Sunday, May 9, 2010



May 9, 2010


The Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (MAKABAYAN) Northern Mindanao today strongly condemns a police officer and two police companions for manhandling and harassing Bayan Muna city coordinator Benjamin Sambaan Jr. and Anakpawis volunteers Nestor Pepito and Ian Itum last Friday, May 8.

Makabayan Northern Mindanao is now readying the affidavits of the three victims of police brutality for filing of appropriate cases to the Commission on Elections and the courts.

Kristin Lim, Makabayan secretary general said Sambaan, Pepito and Itum were part of the group who witnessed the distribution of precinct count optical scan (PCOS) machines at the Gusa Elementary School and some members of the PPCRV and the police on Friday night.

She said the incident is the latest and most glaring harassment committed against progressive partylists’ officials and volunteers while exercising their right as legitimate observers in the conduct of the elections particularly in monitoring the delivery of PCOS machines which have already been delayed because of the glitches of the compact flash (CF) cards.

“We denounce with the strongest term possible this latest attack against our supporters and volunteers as another form of outright harassment and discrimination against us,” Ms. Lim said.

Sambaan, Pepito and Itum were only standing at the gate while witnessing the delivery of the 12 PCOS machines at the Gusa Elementary School at around 7:20 p.m. While the machines were being disembarked from an express delivery van, Police Inspector Rojo approached the three men and with a raised voice told them to get out of the school premises. “Gawas mo, hawa mo diha kay nakalangan mo sa among delivery!”, Rojo was quoted as saying.

When the three tried to explain their presence, Rojo reportedly told the two other policemen, “Ikarga nana sa patrol. Ayaw na sila ipagawas, pangpusasi na sila.” He then reached out for a handcuffed tucked on his belt.

The two policemen, who refused to give their names when asked by the victims, then started to pull the T-shirt of Pepito and Itum and started shoving and pushing them towards the patrol car.

An argument ensued as Sambaan, Pepito and Itum refused to be taken against their will as they also kept on asking the police what they have done that they insisted to shove them inside the police patrol car.

Ms. Lim said Rojo abused his authority with utter disregard of the rights of the volunteers. “He should immediately and outrightly be reprimanded for his conduct unbecoming of a police officer whose simple duty is to ensure the safe delivery of the PCOS,” she said.

“He was even arrogant and lied to the face of those who witnessed his tirade by denying he was committing harassment against the three volunteers. It was only later when he was shown the appointment papers of these persons from the Comelec that he changed his demeanor,” she said quoting the affidavits of Sambaan, Pepito and Itum.

As early as last year, Makabayan officers, staff and volunteers experienced grave harassments including tailings, surveillance activities by non-uniformed military men and state intelligence agents. By the start of the national campaign period, the surveillance activities increased that included holdings of forums and pulong-pulongs in schools and barangays urging the participants not to vote Makabayan senatorial candidate Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza and partylist groups Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Party, Anakpawis, Kabataan, ACT TEACHERS and Katribu.

Two months before the May 10 elections, the smear campaign against the progressive block became more blatant and destructive like distributing poison letters, leaflets, selective tearing up of posters and streamers, spray painting, and character assassination in television, print and radio interviews.

Earlier, Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casiño in a visit to Cagayan de Oro warned this black propaganda, dubbed Oplan Zero, might be a precedent to the renewed extra-judicial killings against progressive partylist groups and individuals. He likewise warned that this red-scare tactics will increase as the election draws to a close.

Ms. Lim said they will not take this sitting down and vowed that cases will be filed against any officials of the police, military, or any individuals who were found to commit blatant disregard to the human rights of its supporters, volunteers and officers.

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