The Communist Party of the Philippines denounces the resurrection of trumped-up cases against former congressional representatives of the Makabayan bloc. This is a pointed attack against the broad democratic forces resisting Duterte’s tyrannical rule and moves to establish a dictatorship. It is a portent of a more general crackdown following successive arrests and detention against activists and human rights workers across the country.
Last Thursday, arrest warrants were issued in Nueva Ecija against former Makabayan representatives Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casiño, former Agrarian Reform Secretary Rafael Mariano and National Anti-Poverty Commission Secretary Liza Maza over murder charges filed over a decade ago by the Arroyo regime. The legal attack against them was mounted a few days after Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s power grab in the Lower House early last week.
With Arroyo as Duterte’s ally, fascist abuses and attacks against the democratic forces are set to worsen. As then president, Arroyo formed the IALAG (Inter Agency Legal Advisory Group) in 2006 which used public funds to churn out trumped up criminal charges against progressive forces in a desperate effort to tie down their resources and suppress their resistance against Arroyo’s corruption, election cheating and fascist crimes. The work of the IALAG was revived last year by Duterte under the IACLA (Inter Agency Committee on Legal Action).
Human rights groups have documented a total of 1,206 victims of political killings, 206 victims of enforced disappearances, over 2,000 cases of illegal arrests, and thousands of forced evacuation under Arroyo’s nine year rule. In just over two years, Duterte’s human rights record has surpassed Arroyo’s in terms of extrajudicial killings in the drug war. With Arroyo by his side, the attacks against the progressive and democratic forces are set to further intensify.
All progressive and revolutionary forces should brace for the expected escalation of attacks. The Filipino people must unite and intensify their fight to end the increasingly oppressive regime.