Friday, March 03, 2006

GMA’s assurance to lift PP1017 nothing but empty talk

GMA’s assurance to lift PP1017 nothing but empty talk

“The assurance to the public made by Mrs. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo that she will lift Presidential Proclamation (PP) 1017 is nothing but double-talk aimed at placating the fury of the public. She could have lifted the controversial proclamation since yesterday. The question is what’s stopping her.”

This, according to Bayan Muna Representative Joel Virador, after Mrs. Arroyo addressed the nation yesterday that she would lift the controversial proclamation only if she was “satisfied” that the government had “control of the situation”.

But Virador reminded that the situation would not change even upon the lifting of PP1017.

“There are existing laws that continue to curtail people’s rights and freedoms. Crackdown will continue because investigations will have started by the time of the lifting of PP1017. The curtailment of press freedom will still be there. So nothing will change. Political oppression and persecution still exist,” Virador said.

The lifting of the State of Emergency will be based on the assessment to be conducted by Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz, and Philippine National Police Director General Arturo Lomibao. Mrs. Arroyo said she has given her officials 24 - 72 hours to conduct such an assessment.

According to Virador, the civil liberties of the people and press freedom are still in imminent danger because of existing orders and directives for the military and police to put under surveillance those they deem as threats to Mrs. Arroyo’s presidency.

Virador also cited other contentious executive orders (EO) like EO 464, which clips the power of Congress to conduct hearings and summon officials of the executive department to testify before congressional inquiries,

He also added that the Calibrated Preemptive Response is still in effect, which prohibits peaceful assembly.

“More remain unmentioned in the long list of human rights violations committed by this government against the Filipino people. Thus, it will be a lie to say that the President truly intends to put the country back in its track,” Virador said.

What is more telling, according to Virador, is the influence of the statement released by the United States on her recent decision to lift the notorious and much opposed proclamation. ###

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