Thursday, November 15, 2007

Statements on Batasan Bombing

Press Statement
November 14, 2007

Statement of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) on the Batasan Bombing

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan condemns in no uncertain terms the bombing of the Batasang Pambansa which resulted in the death of Comrade Marcial Taldo and the injury of Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan of Gabriela Women's Party. The explosion also claimed the lives of Rep. Wahab Akbar of Basilan and Maan Bustalino.

The bombing happens at a time when intense political crisis is besieging the Arroyo administration. The incident happened hours before a Senate probe on bribery allegations involving MalacaƱang as well as Congress hearings on the impeachment case against the President.

We call for an impartial and thorough probe on the incident even as we cry out for justice for the victims. We do not want the investigation to turn into another Glorietta probe wherein the results lack credibility. There should be no cover up. Even as the Philippine National Police (PNP) is popularizing the theory that Rep. Akbar was the target of the blast, it should not immediately and conveniently disregard other political angles that may be the reasons for the blast.

The PNP has the duty to determine whether or not the blast was also aimed at Rep. Luz Ilagan who is a known Arroyo critic, or if the blast was some form of diversionary tactic to cover up the impeachment issue and the Senate bribery probe happening today. All angles, even the highly political, must be looked into for the probe to be credible and acceptable to the public. To immediately limit the probe to the Akbar angle would only fuel public suspicion.

The recent series of explosions that have occurred in Makati City, Quezon City and nearby Cavite province are a cause for alarm insofar as these may be used by the Arroyo government as a justification for more repressive policies. We warn the Arroyo government that doing a Musharraf will be politically costly and will incite further resistance from the people. Whether it is through the draconian Human Security Act or a state of emergency, repressive measures are a totally unacceptable response to these incidents. These only betray the regime's self-serving drive to remain in power at whatever cost.

If the intention of the blast was to sow fear especially among critics of the administration, we can say with certainty that we will not be cowed. We will continue to fight for issues that we firmly believe in. We will continue to hold the Arroyo regime accountable for the many crimes it has committed against the people. ###


By the National Alliance for Filipino Concerns (NAFCON)
For Reference: Rico Foz, Executive Vice President, email:

In the strongest possible terms, we condemn the latest bombing of the House of Representatives where at least three people – Basilan Rep. Wahab Akbar, an employee, and a driver - died, while two other solons were critically wounded along with at least five employees. It is reprehensible that this incident should happen in the premises of Congress and at a time when two impeachment complaints against President Gloria M. Arroyo are pending in the House, while investigation on the latest cases of corruption and bribery involving the President is likewise ongoing in the Senate.

We are concerned that one of the congressmen who was wounded – and possibly targeted for assassination – is a representative of the progressive Gabriela Women's Party (GWP), Mindanao lawyer Luz Ilagan. Her driver, Marcial Tando, died in the bombing of serious injuries. Along with other solons from the progressive group in the House, Ilagan this week moved for the impeachment of Mrs. Arroyo for corruption, human rights abuses, and other culpable violations of the Constitution. In her early stint in Congress, the Mindanao legislator has defended the rights of overseas Filipino migrant workers, including the labor case of the Sentosa 27 nurses in New York.

If we connect the dots, the explosion at the Batasang Pambansa complex (seat of the House) is the latest in a series of bombings and killings, particularly in the National Capital Region (NCR). Prior to this was the bombing of Glorietta at Ayala's financial district, which killed at least 11 persons and injured scores of others; the ambush-slaying of the Comelec's chief legal counsel; the mysterious vehicular accident of opposition leader and former senator, Rene Saguisag, that took the life of his wife, Dulce; the equally mysterious car accident of Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran; and death threats against certain opposition members of the House and Senate, including Speaker Jose de Venecia.

These incidents are taking place amid a renewed clamor by various sectors for the ouster, removal by impeachment, or resignation of Arroyo. The calls were precipitated by public outrage over the latest high-level corruption scandal and bribery involving the President, her husband, some Cabinet members, and political allies. Senate investigations and other accounts are beginning to tie the pieces that link the president to these scandals and briberies – the latest since Arroyo became president in 2001. Moreover, the Arroyo government is being called in the international community including the U.S. Congress to account for 890 victims of politically-motivated extra-judicial killings and other acts of atrocities, making it, after the Marcos regime, the object of worldwide indignation.

The Filipino people cannot but be alarmed by the fact that it is the Arroyo government that is, deliberately or otherwise, creating the conditions for destabilization that began with her alleged stealing of the presidency in 2004, the escalation of political repression and persecution of many outspoken critics, people's organizations, and progressive party-list groups, and last year's declaration of emergency rule along with repressive executive orders, among others.

We note with concern that these incidents could lead to the full implementation of the controversial Human Security Act and could be part of a bigger scenario to declare martial law. If these are the means by which the survival of the Arroyo presidency could be secured, then there is all the more reason for the Filipino-American community in the United States to once again be united and act as one in resisting attempts to sow a reign of terror in the Philippines leading to the declaration of another martial law.

As we have done so against the Marcos dictatorship of the 1970s-1980s, we cannot be cowed into submitting to another authoritarian rule.#