“While these systematic attacks are still part of the Duterte administration’s warped and militarist campaign against progressive organizations, clearly, it is also aimed at serving a chilling message to the political opposition.”
By EMILY VITAL
House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said that the raids, arrests and killings of activists and critics are aimed at crippling the opposition machinery in the upcoming elections.
In a statement, Zarate noted that the recent attacks in different parts of the country have been targeting legal activists who are part of the Makabayan campaign machinery.
Yesterday, two progressive leaders and one human rights worker were arrested in two separate incidents in Central Luzon. On the same day, the police also raided a labor office in Santa Rosa, Laguna. On March 29, a labor leader was shot dead in Calamba, Laguna.
“While these systematic attacks are still part of the Duterte administration’s warped and militarist campaign against progressive organizations, clearly, it is also aimed at serving a chilling message to the political opposition,” Zarate added.
Zarate called on the political opposition to “close rank now and not take these attacks sitting down.”
Zarate, also a lawyer, called out what he called as “sinister modus of the police and other state forces of illegally arresting activists and critics of the Duterte administration by using archived warrants and inserting or claiming that the names of targeted persons as the John and Jane Does.”
He cited the letter of then Calbayog police intelligence chief Lt. Fernando Calabria Jr. asking the local clerk of court of for a list of lawyers defending red tagged personalities, and the media reports about the police in northern Philippines asking local judges for arrest warrants in archived cases as part of their counterinsurgency and anticrime campaign.
“This is similar to the request for a list of lawyers representing alleged communist rebels in Samar. Seemingly, this is a nationwide PNP modus and now one of the vicious and dastardly weapons of the PNP and other state forces…” Zarate said.