MANILA –The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today slammed the Tan political dynasty for using Western Samar’s possible recall elections to push militarization and warlordism. “We condemn the maneuver from the Tan dynasty through the provincial office of the Commission on Elections in asking for the deployment of the military and police to oversee the signature verification for the recall elections. That move is claimed by the provincial Comelec to be necessary against the revolutionary movement’s taking advantage of the tense political situation. But in reality, the Tan dynasty and the military are the ones united in taking advantage of and attacking the people to their mutual benefit. They have been engaged in inflammatory moves beginning with the assassination of human rights defender Mayor Reynaldo Uy. The warlordism of the Tan dynasty dovetails with the 8th Infantry Division’s militarization of Samar under Oplan Bayanihan.”
Fr. Salas maintained that the Tan dynasty and the military have been openly arm-in-arm since the May 1 killing of Calbayog City Mayor Reynaldo Uy, a staunch critic of corruption and military abuses. “The Aquino government is selfishly not ensuring a transparent and impartial investigation of Mayor Uy’s unresolved killing because of the “marriage of convenience” between Oplan Bayanihan’s militarization and the warlordism of the Tan political camp. The Tans hold sway and monopolize political power in Western Samar with Rep. Mila Tan and her children, Gov. Sharee Ann Tan and her brother Vice Gov. Stephen James Tan.
Their close alliance with the military in fact should be probed in light of Mayor Reynaldo Uy’s assassination. He had been involved in unwavering human rights advocacy since the Marcos dictatorship, as highlighted by his key role in the investigation and removal of then 8th ID chief Gen. Jovito Palparan from the region for gross human rights abuses in 2005. Now that Mayor Uy has fallen victim in the continuing political killings under Oplan Bayanihan, the Tan political camp and the 8th ID are going cozy in public and dismissing any criticism of their warlordism and militarization as just politics.”
The NDF-EV spokesperson warned that letting the Tan dynasty and the 8th ID have their way could lead to more bloodshed like the Ampatuan massacre. “Let us remember that the reactionary government coddled political warlords like the Ampatuans against the people’s armed resistance movements. The political and economic interests of the Tan dynasty, as well as the Oplan Bayanihan of the Aquino government, will embolden the impunity for human rights abuses and corruption especially in light of the uncertainty of the peace talks.”
Fr. Salas called on the people to unite and fight for justice for Mayor Reynaldo Uy and resist warlordism and militarization. “The people will fight for justice for Mayor Reynaldo Uy and all victims of political killlings and other human rights violations. The people are outraged at the reactionary violence unleashed by the warlordism of the Tan dynasty and the militarization of the 8th ID’s Oplan Bayanihan. The people can advance their basic interests by asserting civilian supremacy over the military, documenting the 8th ID’s violations of human rights and international humanitarian law, and launching mass struggles for peace and justice against warlordism and militarization.”