Manila – “Fighting to defend people’s basic rights is not a crime nor an act of terror; the whole country and the world knows that the real harbinger of terrorism is the Duterte government!” exclaimed by Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel “Ka Ayik” Casilao, who led more than three hundred of its group’s members at a protest at Welcome Rotonda in Quezon City against the issuance of the “terror” list by the Department of Justice (DOJ) in relation to its petition to proscribe the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as terrorist groups before a Manila court. The list involved 656 personalities including activists.
“The fake ‘war’ on drugs, the war against the Moro people and the war against activists in the countryside are the real acts of state terrorism committed by the Duterte regime. Tens of thousands were killed, and hundreds of thousands were subjected to aerial bombings, forced evacuations and abuses,” the lawmaker said during the protest.
He added that the regime is laying the ground for an authoritarian rule, such as the approval of the national identification system, subpoena powers to the police, penalizing spontaneous protests, and ultimately the total scrapping of democratic pillars in the constitution via charter change.
“He who is sowing terror against the people across the country has no credibility to tag activists as terrorists,” he added.
The list even included two dead persons, two desaparecidos or victims of enforced disappearances, and sixteen detained political prisoners, twenty tribal leaders from the Davao region, 50 activists from various mass organizations. Seventy-nine women who are human rights defenders and advocates of people’s concerns are also implicated on the list, including United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples Vicky Tauli-Corpus.
Casilao noted that political persecution of activists appears to be a prerequisite for an authoritarian rule, coinciding the undermining of the independence of the judiciary through the moves to oust of Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.
The group also slammed Duterte’s announcement of withdrawal from the Rome Statute or the International Criminal Court (ICC) who is holding preliminary examination of the “mass murder” complaint involving the government’s sham “war” on drugs.
“It is de facto admission of guilt, an attempt to escape accountability,” the lawmaker said.
Casilao urged the public for “direct action” to oppose the step-by-step approach to dictatorship and defiance against political repression by the Duterte regime.
Afterwards, the group merged with activists led by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) protesting in front of the DOJ office in Padre Faura, Manila. ###
Photos of Anakpawis Protest vs. Duterte’s Fake “Terror List,” Cha-cha, TRAIN Law, March 16, 2018, Welcome Rotonda, Quezon City
Photos of Anakpawis Protest vs. Duterte’s Fake “Terror List,” March 16, 2018, in front of DOJ office, P. Faura, Manila