Stop harassing activists, lawmaker urges Aquino

A PARTY-LIST member of the House of Representatives yesterday expressed alarm over what he called the “intensification of legal offensives” against activists, as he called on President Benigno “PNoy” Aquino III to drop fabricated charges against political prisoners.

Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano issued the statement after Negros fisherfolk leader Editho Namion, secretary general of Pamalakaya – Negros, was charged with arson and was implicated by theNegros Oriental Provincial Police Office in the reported attack of the New People’s Army (NPA) at the Victorias Milling Corp. early this month.

Last Oct. 6, Darwin Liwag, vice-chairperson of the Katipunan ng mga Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK), and two members of his staff, Rey Malaborbor and Aries Suazo, were arrested in a checkpoint at Barangay Lewin, Lumban, Laguna by elements of 1st Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army headed by Lt. Aaron Nasataya.

The “Lumban 3” are now detained at the 1st Infantry Battalion-Philippine Army in Talaongan, Cavinti, Laguna. They are facing charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives.

“The military and the police’s continuous filing of trumped-up criminal cases against leaders of people’s organizations under the Aquino administration is a cause of alarm,” Mariano said. “Instead of ordering the release of political prisoners, the activists are continuously being sent behind bars.”

Mariano said “this is mainly due to Aquino’s extension of Oplan Bantay Laya.”

Oplan Bantay Laya is the government’s counter-insurgency plan that includes extra-judicial killings and filing of trumped-up cases against activists.

It was recommended scrapped by United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston.

“We call on Mr. Aquino to immediately release all political prisoners and stop the filing of fabricated criminal charges against activists,” Mariano said. D’Jay Lazaro


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