Warrant of Arrest for 4 Makabayan reps signals unabated, intensifying repression

“This is a trademark of repression,” said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the release of a warrant of arrest for former Bayan Muna representatives Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño, former Gabriela partylist representative and National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Liza Maza, and former Anakpawis representative and former DAR Secretary Rafael Mariano.

stop the attacks 

(Photo: Lawyers, allies, members of the Makabayan bloc, and members of progressive organizations held a press conference on the political persecution of Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza, Teddy Casino, and Rafael Mariano on July 27, 2018.)

After ten years, on July 11, 2018, in a one-paragraph order finding probable cause,  a regional trial court in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija issued a warrant of arrest for murder against a current and a former cabinet secretary and two others, all former Makabayan bloc representatives. Legal counsels of  Liza Maza, Rafael "Ka Paeng" Mariano, Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casino will seek dismissal of the case and holding in abeyance of the warrant of arrest through a motion for reconsideration.

“The circumstances of the case, which was resurrected after a decade, reveal an orchestrated effort by militarists in the government to persecute those who dare to criticize the government. The policies of the Duterte regime has cultivated an atmosphere suitable for repression; for militarists, parasites and power-hungry vultures to thrive and strike at oppositors,” Palabay commented.

Palabay links the intensifying persecution and the use of law for the lawless to the Inter-Agency Committee on Legal Action (IACLA), an agency created in October 2017. It is tasked to file cases in court against activists and known progressive personalities. Said agency is jointly operated by the PNP and AFP. “This is the successor to Arroyo's Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG), which orchestrated the arrest and jailing of thousands of activists based on trumped-up charges; this is a remnant, a legacy of Arroyo's. Now, with Arroyo back in power and in close proximity with the President and the presidency, many more of her fascist maneuvers are expected to be rehashed by the Duterte regime,” she added.

IALAG was deemed to be responsible for the fabricated charges against the Batasan 6, a group of progressive parliamentarians which includes the four former Makabayan representatives currently being charged for murder.  IALAG was abolished in 2009, upon a strong recommendation from UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Philip Alston. However, the filing of trumped-up charges continued. 

Palabay warned that this will be the basis for further widespread  witch-hunt, adding that the Duterte regime has already arrested 1,695 in its two years in power . 

“We call for the abolition of the IACLA and an end to the persecution of activists and criminalization of political dissent. The continued use of trumped-up charges to silence and impede the work of activists merely attest to the repressive and tyrannical character of the Duterte government. If this is indicative of an alliance between Duterte and resurrected, rehabilitated corrupt allies in the personalities of Arroyo and Marcos, then the political situation can only go downhill. And people's resistance will surely spread. "  Palabay concluded.

Reference: Cristina Palabay, Secretary General, 0917-3162831

Karapatan Public Information Desk, 0918-9790580