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PESANTE CONDEMNS AFP RED BAITING

by PhIlippine Peasant Support Network(Pesante) Saturday, Sep. 16, 2006 at 6:00 AM
magsasakapil@hotmail.com 213-241-0906 337 Glendale Ave. Los Angeles, CA 90026

Philippine Peasant Support Network(Pesante)-USA based in Los Angeles, in a statement issued today, September 14, 2006 vehemently condemns AFP Chief General Esperon’s statement against Ocampo and Casino and other leaders of the progressive mass organizations in the Philippines. “Esperon’s statement is a clear military’s anti communist mind-set. It’s bunker mentality that foments anti-communist with-hunting and a clear signal for the military death squads to go after progressive mass leaders.”

PESANTE CONDEMNS PHILIPPPINE MILITARY RED-BAITING: CALLS BAYAN MUNA'S OCAMPO, CASINO “ENEMIES OF THE STATE”

Los Angeles - Pesante-USA vehemently condemn and denounce AFP Chief General Hermogenes Esperon’s anti-communist witch hunting against Filipino progressive leaders BAYAN MUNA party-list Saturnino OCampo and Teodoro Casino.

The Philippine Peasant Support Network(Pesante)-USA based in Los Angeles, in a statement issued today, September 14, 2006 vehemently criticized Esperon’s statement against Ocampo and Casino and other leaders of the progressive mass organizations in the Philippines.

Philippine military chief of staff, General Hermogenes Esperon yesterday (September 15 in the Philippines) said some party-list representatives, including Satur Ocampo and Teodoro Casiño, were enemies of the state hiding behind the legitimate cover of their organization, Bayan Muna.

Testifying before the commission formed by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo to look into extrajudicial executions, General Hermogenes Esperon Jr. also said that the AFP’s “total war” policy did not include political killings.

“ The AFP Chief of staff , using the commission as a venue to vent his antic-communist views and to counter charges against the AFP”, Pesante said. The AFP chief charged that the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), was responsible for the deaths of 843 civilians since Ms Arroyo assumed the presidency in 2001.These charges are preposterous.” The Pesante-USA statement exclaimed

Human rights groups in the Philippines and abroad like the Amnesty International have reported around 700 political slayings and said the military and police were behind them. The Inquirer has listed 247 assassinations.

AFP Propagandize at the Melo Commission

The five-member commission headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Jose Melo held its second hearing amid reports that Finland and Spain were sending teams to monitor the spate of killings in the country.The presence of foreign monitoring teams at the invitation of the Philippine government should “erase misconceptions that the government is not doing anything significantly to cope with the situation,” Melo said.

During the hearing, an Inquirer report – one of the main Manila newspaper was read to Esperon. In it, retired Major General Jovito Palparan was quoted as saying that party-list groups were nothing more than communist fronts and that Casiño and Ocampo were “enemies of the state.”

Esperon was asked if Palparan’s view was shared by the entire AFP. Esperon said that he considered the CPP, the NPA and the National Democratic Front (NDF) as “enemies of the state.”

“We are a democratic society and they are trying to overthrow the democratic system through violent means,” Esperon said.He said that while leftist organizations, such as Bayan Muna, were not enemies of the state, some of their members belonged to the CPP-NPA-NDF, “conveniently hiding behind the legitimate cover.”

If Palparan had tagged Ocampo an “enemy of the state,” Esperon said this was based on Ocampo’s membership in the CPP-NPA in the 1970s. “He was prompted by Ocampo’s past,” Esperon said.

Pesante scored Esperon’s jeremiads: “Esperon’s statement is a clear military’s anti communist mind-set. It’s bunker mentality that foments anti-communist with-hunting and a clear signal for the military death squads to go after progressive mass leaders.”

“It’s essentially doublespeak. While they are professing respect for human rights, they are hunting down activists, denouncing them as “enemies of the state” like what Esperon has just done in front of the Melo Commission rendering inutile all pretensions of a sense of fair play and even going to the motions of fact-finding.”

“What can we expect from a Gloria cheater in the last election but to act as a pretorian guard for the fake president who relies on facist men like Esperon to stay in power? Pesante-USA statement ended.

*******

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