Willy Marbella, KMP deputy secretary-general, said the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) masterminded the ‘legal offensives’ against the activists.
The IALAG is composed of Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita, AFP and PNP Chiefs.
Marbella said the filing of charges against activists is part of the counter-insurgency program Oplan Bantay Laya II (Operation Freedom Watch) of the Arroyo regime.
Meanwhile, in a statement, Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya national chair, said they were baffled why the Globe Telecommunications Inc. filed criminal charges against the activists in Southern Tagalog.
Hicap said, “They [accused] are plain and simple activists working for the cause of farmers and oppressed folks in the region…it is to ridiculous on the part of Globe to file this rebellion complaint.”
He asked, “Are they in cahoots with the military in pursuing an all-out campaign of terror and political repression against legitimate people’s organizations?”
Cambronero said the charges are meant to derail the people’s movement in the region.
Marbella said, “This is an all-out attack to the democratic rights of the peasants and people to organize.”
Ricafort of Bayan-Batangas said the people of Batangas oppose the conversion of Taal Lake, and the entry of mining corporations in the towns of Lobo, Taysan, Rosario, San Juan and Batangas City involving 24, 000 hectares of land.
HABAGAT’s Alicaya said their group has successfully derailed the demolition of a fisherfolk community in the first district of Batangas. He said they also exposed the extortion activities of the Philippine Coastguard.
The fisherfolk leader also said they continue to resist the mining operations of Asturias Chemical in Calatagan, Batangas.
Alvarez, a peasant leader in Cavite, said they resist land-use conversion and road-widening projects of the government. “Hindi kami NPA. Ang lehitimong gawain namin ay ipagtanggol ang karapatan ng mamamayan,” (We are not NPA members. Our legitimate work is to defend the rights of the people.) said Alvarez.
Mingo, leader of transport group STARTER and PISTON said all they did was oppose the ‘relentless oil price increases’ and demand the scrapping of Oil Deregulation Law and the value-added tax (VAT) on oil. In June this year, the group led a region-wide transport strike and protests against the oil price hikes.
Cambronero maintained, “Ito ay isang pakana upang sirain ang aming kredibilidad.” (This is an attempt to ruin our credibility.)
Mingo said, “Hindi kami natatakot. Mamamayan ang nakakaalam ng aming ipinaglalaban.” (We are not afraid. The people know what we are fighting for.) (Bulatlat.com)