Thursday, March 08, 2007

Ka Bel speaks out against threatened arrest of fellow progressive lawmaker Satur Ocampo

Thursday March 8, 2007

Ka Bel speaks out against threatened arrest of fellow progressive lawmaker Satur Ocampo

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran today slammed the threatened arrest of Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo, saying that the Macapagal-Arroyo government had initiated a full-scale, below-the-belt attack against progressive party-lists. He aid that these relentless attacks against the progressive party-lists reflect negatively on Team Unity, and strengthen the assertion that the Arroyo government has become dictatorship and the military and police are already calling the shots.

"All this should boomerang on Macapagal-Arroyo and her Team Unity slate. Even the members of Team Unity should not condone these threatened arrest against Rep. Ocampo and speak out in his defense. Ka Satur has been an exemplary member of the House of Representatives and a genuine spokesperson of the Filipino people. This attack against him is another blow against the struggle for civil, human and political rights in the Philippines. Human rights advocate and senator Joker Arroyo should not stand idly by and keep silent on this issue; neither should other lawmakers and officials who have fought against the Marcos dictatorship," he said.

"Unlike in the more than 830 cases of extra-judicial killings, Pres. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo cannot deny her culpability in this. She cannot dismiss this issue as being 'non-economic' and not issue a statement against the harassment being perpetrated against Ka Satur. This is an outrage, and what makes it even more so is the obvious false and fake nature of the charges against Ka Satur. These are all fabricated charges meant to justify his arrest and cripple Bayan Muna and its sister party-lists," he said.

The activist lawmaker said that the Philippine National Police (PNP) should 'shut up' and 'shred the arrest warrant against Rep. Ocampo."

Chief Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao Jr., PNP spokesman said that Ocampo to voluntarily submit himself under the jurisdiction of the law after an arrest warrant was issued by a Regional Trial Court (RTC) in Hilongos, Leyte.

"Why should Ka Satur and the others accused of similar charges surrender themselves? They are not criminals, they are not guilty of anything but being actively vocal against the abuses of the corrupt Arroyo government!"

"Pres. Arroyo by sanctioning and allowing this harassment against Ka Satur only proves how justified the international community is in sounding the alarm against the worsening civil and human rights situation is in the Philippines. The Arroyo government cannot even craft coherent, reasonable and defensible accusations against its opponents because it really has nothing to justify having them arrested," he pointed out.

Beltran said that his own incarceration which has stretched to more than a year was already glaring proof that the government was deliberately trying to crush the progressive party-lists. "We have done nothing but be activist legislators standing up and defending the interest of the marginalized sectors we represent. These accusations and nuisance cases against us are also false and completely lacking in credibility."


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