Monday, February 19, 2007

Legitimate expressions of political dissent to be branded terrorist acts under ATB

Monday, February 19, 2007

Legitimate expressions of political dissent to be branded terrorist acts under ATB

Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran today said that with the pending approval and passage of the anti-terrorism bill, the Macapagal-Arroyo administration's campaign of all-out political repression will be strengthened and given legal legitimacy. He said that even political protests and demonstrations will be branded as acts of terrorism.

"Given the increasingly dictatorial tendencies of the Arroyo presidency, democratic expressions of legitimate political dissent can and will be twisted as acts of terrorism. The Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces (AFP) will be even more emboldened to disregard civil and human rights of political activists and dissenters criticizing Macapagal-Arroyo and her corrupt rule. The anti-terrorism bill as law will serve as the Arroyo administration main weapon to silence her critics by criminalizing them and labeling them terrorists. Without doubt, this draconian measure will open the floodgates to more abuses. It will be abused to the hilt by the administration and its armed forces," he said.

"The anti-terrorism bill is one more reason to call for the resignation and impeachment of Macapagal-Arroyo. She is pushing for this bill's immediate passage to please the US government which has been pressuring the Philippines into contributing more to its international campaign against terrorism. She is trying to hit two birds with one stone: pleasing the US on the one hand; and crippling her critics," he said.

"It doesn't matter what name Arroyo's allies give the anti-terrorism bill(I¡½(Bthe essence remains the same: it poses a serious threat against the lives and personal rights and security of individual Filipinos, even those who are non-politicized," he said.

Solon calls for heightened vigilance against electoral fraud as Comelec prints 4 M extra ballots

"With all due respect to the Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Benjamin Abalos, we hope that the Comelec's extra four million ballots being printed in preparation for the May polls will not end up in the hands of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration's cheating, fraud and general dirty tricks department."

This was the comment of Anakpawis Rep. and political detainee Crispin Beltran today regarding regards that the poll commission was coming out with four million reserve ballots. He said that while he does question Abalos' explanation regarding the move, he (Beltran) nonetheless insists that the Comelec make sure that the said extra ballots do not end up in the custody of the Arroyo electoral team.

"We are very justified in calling for vigilance against electoral fraud. The current government is headed by a president who has a record of massive cheating and fraud, and even as she insists that her slate for the senatorial elections is the team to beat, public surveys state otherwise. It will simply be impossible for the Macapagal-Arroyo's slate to secure a victory without resorting to dirty tricks, including the reliable tricks of vote-padding, ballot-switching, and vote-rigging," he said.

"The administration is desperate to secure a majority in the Senate and take over the senate presidency. We cannot put anything pass the Arroyo camp and should be more vigilant than usual. "

Beltran said that he was also highly concerned about the possible plans of the Arroyo camp to rig the party-list elections in favor of the administration-backed party-lists. He said that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is certain to tap corrupt Comelec officials and personnel to rig the elections against the progressive party-lists Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women's Party, Kabataan Party-list and Suara Bangsa Moro and make sure that the party-lists allied with the administration get more votes.

"We have strong reasons to believe that the bloc of progressive party-lists is being targeted for fraud. It's no secret that Malacanang wants us completely removed from congress and stop our vocal advocacy against the anti-people, anti-poor legislation being peddled by the administration on the behest of its foreign and local business supporters and political allies," he said. #


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