Sunday, March 20, 2005

NR0320:GMA doing a Pontius Pilate

Mula sa Tanggapan ni Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release March 20, 2005
House of Representatives, South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff
Cellphone number 09213907362

Pres. Arroyo doing a Pontius Pilate and washing hands of her responsibility as AFP commander in chief for activist killings

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that if there's anyone who should go on an extensive retreat and flagellate themselves for their sins, it should be the killers of the 15 civilians and political activists killed in the last three months, "And these killers are in the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and their death squads," he said. "Maybe while the AFP and the members of the Philippine National Police are making the rounds of Churches checking for bombs, they might also try to seek absolution for the capital offenses their respective leaders and fellow police and soldiers perpetuate against the Filipino people," he said.

Beltran said that the alarming increase in the numbers of state-masterminded disappearances, assassinations, massacres, the brutal suppression of mass actions as in Hacienda Luisita and other acts of terror the Arroyo government is an unmistakable sign that the administration is desperate to stem the rising tide of mass discontent and organized protests against the worsening living conditions and economic situation in the country. "Using the excuse that it is waging a war against terror, the administration is actually attacking the democratic and legal mass movement in the country,: he concluded.

The activist lawmaker said that as commander in chief of the AFP, Pres. Arroyo should take responsibility,This murderous regime must be held responsible for the killing of Councilor Abelardo Ladera on March 3, the disappearance of Danilo Macapagal, Bayan Muna Coordinator, also on March 3, the threat of assassination of Atty. Romeo T. Capulong, Senior Legal Consultant of the NDFP, on March 7, the killing of Romeo Sanchez, Bayan Muna Coordinator, on March 9, the murder of Fr. William Tadena, a firm supporter of the Hacienda Luisita striking workers, on March 13, the summary execution of Atty. Felidito Dacut, Bayan Muna Coordinator and Member of the Board of Directors of the Integrated Bar of the Philippines on March 16 and the killing of Victor Concepcion, 68, Secretary General of the peasant association in Pampanga province on March 17 as well as the other political killings in the recent months.

Beltran said that it was the height of hypocrisy on the part of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration and its armed forces that they were supposedly beefing up security this Lenten season as a precaution against the attacks of the Abu Sayyaf, "But on the other hand the administration is doing nothing to stop the killing spree of the AFP against civilians, activists and journalists," he said. "Nothing is being done to stop these killings and to bring the perpetrators to justice. Neither President Arroyo nor her usually voluble spokesperson Ignacio Bunye has said or done anything regarding this matter. Are we take this as a sign of their approval for the cold-blood murder of civilians and activists in the country?

The veteran labor leader said that the plain and simple truth was that the AFP's victims were ordinary Filipinos who were active in speaking out against the national government's transgressions against the people. "They were killed because of their political convictions and their stand against the government's economic policies and programs that destroy livelihoods and attack the country's sovereignty.

"The AFP is an even bigger scourge than the Abu Sayyaf -- they're both mercenary forces wreaking havoc on the life on the civilian populace; but the AFP is worse because it continues to kill and no one is able to stop them. The masterminds behind the recent killings are imbedded in the AFP top brass and they also have immediate access to Malacanang. Otherwise, they would not be so bold as to order this systematic and calculated series of murders, many other them committed in broad daylight and in the presence of witnesses."

The veteran labor leader said that this Lenten season, ordinary Filipinos should not be castigating themselves -- "The Filipino people should be the ones demanding that the Macapagal-Arroyo government repent for its countless sins. This unrepentant government continues to turn a deaf ear to the calls of consumers against oil price hikes and escalating prices of commodities and rates of electricity and water services. More than being Pontius Pilate, Pres. Macapagal is the captain of the centurions who stabs the side of Filipinos until they gush blood," he said. #


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