the police that end up threatening our rights and welfare.” Cordero said.

“The police must be held accountable for this. Their conduct was absolutely unacceptable and must not be tolerated.” stated Cristina Godinez, New York attorney and Immigrant Rights Coordinator of the Philippine Forum, an immigrant rights advocacy organization in Queens. “I am concerned about the reckless disregard for an immigrant’s civil rights and the rash suspicion that he is a terrorist.”

Cordero asserted that “criminal brutality and racial profiling” by the Jersey City police officers against Alda that night is not an isolated case. “It’s a common reality for young Filipinos in Jersey City. Immigrants are particularly vulnerable, especially in light of the immigrant-scapegoating climate post 9/11. What’s important is that we unite as a community to speak out against these injustices when they happen. We will not stay silent as long as this type of repression exists.”

Anakbayan, along with allied local organizations Philippine Forum and the NY Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines are convenors of the Justice for Immigrants Coalition, which is embarking on a campaign to 1) have the charges against Alda dropped 2) file counter-charges against the police for criminal misconduct and 3) educate and facilitate community action with more Filipino youth and immigrants on police brutality, racial profiling, and anti-immigrant conduct.

“Filipinos are largely a low-income minority group, and over 60% of all the Filipinos in the US are foreign-born. Alan’s abuse by the police is every young Filipino’s concern. It could have happened to any one of us.” Cordero continued.

When asked about coming forward about his story, Alda mentioned “hindi para lang sa akin eto, para sa mga ibang kabataang migrante din. [this is not just for me, but for all migrant youth].”

An emergency Anakbayan meeting where Alda will be available to discuss the details of his arrest to the public and to the media is scheduled on Saturday, February 25, 1pm-3pm at 605 Pavonia Avenue, #42 (near Summit Avenue) in Jersey City. THIS IS AN OPEN MEETING AND ALL ARE WELCOME TO ATTEND, ESPECIALLY FILIPINO YOUTH AND IMMIGRANTS.

For more information on the Justice For Immigrants campaign for Alan James Alda, email Anakbayan at anakbayan_ny@yahoo.com or call 646-479-1605.