Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Hontiveros-LP red-baiting condones extra-judicial killings, torture and harassment of activists

Hontiveros-LP red-baiting condones extra-judicial killings,
torture and harassment of activists*

By Vencer Crisostomo
Secretary-General, KABATAAN Partylist

This is in reaction to a statement by Akbayan Rep. Risa Hontiveros released last April19, 2010, titled, “Transactional politics, links with nondemocratic Left hurting Villar.”

It is now becoming more and more evident that the Liberal Party is threatened by the Left’s raising of legitimate issues such as genuine land reform, economic reforms and human rights, thus exposing its standard-bearer Sen. Noynoy Aquino’s lack of stance on them, and is now resorting to desperate, baseless and malicious red-tagging.

Linking Makabayan senatorial bets Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza to the CPP-NPA is an old and stale story that has long been discredited and pronounced baseless by no less than the Supreme Court. It is utterly false and misleading to claim that “the links between the left-wing candidates in the NP (Nacionalista Party) slate and the Communist Party is something that nobody really questions.” Up to this date, Ocampo and Maza have not been convicted of any crime of rebellion, or any trumped up criminal charges that have been filed against them by the Arroyo administration for that matter.

Hontiveros’ rabid ranting places her in the same ranks as Retired Gen. Jovito “The Butcher” Palparan and other human rights violators in the military. It is precisely because of careless statements like hers that the military is emboldened and given license to abduct, harass, torture and kill activists and innocent civilians.

It is because of these malicious red-tagging and witch hunts that former University of the Philippines student activists Sherlyn Cadapan and Karen Empeno remain missing to this day. It was the same twisted reasoning that had League of Filipino Students leaders Cris Hugo, 19 years old, and Rie Mon Guran, 21 years old killed in cold-blooded murder by suspected military elements. It is how the military now justifies the illegal arrest, torture and detention of student leaders-turned-community health workers Jacqueline Gonzales, Jane Balleta, Janice Javier and Malen Serato who are among the Morong 43.

We will not be surprised if Hontiveros and anti-Left LP stalwarts, in connivance with the present administration, are even now responsible for the distribution of “poison letters” and death threats to known local candidate supporters of Ocampo and Maza and progressive partylist groups, and the proliferation of posters and paraphernalia linking Makabayan and progressive partylists to the CPP-NPA.

Hontiveros further states that she is “surprised at how easily they have sold out,” referring to Ocampo and Maza. The bitter irony of her statement is not lost on the public, especially on farmers and farm-workers of Hacienda Luisita.

Hontiveros is claiming that she is for peasants’ rights and welfare but she was in fact primarily responsible for ‘selling out’ farmers when she authored and voted for the bogus CARP extension (CARPER) in Congress. House records will show that aside from Hontiveros, majority of landlords in the Lower House voted in the affirmative for CARPER because it would maintain the status quo and prevent them from distributing their lands to farmers.

Hontiveros further consummated her very own “unholy alliance” when she pledged allegiance to the anti-peasant Cojuangco-Aquino landlords. Hontiveros and LP are both parties in the cover-up of the non-distribution of land and massacre of farmers of Hacienda Luisita, a major issue in these elections that continues to haunt the Aquinos.

Hontiveros and LP’s red-baiting and anti-human rights stance explain why Makabayan is aligned with NP. Hontiveros and LP are trying in vain to down-play and malign the NP-Makabayan alliance that is based on land reform and respect for human rights, principles that their party deliberately overlook for political convenience.

Ocampo and Maza’s many years of genuine service to the people, their spotless track records and their pro-people platforms put Hontiveros and LP’s under-handed tactics to shame.