At the same forum, lawyer Ameh Sato of the Public Interest Law Center (PILC) noted a trend in the way the harassments are carried out. “Apparently, where before the target of trumped-up charges were the Metro Manila-based party-list representatives and prominent national leaders of the progressive mass movement, now the new evil scheme is to put also in jail en masse its regional and provincial leaders and members, with sustained extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances in the countryside through militarization and state terrorism.”
Sato added that “with the elections fast approaching and her administration still haunted with untold controversies, it is easy to understand the agenda behind the filing of trumped-up charges against Arroyo’s critics and perceived enemies: her obsession to perpetuate herself in power beyond 2010.”
“But in the case of those belonging to the progressive legal opposition, the filing of false charges against them is clearly rooted in Oplan Bantay Laya and the US war on terror,” she said.
Oplan Bantay Laya is the government’s counter-insurgency program that has been blamed for the worsening human-rights abuses in the Philippines. (Bulatlat.com)