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Antonio Tinio for the Alliance of Concerned Teachers Partylist has denounced the recent tactics of the ruling elite and the military against progressive grassroots organizers in the Philippines in the run-up to the May 2013 elections:
ACT Teachers Representative Antonio Tinio denounced a government crackdown on leaders and activists of progressive party-list groups in the weeks leading to the opening of the campaign period for the May 2013 elections.
“The Philippine National Police and the military have clearly stepped up their harassment of leaders, activists and supporters of progressive party-lists in the weeks leading up to the election campaign period. They are being arrested and detained on the basis of trumped-up criminal charges,” said Tinio.
Tinio was referring to the party-lists of the left-wing Makabayan Coalition, which include incumbents in the House of Representative such as Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, ACT Teachers, and Kabataan, as well as Migrante, Akap-Bata, PISTON, Katribu, Courage, Kalikasan and Aking Bikolnon.
Tinio also denounced the military’s harassment of Alliance of Concerned Teachers Region 6 leader Gualberto Dajao. Dajao is a Head Teacher 3 at the BATA National High School in Bacolod City, president of the ACT Region 6 Union, president of the Bacolod City Public School Teachers’ Federation, and a National Council member of ACT. Mr. Dajao has been implicated by a military asset, along with 51 others, in an NPA ambush that led to the killing of an Army lieutenant in March 2010 in Cadiz City. The allegation is contained in an affidavit submitted to the City Prosecutor of Cadiz by a rebel returnee named Freddie Sanchez, a.k.a. “Warboy.”
“The allegation is totally absurd,” said Tinio. “Mr. Dajao, being a full-time teacher in one of the biggest high schools in Bacolod City, has biometrically-verified daily time records as well as numerous eye-witnesses that will account for his whereabouts during the date of the alleged encounter. Nevertheless, the threat of arrest is now hanging over the head of Mr. Dajao.”
“Such patently false accusations expose the fabricated nature of the charges that are being filed by the police and military and abetted by compliant prosecutors against progressive activists in order to intimidate and harass them and curtail their activities. This is a gross abuse of the legal system and violation of the rights of the victims and their families.”
“It’s clear that the Aquino administration is mobilizing its security forces to crack down on progressive partylists, who are its most outspoken critics, in order to prevent them from making further gains in the electoral arena. Yet, past experience shows that despite state-backed vilification and even violent repression, our progressive party-lists continue to garner popular support and a widening electoral base,” concluded Tinio.