Contributed by Karapatan
Karapatan has condemned the recent arrest and detention of five youths and three, teachers after staging a recent protest during the recent joint session in Congress on 22 July.
The protest was over the extension of martial law in the Philippines.
Michael Joselo Villanueva of Kabataan Party list, John Paul Rosos and Renz Pasigpasigan of the League of Filipino Students (LFS), and Almira Abril of the Student Alliance for the Advancement of Democratic Rights in UP (STAND UP), along with Lumad school teachers Chad Errol Booc, Yasser Gutierrez and Vinzhill Siman are the eight arrested.
They are currently detained at Camp Karingal, Quezon City, with the case of violation of Art. 144 of the Revised Penal Code (or disturbance of public proceedings), set to be filed against them in court.
The eight had come to the joint session as guests of Kabataan Party list representative Sarah Elago.
A quick response team was dispatched to respond to the situation. As of this writing, lawyers are waiting for the information that will be filed by the city prosecutor
The arrested individuals unfurled a banner bearing the message “No to Martial Law.”
The criminalisation of forms of dissent is a martial law trademark. Open fascist rule does not bother with pretensions, using the State’s naked power to give an impression of authority.
With the extension of martial law in Mindanao, more cases of arbitrary arrest will plague the country. Rights violations have continued without martial law, but it has worsened after its imposition.
It is shameful how most legislators have voted, applauding in ignorance, as fascists took the floor, conveniently ignoring the plight of those who will be mostly affected by martial rule.
Instead of hearing out the protesters, especially the Lumad school teachers affected by intensified military operations, Congress officials chose to bodily accost them and criminalise their expression of legitimate grievances.
Karapatan has repeated this time and again – martial law will open a Pandora’s box of violations. History has proven that the military are instruments of repression, and no amount of assurances can erase their bloody record.
Now, as the Duterte regime bows down to the urging of pro-US military officials, it has put the entire Filipino population in peril.
The people, however, have learned to rely on their strength. They have already endured and triumphed over one fascist dictator, and if things continue as it is, the Filipino people will, without any hesitation, fight and resist.