Group condemns vilification of progressive party-lists

BAYAN MUNA Rep. Neri Colmenares denounced today the renewed vilification efforts against progressive party-list groups like Bayan Muna.

“We were able to get copies of materials that a group campaigning against us and other party list groups distributed to the public and other progressive party-list groups by calling on people not to support us because we are criminals. We have been subjected to this kind of demonization and a lot of our members have fallen victims of extrajudicial killings during the last administration in the midst of this vilification campaign. We are sure this is committed by the military because they do not tolerate dissent and also because we have exposed their abuses and the corruption in their budget, contracts and projects,” Colmenares said.

“This effort to campaign against us is a violation of election law because public officials cannot engage in partisan political activity, and has only strengthened our resolve to prosecute the perpetrators and also further expose their abuses and corrupt activities.”

He recalled that in the report of United Nations Special Rapporteur Philip Alston in 2006, the spate of extrajudicial killings during the administration of Gloria Arroyo was preceded by a series of vilification moves against legitimate organizations and their members. Alston also made a clear link of the military to the killings of activists. A change of administration did not however stop the vilification, and the killings continue.

“We have reasons to believe that this is a military-backed attempt to once again sow fear not only among our members but especially among the people. In fact, due to the intense campaign against vilification and extra judicial killings the AFP, thru Gen. Dellosa was forced to issue a letter directive in June 2009 to prohibiting AFP personnel from vilifying progressive peoples organizations, an admission that indeed these campaigns are launched by the military themselves” he added.

Rep. Colmenares further challenged the President to revoke Oplan Bayanihan, which many believe is the conductor of the extra judicial killings and vilification campaigns against the people, and order the military and its agents to stop terrorizing the people and their legitimate organizations.

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