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KMU slams harassment of its Negros spokesperson

Labor center Kilusang Mayo Uno condemned today the harassment of its Negros spokesperson by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, hitting the Aquino government for committing Arroyo-style human rights violations.

Ronald Ian Evidente, together with Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Negros secretary-general Christian Tuayon and the New People’s Army, were charged with robbery in connection with a raid last year in a fishing farm in Sagay City owned by the nephew of Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon.

In violation of Evidente’s and Tuayon’s rights, Regional Trial Court Judge Renato Muñez did not issue a subpoena to invite the two to any hearing, immediately ordered them arrested, and set their bail at P40,000.

Tuayon was illegally arrested by plainclothesmen at a rally in Bacolod City last April 3 while Evidente was able to elude arrest with the help of workers and poor farmers in the province.

“We condemn this harassment against our leader in Negros. We are revolted by the continuing use of the Arroyo tactic of filing trumped-up charges against activist leaders on the basis of the actions of the NPA,” said Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson.

“We have known Mr. Evidente for years. He was a youth leader in Negros who now organizes workers and the poor. He did not rob anybody; he is fighting those who rob workers and poor people of their rights,” he added.

“The charge of robbery against the NPA should have been junked outright. It is in violation of the Hernandez doctrine which states that all illegal acts committed in the name of rebellion should be subsumed by the charge of rebellion,” Labog said.

KMU said the military committed various human rights violations this week, when people and the media are busy observing the Holy Week.

The labor center cited the arrest last April 3 of Bayan Muna campaigner Reynante Gamara, whom the military accuses of taking part in an assassination allegedly carried out by the NPA in Quezon in May 2007.

“We cannot help but think that the military’s timing in these arrests is intended to delay, if not stop, the spread of news on these human rights violations. That shows you the character of the Aquino government: it implements Arroyo’s policies but always pays attention to the propaganda aspect,” Labog said.

“With its desperation to suppress those who are calling for significant reforms in government, the Aquino government is exposing itself to be the same as, if not worse than, the Arroyo government,” he added.

Reference Person: 
Elmer “Bong” Labog, KMU chairperson
Contact information: 

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