Stop the AFP's red-baiting and intimidation against progressives
Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza
30 Sep 2011 10:07 GMT
Since 2001, the Philippine government and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have been trying, but have so far failed, to stop us and our parties from representing the marginalized and underrepresented sectors in Congress. Now that we are running for the Senate, they are becoming more desperate in trying to prevent us from serving our people and pursuing the politics of change.
In the last three months, we and the progressive parties under the Makabayan coalition – namely Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Kabataan, Act Teachers Party and Katribu - have been subjected to an intensive, concerted, nationwide red-baiting and smear campaign by the Arroyo regime, the AFP, their adjuncts as well as those who claim to be left-of-center but attack the Left at every opportunity.
The black propaganda take different forms – the defacement of our campaign materials, anonymous poison letters to our allies, written and verbal threats, AFP-produced radio programs, film showings, seminars and public meetings, even house-to-house campaigns by soldiers telling voters not to vote for us – but they all contain the same old story: that we are fronts of the Communist Party and New People’s Army, that we are guilty of multiple murders and other crimes attributed to the NPA, and thus we should not be supported in the coming elections.
Poison letters have been sent to hundreds of candidates in various parts of the country. The content is exactly the same whether in Luzon, the Visayas or Mindanao – proof that this is a systematic, nationwide campaign. The letters give first warning to our allied candidates to stop supporting progressive candidates and later followed by letters threatening death to the candidate or his/her family.
The rehashed drivel in this letter and other black propaganda materials has already been rejected three times by the electorate who have voted us into office since 2001. It has also been rejected by the Courts, including the Supreme Court when it dismissed the rebellion charge against the Batasan 6 and 45 other individuals in 2007. Mga luma at malisyosong akusasyon po ito na hindi kailanman napatunayan o pinaniwalaan ng taumbayan.
The question is, why are these wild, malicious accusations being repeatedly made today? At first glance, we might say this is merely meant to reduce our chances at the polls. But the more insidious motives of all this red-baiting and demonizing is to prevent the intelligent discussion of issues, to constrict whatever democratic space there is under our political system, and worse, to justify witch-hunting and physical attacks against activists and the people we work with.
In truth, we fear that this massive mind conditioning against the legal, democratic Left – led by no less than the butcher Gen. Jovito Palparan – is a prelude to another round of killings and abductions that can happen right before and after the May elections.
Once again, we are being demonized for defending a political platform that calls for genuine land reform and national industrialization, for upholding and promoting fundamental human and democratic rights, for institutionalizing people’s empowerment through vibrant grassroots organizing, for leading mass struggles against oppression and exploitation, and for using the ballot to elect patriotic and pro-people candidates.
We say never again to this time-worn, fascist tactic. We demand that the Arroyo government, especially the AFP, immediately stop its red-baiting and smear campaign against progressive and patriotic candidates in the coming elections. Furthermore, the government should hold its military and civilian officials accountable for illegal partisan political activities and other illegal acts related to its fascist campaign.
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