“We call on the people to remain steadfast amid the escalating state repression in time for the Apec.”
MANILA — Progressive groups decried intensified harassment on their leaders – such as surveillance and filing of trumped-up charges – days before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Leader’s Summit.
Bagong Alyansang Makabayan chairperson, Dr. Carol Araullo, reported being tailed by suspected state agents.
An alert sent to Bulatlat said on Nov. 10, at around 8:30 a.m., Araullo went to the Oasis Center along Maginhawa Street in UP Teacher’s Village East, Quezon City. As her driver got off the car, he was approached by a man on a motorcycle with a backrider. The man asked Araullo’s driver, “Sino ang sakay mo, si Carol? (Who’s your passenger, is it Carol?)”
When the driver denied it, the man cursed, “Lintek!” and left.
At around 10:30 am to 10:40 a.m. of the same day, the same men were seen at a convenience store just near the clinic. Two other men on motorcycles were also seen in the vicinity of the convenience store.
Bayan, in a statement denounced the incident: “We suspect that those conducting the surveillance operations are state agents, as only they have the means and the motive to undertake such activities.”
Bayan is leading the series of protests against Apec. They had earlier denounced security preparations by the national government as “anti-poor” and “an overkill.”
A medical doctor, Araullo has been the chair of Bayan since 2004 and is also part of other broad formations such as the Pagbabago! People’s Movement for Change and the People’s Initiative Against Pork Barrel (PIAP).
Meanwhile, the Philippine National Police-Public Information Office (PNP-PIO) released a statement on Nov. 12 that it had charged eight activist leaders with criminal cases for the “severe injuries inflicted on two police officers of National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO),” during this year’s protest against President Aquino’s State of the Nation Address (Sona).
The two policemen provoked the ire of protesters, when they were caught infiltrating their ranks and taking pictures of leaders.
Charged were: Antonio Flores, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas secretary general, Mark Adrian, Hermie Marasigan, Perla Ipong, Bayan secretary general Renato Reyes, all of Bayan, Arjie Manalo, Gabriela secretary general, Vencer Crisostomo of Anakbayan, and Ferdinand Gaite of COURAGE.
The PNP release said preliminary investigation is underway at the Office of the City Prosecutor of Quezon City to determine probable cause against the leaders.
Bayan said the respondents have already filed their counter-affidavits in response to the charges, which they called “malicious and baseless.”
“That the PNP chose to highlight the case now, just days before the APEC, is a cheap attempt to intimidate Bayan leaders and members,” said the group.
“We call on the people to remain steadfast amid the escalating state repression in time for the Apec. We call on the people to resist the fascist and neoliberal impositions of the US-Aquino regime and to fight for genuine freedom and social liberation,” Bayan said.
Anakbayan chairperson, Vencer Crisostomo said, “The cases are baseless, they are fabricated and without basis.”
Crisostomo assailed “Aquino’s Imeldific, lavish, treasonous P10 billion APEC welcome.”
“Why are we welcoming these bullies – like the US and China who are killing our people and invading our nation – with red carpet? Big, powerful nations have been using the APEC to abuse and exploit the small nations like the Philippines,” he said.