Targeted political killings, the slate of illegal arrests of leaders and members of progressive organizations, intensified military operations in communities, a justice system that favors the rich and powerful, the continuing oppression of peasants and workers and the domination of US interests in the country remain as palpable realities, thirty one years after Edsa 1. Has this country really achieved change when repressive state policies continue? Have we really seen change when farmers remain landless, rights continue to be violated, and the Filipino people’s interest remain subjugated to imperialist powers?" asked Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay on the 31st commemoration of the EDSA people power.
Political persecution through the filing of legal cases is nothing new, especially in a society where the scales of justice tilt against the poor who dare challenge existing norms and who struggle to change the system. Even before the jailing of one's political rivals became a practice among political factions, the most brutal forms of repression were unleashed among progressives and revolutionaries.
“They should not have been charged with fabricated cases, nor arrested and detained, in the first place,” thus said Karapatan Deputy Secretary General Jigs Clamor, during the hearing at the Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 32 on the trumped up charges against NDFP peace consultants Benito and Wilma Tiamzon, Adelberto Silva, Vicente Ladlad, Randall Echanis, and Rafael Baylosis.
Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom (UK) and activists from Hongkong, Canada and Germany expressed their support for the continuation of the Philippine government peacetalks with the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP), as well as their concern on the continuing violations on people’s rights in the Philippines, in the light of reported political killings of farmers and indigenous peoples.
“The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) has produced numerous butchers, who left pools of blood in their trails, to protect the interests of the elite and rich in the country through counter-insurgency programs. With Lt. General Eduardo Año, a monster with a chilling record of rights abuses, at the helm of the military, the implementation of Oplan Kapayapaan and the military’s all-out war declaration, fascist attacks against the people have intensified,’ said Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay during today’s protest action at the Gate 3 of the Ateneo de Manila University in Katipunan Avenue, Quezon City.