Progressive Solons Defy Arrest

Posted 6:50 p.m. Feb. 27, 2006

Four progressive party-list representatives – Satur Ocampo and Teddy Casiño of Bayan Muna (People First), Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis (Toiling Masses), and Liza Maza of Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) who eluded arrest after a press conference of the House Minority bloc February 25 at the Sulo Hotel showed up at the session of the House of Representatives today.

The four party list representatives, together with their colleagues who are now under custody, Rep. Crispin Beltran arrested February 25 and Rep. Joel Virador arrested this morning in Davao City, reportedly had pending arrest warrants issued against them after President Arroyo declared Proclamation 1017.

Shielded by around 300 members of various cause-oriented groups under the umbrella of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan or New Patriotic Alliance) and guarded by a number of fellow representatives – including House Majority Leader Prospero Nograles – the four progressive solons were defiant as they entered the House of Representatives, fists up in the air.

“It is wrong to be afraid at this time,” Maza said. “What we need right now is courage.”

Casiño and Ocampo, meanwhile, shrugged off rumors that he and his fellow progressive solons had gone into hiding after the wave of arrests of prominent anti-administration personalities started. “We did not go into hiding,” Casiño said. “We have no reason to hide.”

Mariano said they had a constitutional duty to their constituents and this was the reason they showed up for the House session.
Escorted by fellow congressmen, the four progressive solons made it to the session hall before police reached the House of Representatives. The police tried to arrest some of the activists who had trooped there – among them Bayan Muna secretary-general Obet de Castro – but they fought back and no one was arrested. (

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