Wednesday, April 06, 2005

NR0406: Beltran calls for audit of AFP intel, prop funds

From the Office of Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
Philippine House of Representatives
News Release April 6, 2005
South Wing Rm 602
931-6615 Ina Alleco R. Silverio, Chief of Staff

Solon calls for audit of AFP, NSA funds, demands report on their expenses for vilification campaign against media groups and progressive party-lists

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that the worsening paranoia of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration is behind its full support for the Armed Forces of the Philippines' (AFP) liquidation and vilification campaign against progressive people's organizations, including party-lists, media groups, and even church-based groups.

Beltran said that he will immediately call for an audit of the information, propaganda and intelligence accounts of the AFP and perhaps even the National Security Agency (NSA) in the recent months up to the last year.

"It's becoming apparent that the national government and its security and defense agencies are utilizing millions in public funds for a vilification campaign against legitimate critics," he said.

Beltran said that there was no doubt in his mind that the national government and its henchmen in the AFP and paramilitary groups were behind the killings of activists and civilians, including journalists and sympathetic lawyers and church people.

"Why then hasn't the authorities caught any of the perpetrators of the activist killings? Since January alone, 32 members and sympathizers of the progressive party-lists and peasant groups have been killed, and four journalists slain. None of the killers have been killed because they're being protected by the AFP," he said.

"It's not surprising that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration sees almost everyone around it as enemies. All the influential sectors in Philippine society are already highly critical of the President and her economic programs as well as her political rulings. The widespread corruption within it and its rising militarist tendencies is isolating the administration," he said.

"These moves to vilify church and media groups, and to attack progressive party-lists and even kill activists and civilians sympathetic to activist causes all expose how desperate the Macapagal-Arroyo administration is. The AFP is its main instrument in stifling political dissent."

The veteran labor leader that civil libertarians and human rights advocates should not be afraid to stand up against these attacks on political freedoms and democratic rights.

"The press should be allowed to perform its duty to be the watchdog of the government; and freedom of the press defended, journalists protected. A fighting and watchful press is a necessary institution in the struggle for good governance and against corruption. The fact that the government is attacking members of the media and their organizations among them the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) means that the Philippine press is doing its duty well," he said.#


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