March 20, 2006
Political prosecution continues Bicol youth leader shot dead, Davao youth leader abducted
Anakbayan condemns the brutal killing of a student activist leader in Bicol and the illegal abduction and warrantless interrogation of a youth activist leader in Davao City this weekend.
Cris Hugo, a National Council Member and regional coordinator of the League of Filipino Students in Bicol, was shot dead around 10:30pm yesterday in Legazpi City by unidentified armed men.
Raunil Mortejo, Anakbayan-Davao City chairperson, was abducted last Friday night, March 17, at Juna, Matina near the BAYAN office in Davao by suspected elements of the Isafp. Witnesses said he was boarded into a blue green URVAN van with a covered plate number.
Mortejo was released an hour later. According to his account, he was interrogated and harrassed for almost an hour. He was unhurt but was visibly traumatized by the illegal abduction.
"In this administration's desperation to quell growing protests, it is now harassing and attacking harmless and respectable personalities. We hold the Arroyo administration criminally and politically liable for the killing of Hugo and the continuous attacks against our youth leaders. This regime is a monster, it dares and does not think twice to shed the blood of young patriotic leaders whose only "faults" are that they continue to be steadfast and vigilant in upholding civil liberties and calling for social change despite continuous tyranny and repression perpetuated by the Arroyo administration,’ said Eleanor de Guzman, Anakbayan national chairperson.
Meanwhile, Anakbayan also expressed strongest condemnation against the baseless and false accusations against one of its local leaders and seven other militant leaders in Davao City.
Lorie Ann Cascaro, Anakbayan National Council member and Vice-Chairperson for Mindanao, was charged with seven others after being implicated as conspirators in inciting to sedition and rebellion cases filed against Bayan Muna Rep. Joel Virador.
De Guzman added that while leftist leaders and organizations are seemingly the primary targets of the government's crackdown, ordinary civilians remain the most vulnerable.
"Anyone is vulnerable to warrantless arrests, political prosecution and, yes, even extrajudicial killings by the Arroyo regime. It can range from Arroyo's most ardent political foes to the most unsuspecting ordinary bystander. Who, then, is the real enemy of the state?” she said.
The militant youth groups Anakbayan and LFS held a candle lighting protest later today to denounce the killing and continuous political prosecution against activist leaders and organizations. ###