Privilege Speech of Gabriela Women’s Party Rep. Liza Largoza Maza on the November 13 Congress Blast
November 14, 2007
Mr. Speaker, I rise on an matter of personal and collective privilege.
Ito po ay tungkol sa naganap na bomb explosion dito mismo sa loob ng House of Representatives at kumitil sa buhay ni Rep.Wahab Akbar, sa driver ng kapwa ko kinatawan sa Gabriela, Rep. Luz Ilagan at sa staff ni Rep. Henry Teves at nag-iwan ng maraming sugatan kasama dito sa Rep. Luz Ilagan, Rep. Henry Teves at ang aking driver.
Malakas na kinokondena ng Gabriela Women’s Party ang naganap na pagsabog na ito kung saan apat sa kasamahan namin sa Gabriela Women’s Party ang nabiktima.
Mr. Speaker, the Gabriela Women’s Party strongly condemns this heinous act! This is a vicious attack, a direct assault on the House of Representatives and its elected members! That the bombing occurred at the House of Representatives indicates that it is meant not just to harm or kill but to deliver a strong political message.
Gabriela Women’s Party is cautioning the Philippine National Police and the investigating team for making any premature and hasty conclusion that the bombing is a simple case of personal politics against Rep. Akbar. If this was so, why would the perpetrator do it inside the House of Representatives in a manner that injured or caused the death of other persons. But this happened right inside the premises of this House, after the session, when congressmen and women were preparing to leave the South Wing Lobby, making each and every one of us here at risk and vulnerable. It could have been anyone of us here who would have suffered the same fate if we were in the vicinity.
We have every reason to believe that the bombing could have also targeted us. Rep. Luz Ilagan was injured, her driver, Mr. Marcial Taldo, died on the spot according to reports, her junior writer was hurt, my own driver was hurt. The Gabriela Women’s Party, together with Bayan Muna and Anakpawis representatives has just filed a new and genuine impeachment complaint which includes the ZTE controversy, the bribery attendant to the ZTE deal, the payment in Malacanang, extra judicial killings and human rights violations and election fraud.
We opposed and continue to oppose all measures that we believe are detrimental to our people.
It will be recalled, Mr. Speaker, members of this chamber, that the Glorietta bombing came at the height of the ZTE scandal. The bombing at the House of Representatives came at a time when the impeachment complaint against President Arroyo is being deliberated upon by the Committee on Justice. In fact it came in the eve of the hearing of the Committee on Justice on the determination of sufficiency of substance of the Pulido impeachment complaint against President Arroyo. The Glorietta bombing shocked the public that it diverted their attention from the ZTE controversy to the many casualties and to the various investigations being conducted on the Glorietta incident. This morning, the Committee on Justice callously ruled that the impeachment complaint of Atty. Pulido was insufficient in substance even as the public consciousness is reeling from last night’s bombing of the House of Representatives. We cannot help but conclude that this is another diversionary tactic.
The bombing at the House of Representatives also happened at a time when the Arroyo administration is pushing for amendments of the Human Security Act to give more teeth to it.
Mr. Speaker, the message here is also clear, whoever, did this wants to intimidate us so that we will be forced to amend the Human Security Act and make it more terroristic. If this is their way to show that indeed we should amend this because even the House is already being targeted, all the more that we should be vigilant to stand against their evil designs.
Mr. Speaker, my dear colleagues, Gabriela Women’s Party holds the Arroyo government responsible for all the bombings that happened in the country — at the House of Representatives, in Glorietta , in Cavite, in Basilan. Mrs. Arroyo continues to coddle a national security adviser who does not provide security to the state but insecurity to the people. Under his reign a number of bombings have already occurred, extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances are increasing. Under National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales and President Arroyo and their cohorts in the military, the people and the country will never taste genuine peace and security. In fact we see a trend in these series of bombings. They want to condition the mind of the people, that the bombings could warrant the declaration of an emergency rule or martial law or more repressive measures.
Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, let us not allow that the investigation of the bombing in the House of Representatives, would become another Glorietta where up to now there is no clear findings as to the cause of the blast. Let us pursue an independent and thorough investigation. The Gabriela Women’s Party would like that this investigation disprove that Rep. Luz Ilagan or any member of Gabriela Women’s Party, is not the target of this attack, that this bombing incident is not connected to any political scandals that the Arroyo government is apparently involved in. The Gabriela Women’s Party shall actively participate in this independent investigation. Let us bring the perpetrators to justice.
As we call for an independent investigation, we issue this warning to those who seek to curtail the people’s rights, intimidate and incite fear among us, you will never succeed. You will never succeed in silencing the voice of the people. They will continue to raise the issues of the people. Amid the impending increase in the prices of oil, the new impeachment complaint against the Arroyo regime, the fight for a genuine agrarian reform program, the fight against extra judicial killings, no violence will ever make them cower in fear.
At this point, Mr. Speaker, ladies and gentlemen, the Gabriela Women’s Party would like to express our deepest sympathy to the families of those who died in the Congress blast and we offer our fervent prayer for the speedy recovery of Representatives Teves and Ilagan and all those injured. Again we reiterate our calls for the justice and vigilance.
Thank you Mr. Speaker, Distinguished colleagues.