Thieves in the Night
thieves prowl the night. In the dead of night, the Macapagal-Arroyo
administration tried to transfer Rep. Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna (People
First) party to
It was also late evening when the government transferred Lance Cpl. Daniel
Smith to the custody of the U.S. embassy. In Ocampo’s case they did so to
suppress dissent. In Smith’s case it did so out of servility and to court
the favour of the U.S. government. But in both cases the government tried
to evade public scrutiny.
to be that only thieves prowl the night. They do their workings when
their intended victims are asleep, the police are few, and the probability
of sightings and people lending a hand to the victims are low. Thieves
thrive on furtiveness and treachery to steal money and property.
until Martial Law…
only thieves prowled the night. The dreaded MISG (Metrocom Intelligence
Security Group) and the CSG (Constabulary Security Group) operated during
the night. Late evening and early dawn raids were commonplace to catch
their targets asleep and off-guard. A lot of critics of the Marcos
dictatorship, especially from the Left, were caught this way. The late
evening raids also made political detainees then vulnerable to torture as
their capture was done at night when the people are asleep and the
probability of someone witnessing the abduction is low. The Marcos
dictatorship thrived on fear and darkness to deprive people of their
Supposedly, there is no Martial Law. But the Macapagal-Arroyo
administration is thriving in furtiveness, treachery, fear, and darkness.
morning of March 19, 3 a.m. to be exact, Rep. Satur Ocampo of Bayan Muna
(People First) party was abruptly roused from his sleep to be taken to
Hilongos, Leyte. He was bodily carried to a van by 5:00 a.m, taken to the
airport, and flown by private plane to Leyte only to be taken back because
of a court order remanding him to the custody of Local Government Undersec.
Marius Corpus until after the Supreme Court hears his petitions for
Temporary Restraining Order and certiorari. They tried to pre-empt the
Supreme Court. Only the quick move of Ocampo’s lawyers who sent Neri
Colmenares, general counsel and third nominee of Bayan Muna, to Leyte
early morning of March 19 to file a petition to allow Ocampo to be
detained in Manila until the Supreme Court hearing on March 23 frustrated
the plan of the government. Why did they have to do this in the dead of
the night when Ocampo is already in their custody? Is it to pre-empt any
court decision and protest action questioning the planned move? This was
not the first time that the Macapagal-Arroyo administration acted in the
dead of the night.
December 29, 2006 at 11 p.m., Lance Cpl. Daniel Smith who was convicted of
raping Nicole was transferred from the Makati City Jail to the U.S.
embassy in the dead of the night. That was after Judge Benjamin Pozon of
the Makati Regional Court rejected the petition of Smith’s counsels, the
embassy, and the Macapagal-Arroyo administration for his transfer to the
embassy. Smith was ordered to be detained in the city jail until after
the government and U.S. embassy agree which Philippine jail facility he
should be imprisoned.
unjust acts of the Arroyo government are not merely concerns of Ocampo and
Nicole. These concern all of us. If they can run roughshod on the rights
of Rep. Satur Ocampo, a public figure and member of Congress, they can do
more to people who are not as prominent. If the government has the
temerity to defy a court order and spring a convicted rapist in a case
which caught the public’s interest, it can easily deny justice to an
ordinary Juan or Juana de la Cruz.
Ocampo’s case, the Macapagal-Arroyo administration showed how easy it is
for them to deny us of our rights and liberty. In Nicole’s case the
government demonstrated that it has no qualms about denying us of our
dignity and justice.
government arrested Ocampo and tried to deprive him of his rights, it did
not do so in defense of democracy nor merely to implement the law, it did
it to suppress dissent and to impose its will. When the government
spirited away Smith and turned him over to the U.S. embassy, it did not do
so in compliance to a lawful international agreement, it did it out of
servility and to court the continued political and financial support of
the U.S. government to its rule.
will continue stealing for as long as it has not been caught and put
behind bars. The Marcos dictatorship could have continued with its
iron-fist rule if it was not ousted. The Macapagal-Arroyo administration
would continue denying us of our rights, liberty, dignity, and justice if
we allow it to do so.
spate of political killings and forced disappearances which has victimized
836 and 194 persons, respectively, has not stopped not only because the
Macapagal-Arroyo administration and the Armed Forces of the Philippines
continue to be in a state of denial. It continues because we have not yet
shown what the Filipino people will and can do if it does not stop.
Filipino people has ousted two presidents, in 1986 and 1998, and was able
to stop two attempts at amending the 1987 Constitution for self-serving
ends, the first in 1997 and again in 2006. It can put a stop to the unjust
and anti-people acts of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. Bulatlat
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© 2007 Bulatlat
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