End the Criminalization of Dissent! BAYAN-USA Demands the False Charges Against Progressive Leaders to be Dropped
BAYAN-USA denounces the filing of charges by the Manila Office of the City Prosecutor against mass leaders of BAYAN, Anakbayan, and Bayan Muna. The filing of these bogus charges is another attempt by the US-Duterte regime to silence dissent and criminalize activism. The US-Duterte regime’s fascist actions have been intensifying since President Trump’s visit, emboldened by Trump’s assurance of more financial support to the Philippine military and police.
On January 30, a subpoena was issued against Renato Reyes of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN), Rep. Carlos Zarate and Teddy Casino of Bayan Muna, and Anakbayan leaders Vencer Crisostomo and Einstein Recedes, over charges of direct assault with physical injury, resistance and disobedience to a person in authority, and violation of Public Assembly Act of 1985 allegedly at the Nov. 13 anti-Trump protest in line with the ASEAN Summit last year. This is yet another form of harassment and a way for Duterte to show his loyalties to President Trump and the United States.
“It’s harassment and possibly retaliatory on the part of the Trump government through its US embassy in Manila,” stated Renato Reyes. “This was also the first time the Philippine police deployed the US-supplied Long Range Acoustic Device (LRAD) sonic weapon upon the protesters.”
In addition, on January 31, peace activist Rafael Baylosis and his companion, Roque Guillermo Jr., were slapped with trumped up charges and arrested by members of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group-National Capital Region (CIDG-NCR). The arrest of 69 year old Rafael Baylosis, a long-time activist, labor leader and National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) consultant, violates the Joint Agreement on Safety and Immunity Guarantees (JASIG) and Comprehensive Agreement on Respect for Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law (CARHRIHL), of which the Philippine government is a signatory and therefore bound to by way of the peace talks.
BAYAN-USA demands the immediate release of Baylosis and all 486 political prisoners, and for the false charges against progressive leaders to be dropped. While Duterte commands and empowers the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to carry out blatant violations of human rights with impunity, the people will not be intimidated into submission. Communities are coming together to organize and protest the violence and injustice. We are expanding the ranks of people bravely opposing the imposition of dictatorship, by building the Movement Against Tyranny. If Duterte continues to ignore the demands of the Filipino people, violently suppress any opposition, and drive toward open dictatorship, his regime will fall under the gravity of a growing people’s movement against tyranny and fascism.