Solon decries political persecution vs Anakpawis leader

ANAKPAWIS Rep. Rafael Mariano condemned the Aquino government’s political persecution against Anakpawis Partylist officer and nominee Roy Velez who was charged with fabricated criminal cases of murder, frustrated murder and theft for the alleged ambush of government troops in Labo, Camarines Sur last April 2012. “Political persecution and violation of due process prevails under the Aquino administration.”

“It is unjust and unfair for the government to subject Velez to legal and political persecution. He is a long-time leader of Anakpawis Partylist, a human rights defender and an advocate of people’s rights,” said Mariano who raised Velez’s plight in a brief dialogue with Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Leila de Lima this morning.

Velez has been a national officer of Anakpawis Partylist from 2004 up to present. He is also the chairperson Kilusang Mayo Uno- National Capital Region chapter. In 2004, he was elected as vice chairperson of Anakpawis in NCR. In April this year, Velez was elected as
Anakpawis Vice President for Luzon and was also chosen as the partylist’s 6th nominee.

“Velez is at the forefront of the people’s opposition against large-scale land reclamation projects being one of the leaders of Save Freedom Island Movement (SFIM) and Sagip Manila Bay Movement (SMBM). He is an active advocate of workers’ rights and campaigner against demolition of urban poor,” Mariano said.

“We in Anakpawis disprove the false accusations against Velez. The multiple murder cases filed against him and 31 other activists before the Regional Trial Court (RTC), 5th Judicial Division, Branch 64 in Labo, Camarines Norte constitutes trumped up multiple murder charges which are bereft of truth and were merely conceived to silence Velez for his active role in criticizing and exposing the negative impact of state-sponsored policies to the people,” the solon said.

Velez has been the perennial subject of extreme human rights violations by government security forces. In May 2007, he survived an attempted abduction by the military in his residence in Las Pinas City.

“His active involvement in the opposition movement against big-ticket projects of the government under the Public Private Partnership (PPP) program of the Aquino presidency had caught the ire of the government, the private investors and the military. It is one way of silencing him and a tool for sowing terror against his colleagues and his family supportive of his advocacy for livelihood and social justice,” Mariano said.

Among the PPP projects which Velez has opposed include the privatization of Silverio Compound in Paranaque City, the North Bay Boulevard Business Park in Navotas City, the MRT 7 project, the Quezon City Central Business District, the privatization of North Harbor in Port Area, Manila and 50 other PPP projects in NCR.

Last November 21, Velez testified before a committee hearing in Congress on reclamation projects in Manila Bay.

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