On October 31, elements from the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group, the 3rd Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army, and the Negros Occidental Police Provincial Office, armed with search warrants issued by a Quezon City court, raided the offices of Bayan Muna, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Gabriela, Anakpawis and the National Federation of Sugar Workers (NFSW) in Bacolod City. In these coordinated and simultaneous raids, 62 members of the progressive groups have been taken into custody. The offices were accused of holding firearms, explosives, and subversive documents, and were speculated to be recruitment and training centers for the NPA.
The raids, done before a special non-working holiday when the courts are not open, are yet another case exposing the Duterte administration’s illegal and violent crackdown on progressive activists under the guise of eliminating communist rebellion. The suspicious circumstances of the raids call to question the validity of the arrests and the possibility of extra-judicial measures in the situation.
Following on the heels of President Rodrigo Duterte’s Executive Order 70, the national task force was created supposedly to address the root causes of local communist insurgency. However, it has instead shown its true colors as a tool for the state’s repression of its detractors and opponents. This raid is just the latest in a litany of evidence clearly showcasing that the Duterte Administration obeys no higher law or principle than that of naked violence and repression, all in the service of elite self-interest.
Samahan ng Progresibong Kabataan (SPARK) condemns the Duterte administration’s continued disrespect for basic human rights, as well as the complete disregard for the legitimacy of organizations promoting the welfare and betterment of the country. We stand in solidarity with the 62 arrested activists, and demand for their immediate release. We demand as well a thorough investigation to the inquiry of Bayan Muna Partylist on the questionable issuance of search warrant done by Quezon City Regional Trial Court and its Branch 89 Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert, given that the raids were executed in a region beyond their jurisdiction.
We demand justice that addresses the true roots of social unrest in systemic oppression which necessitate mass organizations in the first place… not the false justice of the fascist Duterte administration and its goons in the military and the police who know nothing but to enact fear and violence through its bloody iron fist.
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