Thursday, July 21, 2005

NR0721:PNP criminalizing anti-SONA protests

New Release
From the Office of Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
July 21, 2005

PNP criminalizing anti-SONA protests by alleging NPAs to join rallies

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that if any bloodshed occurs during the anti-SONA rallies on July 25, the responsibility for rest solely on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and even the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). He said that it was the armed forces of the Macapagal-Arroyo government that that were painting a physically violent picture of the upcoming demonstrations, disseminating false and malicious information that there will be members of the New People’s Army (NPA) infiltrating the rallies.

“The PNP is doing this not only to discourage Filipinos from joining the political rallies geared against Pres. Arroyo’s lies and promises encapsulated in the SONA, but also to justify the use of excessive and even violent force against the demonstrators,” he said. “The PNP uses this tactic again and again to demonize and even criminalize the protests by alleging that NPAs are among the rallyists. The PNP leadership thinks that this will give the police the legal and moral justification to attacks the protests,” he said.

He said that over 50,000 demonstrators from the ranks of militant groups alone were expected.

Beltran said that Filipinos were actually eager to hear Macapagal-Arroyo’s SONA, “Not so much because they believe Pres.Arroyo will be saying anything new, but because they want to see and Pres. Arroyo dig a deeper hole for herself with new lies and more empty promises. What can she report to the nation and what achievements can she boast of? In her first year of illegitimate office, she and her family figured in the most shocking corruption and fraud scandals. Oil prices went sky-high, dragging costs of basic commodities and fares along with them. Employment has taken a plunge, and millions more Filipinos joined the ranks of the urban and rural poor.”

Lawmakers should join anti-SONA protests

In the meantime, Beltran enjoined fellow lawmakers to support the anti-SONA rallies and march with the various people’s organizations and anti-corruption watchdogs on the morning and early afternoon of July 25. He said that true SONA will be delivered in the streets and reported by members of the nation’s laboring sectors.

The veteran labor leader turned lawmaker said that the anti-SONA rallies will be one of the biggest demonstrations directed against Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, and will also serve as an expression of support to efforts within the House of Representatives to impeach the president.

He said that even as the street protests against Pres. Arroyo continue, the support for calls for the executive’s impeachment were also significant. “The pro-administration and die-hard Arroyo allies in the House will have to think twice about throwing a monkey wrench in the way of the impeachment complaint or have it dismissed,” he said. “Pres. Arroyo herself as a delaying tactic and in the effort to pacify the public has declared that she is willing to undergo investigations even the impeachment trial. Her already diminished credibility will again take a serious beating if her allies in Congress do not immediately transmit the complaint to the Senate.”#


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