Kalipunan ng mga Kilusang Masa (KALIPUNAN) —a coalition of labor, urban poor, peasant, women, human rights and environmental defenders’ organizations—condemns the issuance of arrest warrants for murder charges against former lawmakers Satur Ocampo, Teddy Casino, Liza Maza (current secretary of the National Anti-Poverty Commission), and Rafael Mariano (former agrarian reform secretary of President Duterte).
The murder charges were filed 12 years ago in 2006 against the four Bayan Muna party list representatives on the basis of their alleged leadership roles in the New People’s Army in the 1960s. Recently, a regional trial court in Nueva Ecija has suddenly found probable cause for releasing the arrest warrants. Clearly, this old, baseless charge, and now the arrest warrants are forms of harassment. On the heels of the ascent to House Speakership of Pampanga Representative and former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, the public can’t help but ask and think about the powerful interests at work in the Duterte government. President Rodrigo Duterte himself, despite his popular rhetorics, has time and again exposed that he represents oligarchic interests.
If this kind of repressive action is not stopped immediately, it can lead to the creation of new trumped up charges, or old cases can be resurrected, against activists and critics of the Duterte government, including its powerful allies and supporters such as the Marcoses and Macapagal-Arroyo. Kalipunan, thus, calls on other peoples’ organizations to join ranks in resisting such acts before the government further bares its authoritarian and fascist agenda.