18 September 2013
We, peace consultants of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, detained at Camp Crame, resolutely join the ever-rising militant protests of the Filipino people against the bureaucratic stealing of public funds by the US-Aquino regime.
As the ordinary Filipino says: “Ang busog naging bundat!”.
The masses of the people are angry and disgusted at the regime’s maneuvers, cover-ups, and schemes to hide this massive misuse of the people’s money that feed the insatiable greed of the ruling class; and to protect from the prosecution the whole government bureaucracy (executive, legislative and judiciary) that is responsible for the proliferation and malignancy of wanton corruption and political patronage of this rotten state.
We are one with our fellow political prisoners in launching on September 19 “Break Free from Pork’ –a protest action of political detainees against corruption, and the pork barrel system of the US-Aquino regime.
For our part, together with SELDA (Samahan ng Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto) and UgatLahi Artist Collective, will kick-off VIP (Victims of Injustice and Plunder) Prisoners’ Protest PORKsong Revival Fest and PORKsters vs. Corruption Contest to give venue to the creativity of detention prisoners in expressing their own experiences and dreams of fighting for freedom from detention at the moment; and, for the final freedom of the Filipino people from exploitation and oppression of US imperialism, domestic feudalism and bureaucrat capitalism.
After this, we are joining the Mag-Ingay Tayo! noise barrage of the Scrap the Pork Alliance on September 20. We salute the militancy of the youth and students who will walk out of their classes and join the protest actions in the streets on the afternoon of that same day.
On September 21, we are also one with the rally against the pork barrel system and the corresponding 100-day vigilance for justice to be attained when the plunderers are found guilty and jailed. However, as they are being presented now, it seems that it will be a very long journey to reach a conclusion that is truly favorable to the Filipino people. The US-Aquino regime continues to hoodwink the people that the PDAF had been abolished and the exposed plunderers and their cohorts will be prosecuted and punished.
But the people are fed up with the schemes concocted by Malacanang. It can no longer hide the reality that, as portrayed by ex-senator Rodolfo Biazon, ”the house is burning…” The people cannot be fooled anymore. Neither will they be cowed into submission and silence. In and out of our country, the workers, peasants, students, women, urban poor, national minorities and the middle section of the middle class such as the professionals, teachers, OFWs, government employees, doctors, nurses, health workers, lawyers and church people are continuously protesting in greater number and intensity demanding from the Aquino government social justice, jobs, just wages, additional subsidies for education, housing for the urban poor, health services, subsidies for farmers and subsidies for water, electric power, oil and other basic needs.
The Filipino people are justified in demanding that this systematic and wanton corruption in the political and social system of our country be exposed and totally eradicated. The power of the Filipino people will grow stronger as the rottenness of this semifeudal and semicolonial system is thoroughly exposed and opposed through the ever-increasing disgust and distrust of the people at the pork barrel system and all other corrupt practices in the government. The people’s power, in the final days, will deliver the fatal blow to this rotten and crumbling economic and political system of the ruling class of the big bourgeoisie and big landlords, in connivance with US imperialism.
Abolish the pork barrel system!
Rechannel funds to social services!
Prosecute the plunderers, not the innocent and rights defenders!
Free all political prisoners!
Long live the Filipino people!
Renante M. Gamara, Eduardo O. Sarmiento, Eduardo R. Serrano
While plunderers and human rights violators remain free from arrest or given special treatment under “detention”, 449 activists are detained because of trumped-up criminal charges.
In one voice, they say: “Even though we are behind bars, our spirits are soaring high to be with the people against corruption and bureaucrat capitalism.”
Karapatan today held a picket in front of the Quezon City Regional Trial Court to press for the immediate release of political prisoner Eduardo Serrano, a consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) to the peace negotiations with the GPH. Serrano’s counsel, led by the Public Interest Law Center (PILC), presented a witness on the kidnapping case against Serrano.
Karapatan chairperson Marie Hilao-Enriquez said there are 12 other detained peace consultants in various detention facilities in the country. “Most of them would have been released had the GPH kept its commitment. But, we know the Aquino government lives by PR stints, so what do you expect? The GPH recently arrested another consultant, JASIG-holder Ma. Loida Magpatoc who is now incarcerated at Camp Bagong Diwa, bringing the total number of women political prisoners to 34.”
Serrano, a JASIG-protected person, has been in jail for almost 10 years now. He was abducted by elements of the intelligence service of the Philippine Army on May 2, 2004, when he alighted from a public bus in Lipa City, a violation of the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) signed by the GPH and the NDFP. Serrano, currently detained at the PNP Custodial Center in Camp Crame, faces charges of multiple murder and kidnapping, common crimes that effectively hide the political nature of his case from the public.
Resumption of the peace talks
On September 10, Serrano and two other NDFP peace consultants detained at Camp Crame, Eduardo Sarmiento and Renante Gamara, issued a statement to add their voice to the call of various peace groups and advocates for the GPH and the NDFP to resume the peace talks. The GPH, through its peace panel head Atty. Alex Padilla, unilaterally terminated the peace talks in May of this year.
“At this juncture in our history wherein hundreds of thousands of the Filipino people are rising up in outrage against the pork barrel scam and other forms of corruption in the government, the call for a just and lasting peace through a negotiated political settlement is undeniably needed and a must,” said the statement signed by Serrano, Sarmiento, and Gamara.
The consultants underscored the importance of the resumption of the peace talks as the next substantive agenda, the Comprehensive Agreement on Social and Economic Reforms (CASER), would tackle the root causes of the armed conflict.
Hilao-Enriquez, also an independent observer in the GPH-NDFP peace negotiations said, “the pork barrel scam highlights the need for the peace talks to resume and tackle the problem of bureaucrat capitalism—how the few government bureaucrats use the entire government machinery to rob the entire nation and further enrich themselves. It is appalling that these bureaucrats in the government rob the people, in the guise of serving the people; the same people that they terrorize, arrest, detain, and kill.”
Political detainees against pork
Meanwhile, political detainees all over the country are now preparing to conduct various forms of protest actions against the pork barrel system and to show their solidarity with the hundreds of thousands of Filipino people who demand: “abolish the pork barrel system, punish the guilty in the pork scam, and rechannel the pork funds for the benefit of the people.”
The coordinated protest action is set on September 19.
We, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultants to the peace talks currently incarcerated in Camp Crame, join with the masses of the Filipino people in condemning the outrageous plunder of the people’s money through systematic stealing and abuse of lump sum allocations.
Even though we are behind bars, our spirits are soaring high to be with the people’s Million March Against the Pork Barrel on August 26, 2013 at Luneta. This will be a historical convergence of the people’s rage and anger against the rampant corruption in the government.
We are also joining the mass actions and outrage of the Filipino people here and abroad.
The people are now rising up for their democratic rights and welfare. They are fed up with the system of plunder and corruption, and the absence of transparency and accountability of government bureaucrats and officials guilty of these crimes.
The people demand that the pork barrel system and any of its variations be abolished.
The people rightfully and urgently demand that the plunderers and their cohorts be punished.
The people also want the people’s money for social services to be re-channeled to an independent people’s commission.
We hope that this August 26 protest will strengthen the power of the people to uphold and defend their democratic rights and welfare. We also hope that this further empowerment will totally eradicate and uproot the whole system of corruption and culture of plunder of the people’s coffers by the greedy government bureaucrats and officials.
And through this enhanced people power, the people will benefits the fruits of their manual and mental labor, and eventually establish the fundamental changes in our society where the Filipino people will truly attain peace and prosperity.
Abolish the pork barrel system and all its variations!
Punish the plunderers and corrupt government officials and their cohorts!
Relinquish the people’s money to an independent people’s commission!
Long live the Filipino people!(Sgd) Renante Gamara (Sgd) Eduardo Sarmiento (Sgd) Eduardo Serrano August 25, 2013 Camp Crame