Proclamation 1017 again?

April 18, 2006 at 11:27 am Leave a comment

The government announced today that a new coup plot, this time to coincide with the Labor Day protest activities, is being hatched against the government. This is not only a clear warning against militant groups that are expected to stage their traditional nationwide protest rallies; it is also a clear attempt to bolster Malacanang’s claim that there indeed exists a Left-Right conspiracy to topple the embattled Macapagal-Arroyo administration. The announcement also sends an undeniable signal that the government will not hesitate to declare a state of national emergency again to quash dissent in the streets.

If the government feels bold enough to do so, a renewed and unhampered crackdown by the government against the media and opposition forces would be disastrous to our civil liberties. The February 24, 2006 declaration gave the police and military a sense of impunity, which resulted in illegal arrests, arbitrary detention, illegal and violent dispersal of peaceful assemblies, and a host of other human rights violations. A repeat of the February 24 declaration would only embolden the belief among law enforcers that they can do away with due process and respect for basic human rights and fundamental freedoms.

A new crackdown against anti-GMA forces provides a new opportunity for the PNP to arrest opposition legislators. Solons who will join the annual Labor Day protest activities don’t have immunity from arrest because Congress is in recess until May 15, 2006. We in AKBAYAN expect another ‘invitation’ from the PNP.

This warning, however, won’t force us to put our flags down. On Labor Day, we will celebrate the civil liberties that the government appears bent on quashing. We remain steadfast in our belief that the allegations of electoral fraud during the 2004 polls needs to be resolved promptly and peacefully. That the sitting President has evaded the search for truth by quelling dissent and by mangling our laws means that her removal from office – be it through her resignation, impeachment, or another peaceful People Power – is the first step to resolve the political crisis.

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Entry filed under: Philippines in Crisis.

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