The Context of Political Repression and the Legal Justice System

Norberto Gonzales admitted to the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) delegation which conducted a fact-finding mission here to look into the cases against the “Batasan Six” that it took IALAG 9 months to build the rebellion case.

For his part, the clumsy loud-mouthed Sec. Raul Gonzalez capsulized and gave away their legal tactic and political agenda when he said in a statement published in the newspaper, “We will just declare probable cause, then it’s up to the court to decide.” Gonzalez not only gave marching orders to his prosecutors but was also calling up the judges (4 judges heard the cases, with 2 inhibiting themselves), in an attempt to secure warrants of arrest without bail against all the 51 accused. This fact was later exposed by Judge Laredo and admitted by Sec. Gonzalez himself.

The Supreme Court decision ordering the dismissal of these rebellion cases resoundingly proved the falsity of the charges, the sheer lack of evidence to establish even probable cause against the accused and the prostitution of the office of the prosecutorial arm of the government (the DOJ) for political ends. If we may quote here the Final Word of the Supreme Court decision:

The obvious involvement of political considerations in the actuations of respondent Secretary of Justice and respondent prosecutors brings to mind an observation we made in another equally politically charged case. We reiterate what we stated the, if only to emphasize the importance of maintaining the integrity of criminal prosecutions in general and preliminary investigations in particular, thus:

[W]e cannot overemphasize too strongly that prosecutors should not allow, and should avoid, giving the impression that their noble office is being used or prostituted, wittingly or unwittingly, for political ends, or other purposes alien to, or subversive of, the basic and fundamental objective of observing the interest of justice evenhandedly, without fear or favor to any and all litigants alike, whether rich or poor, weak or strong, powerless or mighty. Only by the strict adherence to the established procedure may be public’s perception of the impartiality of the prosecutor be enhanced.

Castigating the DOJ Secretary and his prosecutors, the Supreme Court decision created a set-back to the Arroyo government’s crackdown on its perceived enemies and its anti-insurgency campaign, as admitted by Solicitor-General Agnes Devanadera and then Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Sergio Apostol.

Despite this Supreme Court decision and the Alston Report, Mrs. Arroyo’s hatchet men continue to fabricate false charges against her critics. 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 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 OBL and the US war on terror. These criminal charges filed against them which are non-bailable include: murder (one initially filed in Hilongos, Leyte and now pending in Manila against Rep. Ocampo, Vicente Ladlad, Randall Echanis & Rafael Baylosis; 2 murder charges in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija against Reps. Ocampo, Casiño, Maza & Mariano; another in Pasig (which has been transferred to Taytay, Rizal) against Southern Tagalog leaders and members of progressive mass/sectoral organizations, including labor lawyer Remigio Saladero, Jr.; kidnapping with murder (against Reps. Ocampo, Casiño, Maza & Mariano, which has been dismissed); multiple murder & multiple frustrated murder (in Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro against 72 regional/provincial leaders and members of progressive mass/sectoral organizations in Southern Tagalog, also including Atty. Saladero, in which recently the Amended Information was quashed); arson in Batangas (against Southern Tagalog mass leaders and members and Atty. Saladero, which has also been dismissed).

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.

Aside from non-bailable capital offenses charged against leaders and members of progressive organizations, petitions for writs of amparo ironically were and have been filed against them at the instigation of the military and the police. But they have been dismissed for being sham and totally without basis.

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  1. The Macapagal-Arroyo government in general and the National Security adviser in the unholy person of Norberto Gonzales are bent on eradicating all opposition groups without bothering to look at the reason why opposition forces oppose the administration. What this tact of the administration suggest is a desperate move to dominate the political field in an authoritarian way.

    These "offensives" against progressive and opposition groups clearly follows this marching order: If you can't jail them, kill them.

    Unfortunately, the Macapagal-Arroyo government is already reaping the opposite result of their offensive. More and more people now wants to commit rebellion.

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