Saturday, March 17, 2007

Satur Ocampo's arrest does not serve the interest of justice but the interest of Gloria and the AFP

Saturday March 17, 2007

Satur Ocampo's arrest does not serve the interest of justice but the interest of Gloria and the AFP

Anakpawis Representative and political detainee Crispin Beltran decried the arrest of Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo and said that Ocampo must released immediately. He said that the charges against Ocampo, like the charges against him, were all fabricated – "products of malice and hateful intent."

"Failing to defeat the assertions and arguments of the progressive party-lists denouncing the undeniable culpability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in the extrajudicial killings, the Macapagal-Arroyo government has become even more vindictive. Ocampo's arrest and the continuing harassment of the progressive lawmakers and leaders of militant people's organizations are do not serve the interest of justice, only the vicious and vindictive whims of the Arroyo administration and the top brass of the AFP and the Philippine National Police," he said.

"The Filipino people know that the Arroyo government is only making martyrs of the leaders of the progressive party-lists. No one believes that Ocampo is a criminal, much less a killer. The malicious intent of the AFP and the PNP is to cripple Bayan Muna by arresting its president and number one representative in congress."

The activist lawmaker and detainee said that Ocampo may be younger than he is (Beltran is 74, Ocampo, 67), but the latter has suffered more under detention having been a political prisoner for 10 years and then another for four more.

"A freedom fighter like Satur does not deserve this. He has devoted his life to the cause of human rights and genuine freedom for the Filipino people. Shame on the Macapagal-Arroyo government for treating a genuine patriot and nationalist like Satur this way," he said.

He appealed to the leaders of the Catholic church and other major religious formations to speak out against Ocampo's arrest and denounce the constantly worsening attacks against the progressive party-lists.

"We are guilty of nothing but defending the rights of the poor and oppressed sectors of Philippine society. All the charges against us are manufactured and baseless. They are malicious responses to the sincere calls made by the progressive calls for genuine social, economic and political reform. The Arroyo government wants to silence us, but in this it will not succeed because the Filipino people's sympathy is with us, and so is the support of the international human and civil rights community. Arroyo is further isolating herself by attacking the progressive party-lists and violating the rights of their well-respected leaders like Satur Ocampo," he said.

In the meantime, Beltran said that there were still pending warrants against Rafael Baylosis and Randall Echanis, two leaders of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas respectively, and also of the Anakpawis Party-List.

"Baylosis and Echanis have also done nothing but serve the Filipino people as political activists who fearlessly exposed the corruption of governments from Marcos to the incumbent and illegitimate president. Now they also stand to be arrested and thrown in prison like what happened to them when they fought against the Marcos dictatorship. Pres. Arroyo has really taken a leaf from Marcos' book and following its contents to the letter," he concluded.#


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