Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Red scare tactics and witch-hunting" against progressive candidates denounced by Maza

"Red scare tactics and witch-hunting" against progressive candidates
denounced by Maza*

MAKABAYAN Coalition and Nacionalista Party senatorial candidate Liza Maza condemned what she called a "systematic red scare and witch-hunting campaign" against progressive candidates as the run-up towards the May 2010 elections heats up.

"They try to rehash the old McCarthyist witch-hunting during the Cold War of the 50's-60's in the US, as well as the failed martial law tactics of the 70's-80's, to implicate progressive groups and candidates with the CPP, the NPA and the NDF. This is a desperate move and does not respond to present realities,” Maza said in a press conference on Saturday.

“They tried to use red-scare when we first ran in 2001, but Bayan Muna got more than a million votes. They did it again in the 2004 elections, and three progressive party-lists branded as "red" won with close to two million votes. Again, they repeated the same tactics in the 2007 elections, and close to three million voters elected four progressive party-lists with eight representatives in Congress," Maza pointed out.

Maza said that she, fellow candidate Satur Ocampo and party-lists Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Kabataan, ACT and Katribu have been experiencing massive vilification and hate campaign all over the country, in which documented cases point to state and non-state actors – military and para-military forces, government and "civil society" groups – as perpetrators.

"Such is a desperate move of Arroyo and those who want to replace her with a yellow crowd. As history has taught us, only the big landlords and compradors can benefit from a hyped anti-communist hysteria. The people need genuine change and the only way for that to happen is to end Arroyo and foil state terrorism," Maza said.

Maza cited instances of vilification and hate campaign such as her and Ocampo’s campaign posters being vandalized with anti-communists slogans. This happened in different cities in the National Capital Region as well as in different provinces in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.

In Davao City, members of the 69th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army actively campaign in schools and universities against progressive candidates, telling students not to vote for them in the coming elections. In South Cotabato, the 27th IBPA has been airing smear campaign against the progressive groups over radio, and has been conducting meetings in barrios showing documentary films portraying progressive party-lists, Maza and Ocampo as members and supporters of CPP and NPA since January.

The fisherfolk group Pamalakaya reported that the military in Sorsogon are conducting house-to-house campaign in the province calling on all voters not to vote for militant party-lists and candidates. On February 26, volunteers of Makabayan Coalition who are supposed to deliver campaign materials to Masbate from Sorsogon were harassed by four soldiers armed with high powered rifles.

Individuals and groups supporting Maza and Ocampo’s senatorial bids were also assaulted, intimidated, harassed, slapped with trumped up charges, abducted and illegally detained. Re-electionist town councilor Fernando Baldomero, who is a Bayan Muna provincial coordinator in Aklan and is campaigning for senatorial candidates Liza Maza and Satur Ocampo, survived a grenade lobbed at his house by two motorcycle-riding men in Aklan.

Local bets supporting the Makabayan senatorial bets has also been receiving "poison letters and death threats."

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