Fr. Dionito Cabillas, National Secretariat of the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Para sa Amnestiya (SELDA), today decried the latest spate of cases filed by the military and police against at least four leaders of progressive partylists and organizations in the Bicol Region as “fabrications of militarist minds” meant to intensify the harassment against the organizations in the region.

Charges of multiple murder, frustrated murder, multiple carnapping and malicious mischief were filed against Felix Paz, chairman of Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas-Bikol (KMP-Bikol), Leo Caballero, spokesperson of Derechos Obrero,  Jariz Vida, secretary general of BAYAN-Muna-Camarines Sur and Joe Pernia, chairman of BAYAN Muna-Bicol, among others.

“As long as Oplan Bantay , the counter-insurgency plan of the Arroyo government, is the same blueprint adopted by the Aquino administration, trumped up charges and criminalization of so-called political offenses are bound to continue. Oplan Bantay Laya has resulted to the illegal arrests, torture and detention of more than 300 political prisoners under the Arroyo regime, including the Morong 43,” Cabillas stated.

Cabillas expressed the support of their organization for the recent hunger strike conducted by eight political prisoners in Bohol and two political prisoners in Danao City, Cebu calling on Pres. Aquino for the immediate release of the Morong 43 and all political prisoners as well as the immediate scrapping of the Oplan Bantay Laya.

“Oplan Bantay Laya should be immediately scrapped. We do not need statements paying lip-service to human rights while activists, partylist leaders and leaders from the marginalized communities,” Cabillas ended.

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