Palparan in Congress: Spending People’s Money Against the People

Press Statement – May 8, 2009

Palparan in Congress: Spending People’s Money Against the People

The recent statement of Gen. Jovito Palparan to revive the Republic Act 1700 or the Anti-Subversion Law in order to stop progressive party-list representatives from using their Priority Development Assistance Funds (PDAF) for the New People’s Army is added proof that Gen. Palparan does not deserve to be a representative of the poor and the marginalized in Congress.

The Anti-Subversion law, which penalizes a person suspected of being a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines, was repealed after the overthrow of Ferdinand Marcos because it imprisons an individual who has not committed any criminal act (like murder, theft, rape etc). Marcos used this repressive law to arrest and detain tens of thousands of his critics. This violates the basic principle of criminal law that only those who committed an evil or a criminal act should be punished with imprisonment.

All countries around the world, except for dictatorial regimes, have repealed their anti-subversion laws, because it punishes one for the mere exercise of the constitutional rights to freedom of assembly and expression. With an anti subversion law, the government will not need any evidence of wrongdoing on the part of the accused. This is because proof of mere membership with an illegal organization already merits lengthy imprisonment – a surefire dictatorial tool that violates due process rights of one to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The revival of the anti-subversion law is a throwback to the dark years of martial rule. It will shatter whatever hope that is left for the peace process to continue as it will entail the illegalization and banning of the Communist Party. There can be no peace process if one party declares the other party illegal not on the basis of whether it committed criminal acts, but on the basis of its political or ideological beliefs.

Palparan’s attempt to revive the repressive law is not only an attack on constitutional rights but shows his penchant to “neutralize” people not on the basis of evidence but on the mere suspicion that they are members of the CPP. This mindset also shows his militaristic obsession with war and his animosity to any attempt to achieve just peace in the country.

Palparan has been exposed. His main interest in Congress is not to serve the marginalized and underrepresented but to attack progressive party list groups and the poor and marginalized constituencies they represent. People’s money should never be spent on one whose actions will only serve to oppress the people.

Progressive party-list representatives have been denied their PDAF allocations since 2005 after their endorsement of Mrs. Arroyo’s impeachment complaint. #

Reference: Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares, 0917-8350459

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