Speech by Satur Ocampo, President and Partylist Representative, Bayan Muna and Deputy Minority Leader, House of Representatives on Feb. 25, 2006

Much as I would like to be with you tonight, the developments within the last 24 hours, especially the attempted forcible abduction against me this morning, has constrained me from exposing myself in public, lest I succumb to the dangers posed by the rampaging monster that is the Arroyo regime.

Indeed, my colleagues from the Independent Bloc of progressive partylist organizations and myself are faced with grave danger after Mrs. Arroyo’s declaration of a state of national emergency. Between 8 to 8:30 this morning, Anakpawis Partylist Representative Crispin Beltran was forcibly abducted on his way to a House Minority press conference and arbitrarily detained at Camp Crame for “questioning.” The absurd basis for the illegal police action was a two decade-old trumped-up case filed against him by the Marcos dictatorship in 1985.

A few hours later, emerging from the said press conference at Sulo Hotel, I was almost abducted by at least three police agents in civilian clothing with their guns drawn — one had a high powered rifle and the other two were armed with automatic pistols — who blocked my vehicle in front of the Hotel in full view of the media. Luckily, I was riding a different car so they ended up arresting my driver and aide.

I was one of the longest-held political prisoners during martial law. I do not particularly mind being arrested for my political beliefs. The problem is when the arrest is made arbitrarily and without due process, like the attempted arrest this morning where the authorities did not even have the decency to formally serve a warrant of arrest. Instead, they resorted to the martial-law tactic of blocking my vehicle and threateningly waving their firearms like I was some fugitive of the law. Who knows what could have happened had I been in that vehicle? Remember, more than 80 of Bayan Muna’s leaders have been summarily executed since Mrs. Arroyo took power in 2001.

Friends and comrades in arms, what happened yesterday and this morning cannot be taken lightly. The declaration of a state of national emergency is not only patently illegal; it is also aimed at suppressing the civil liberties and political rights of our people. How else can we explain the bellicose pronouncements from Malacañang, the blanket ban on rallies and demonstrations, the violent dispersal of our peaceful assemblies, the closure and harrassment of critical media outlets, and the arbitrary and illegal arrest of opposition
figures?

Mrs. Arroyo’s true colors have emerged. Her regime is nothing but a fascist dictatorship in the works.

I therefore appeal to you, on this 20th anniversary of the ouster of the Marcos dictatorship, to hold fast to our hard-earned rights and liberties. Let us not be cowed by the Arroyo regime’s fascist tricks. Never again should martial rule destroy our country.

More than this, we should continually press for Mrs. Arroyo’s removal from office. Only her removal will prevent the setting up of another dictatorship that is more brutal and more corrupt. Together, let us struggle for a just, sovereign and democratic Philippines.

Makibaka, huwag matakot!
Mabuhay ang sambayanang Pilipino!

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