Friday, March 30, 2007

How the High Court will treat Rep. Ocampo's case litmus test for other cases of those similarly accused

Friday March 30, 2007

How the High Court will treat Rep. Ocampo's case litmus test for other cases of those similarly accused

Anakpawis and political detainee Crispin Beltran today said that that how the Supreme Court will decide on the case of Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo will be the litmus test on how the judicial system will also treat the cases of the other political activists and former political detainees similarly charged.

Among the two others accused in the same case filed against Ocampo are two Anakpawis leaders Rafael Baylosis and Randal Echanis. Baylosis is Anakpawis' national vice chairman and secretary for internal political affairs of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), while Echanis is an executive committee member of the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), one of Anakpawis' main affiliated organizations.

"How the Supreme Court will treat Rep. Ocampo's case will reveal the tack the judicial system will take when handling the cases of the others similarly accused. The arguments that Rep. Ocampo present are no different from those that will also be used in defending and proving the innocence of the others like Rafael Baylosis. Raffy was nowhere near Leyte when the alleged purges and executions happened as he was mainly based in the National Capital Region (NCR) at the time. Also, as Atty. Romeo Capulong points out, the mass graves dug up are fake, the same way that the skeletal remains are recycled and have never been authenticated through forensic processes," he said.

Beltran said that the public support being extended to Rep. Ocampo also extends to the others who are being accused of perpetrating the same alleged crime. "The public outcry against the harassment and persecution Rep. Ocampo is being subjected to is directed against the Macapagal-Arroyo administration and the president's senior henchmen led by National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and Justice secretary Raul Gonzalez. Political activists like Raffy Baylosis and progressive lawmakers such as Rep. Ocampo and myself are being persecuted as part of the Arroyo government's comprehensive plan to cripple and debilitate the activist mass movement denouncing worsening corruption and deteriorating human rights in the country," he said.

Beltran to begin fasting anew in solidarity with human rights activities in Southern Tagalog region

In the meantime, Beltran is all set to begin another round of fasting this coming Lenten Season. He went on a six-day fast last week in protest of the arrest of Ocampo and the slow developments in his own case. Beginning April 1, Beltran will once more limit his food intake and embark on another week-long fast. This time it's in solidarity with the political detainees in Southern Tagalog, collectively known as the Tagaytay 5 and the Mamburao 6. The Tagaytay 5 have been fasting for almost a month now.

Leaders of the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU)- Southern-Tagalog, Anakpawis Southern-Tagalog and the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas will also be participating in a sympathy fast for the political detainees. Southern Tagalog has a large concentration of workers and unions in export processing zones where labor exploitation is high and trade union repression is also rife.

"The government has embarked on this infamous campaign of political persecution because it has been unable to quell the protests against the worsening economic conditions faced by the Filipino people. Far from being able to address the issues of worsening poverty, hunger and homelessness, The Arroyo government has taken to harassing, arresting and even killing those who denounce this failure. The human rights situation in the Philippines continues to deteriorate because the economic welfare of the Filipino is also constantly worsening. This Lenten Season, the protests against the crimes of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration will persist. Political detainees are united in condemning the worsening political repression in the country," he said. #


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