“They know that Rep. Zarate and the Makabayan bloc’s sterling record in and outside Congress is a stark contrast to the criminally negligent and incompetent handling of the Duterte administration of the different problems of the country from the Covid 19 pandemic, to typhoons, unemployment, landlessness and others.”
By EMILY VITAL
MANILA — The Makabayan bloc criticized President Rodrigo Duterte’s “dangerous and baseless accusations” against House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate.
Duterte linked Zarate with the armed revolutionary movement, claiming that “the act of one is the act of all…the act of a soldier NPA [New People’s Army] is the act of Zarate, the congressman.”
In reaction to Duterte’s statement, the coalition of progressive partylist groups said, “It’s a flawed and dangerous legal theory that President Duterte is foisting on the public to justify intensified attacks on his critics. It erases any distinction between the legal and illegal, the unarmed activists and armed rebels, in utter disregard for due process and fundamental freedoms. It paves the way for more acts of state repression and violence on our ranks.”
Makabayan is composed of Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers Partylist, Kabataan Partylist, Gabriela Women’s Party and Anakpawis Partylist.
Guilt by association
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) pointed out that Duterte’s recent statement “is a very radical and dangerous interpretation of a slew of laws, legal principles and jurisprudence.”
NUPL President Edre Olalia said, “Guilt by association does not replace presumption of innocence. Criminal liability is personal. Conspiracy is not a crime unless a specific law designated and penalizes it so. There must be mutual agreement in conspiracy. Conspiracy cannot be presumed. Conspiracy must be proven as the crime itself. Overt acts need to be performed in felonies of commission. “
“All alleged acts in pursuit of one’s political beliefs are absorbed in the political crime of rebellion and cannot be subdivided into several common crimes. Civilians must be distinguished from combatants and must not be the object of attack. The President’s statement, a lawyer and former prosecutor, unsettles all these and is again a rather unorthodox legal fiction that is used to politically justify red-tagging against principled and upright human beings like our NUPL adviser Carlos Zarate who has opted to take up the arms of the law rather than the law of arms,” Olalia explained.
Why the attacks
Makabayan bloc said “the Duterte administration is really trying to eliminate the bloc and then concentrate on the broader political opposition so that they can reign beyond 2022.”
“They know that Rep. Zarate and the Makabayan bloc’s sterling record in and outside Congress is a stark contrast to the criminally negligent and incompetent handling of the Duterte administration of the different problems of the country from the Covid 19 pandemic, to typhoons, unemployment, landlessness and others,” the coalition said.
Makabayan also claimed that the P19.1 bullion budget for the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict “can be used for the next elections to fool, coerce or bribe people not to vote for the bloc or the opposition.”