Tagaytay 5: Adjusting to ‘Unimaginable’ Life

“For the case to prosper, there has to be proof of armed conspiracy to overthrow the government,” lawyer Jose Manuel Diokno said when interviewed by reporters. “So far the only evidence which was attached to the information is the affidavit of the police, ‘yung mga nag-aresto. Wala naman silang personal knowledge ng any armed conspiracy (The arresting officers have no personal knowledge of any armed conspiracy).”

Meanwhile, PNP chief Dir. Gen. Arturo Lomibao claimed the accused had links with the so-called Magdalo rebel soldiers, particularly 1st Lt. Lawrence San Juan.

In fighting spirit

Despite their fate, the Tagaytay 5 are in high morale as they remain in fighting spirit.

In a letter addressed to friends and colleagues, they condemned the intensifying political repression and curtailment of civil liberties under the Arroyo regime as epitomized by their continued incarceration.

The group also blamed P/Col. Rodel Sermonia, chief of the PNP Provincial Intelligence and Investigation Branch, for being at the helm of violent dispersals of shanties occupied by tenant farmers in Cabangaan village, for covering up policemen involved in the shooting of labor leader Gerry Cristobal, and for setting off a “witch hunt” against progressive activists in the province.

In Congress, Representatives Remulla and Erin Tañada of Quezon, together with party-list lawmakers Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casiño and Joel Virador of Bayan Muna (People First), Rafael Mariano and Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis (Toiling Masses), and Liza Maza of the Gabriela Women’s Party (GWP) filed House Resolution No. 1244 on May 16 urging President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to order their immediate release.

When farmers who were waiting outside the courtroom went to see them, one of them quoted Pinpin as saying: “Huwag kayong umiyak. Ngayon dapat na mamulat ang mas maraming mamamayan, magsasaka man o propesyunal, na paglingkuran ang interes ng nakararami (Don’t cry. Now is the time to arouse more people, farmer or professional, to serve the interest of the majority).” (Bulatlat.com)

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