20 March 2010
“Human rights violations and the smear campaign against progressive candidates and partylists will never stop unless those who violated the law get punished.” This is the stern warning of Atty. Joven Laura, 3rd nominee of Bayan Muna Partylist, to the new Army Chief Lt. Gen. Delfin Bangit with regards to the military’s obligation during the elections.
According to Laura, reminding the Armed Forces of the Philippines of their duty is not enough; “If Bangit is really serious in enforcing the military’s obligation in the elections, he should immediately order to investigate cases of violations by military elements,” he adds.
Meanwhile, Bayan Muna Partylist Rep. Teddy Casiño states that, “Partisan activity is not only campaigning for a candidate but also against a candidate.” Casiño cites the actual cases of harassment and intimidation by elements of the military on progressive candidates and partylists as a clear violation of the military’s obligation not to engage in partisan politics. Such cases involve the different forms of harassment and intimidation by elements of the military like what a certain Maj. Arnaldo Manjares did to inflict harm and intimidate volunteers of Makabayan in Sorsogon City, and units of soldiers in full battle gear doing house-to-house campaigns in different parts of Metro Manila, Southern Tagalog and Mindanao against Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza and progressive partylists such as Bayan Muna.
The latest incident of harassment occurred in the municipality of Lezo, Aklan, wherein two men riding a motorcycle threw two vintage apple-type hand grenades at the house of Councilor Fernando Baldomero. Baldomero is the the provincial chair for Bayan Muna Partylist in Aklan and also the provincial coordinator for the Makabayan Coalition. Of the two grenades that were thrown at the residence of Baldomero, only one exploded. Fortunately, no one was injured in the incident. Baldomero was the host of Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares’ sortie during his visit in Aklan.
“We condemn the continuous harassment and threats to the lives of the supporters and volunteers of progressive groups. Gen. Bangit should ensure the safety of Bayan Muna members and its congressmen, and ensure any soldiers involved in partisan political activities are punished,” Rep. Neri Colmenares said.
According to Casiño, Colmenares and Laura, Bayan Muna will not have second thoughts in filing cases against military and police elements who participate in electoral partisan activities and human rights violations.
Rep. Teddy Casiño