Monday, March 13, 2006

'Superbody' vs 'enemies of the state' bared

'Superbody' vs 'enemies of the state' bared
First posted 05:51pm (Mla time) Mar 13, 2006
By Veronica Uy

PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo created a “superbody” that would prepare cases against alleged "enemies of the state" even before she declared a state of national emergency, a civil society leader told the Senate on Monday.

The President issued Executive Order 493 last January 17 that formed the Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) to be placed under National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales, said Maria Socorro Diokno, Free Legal Assistance Group secretary general, during a hearing on Proclamation 1017.

Diokno described as having “very dangerous implications” EO 493, which was issued more than a month before Proclamation 1017 that put the country under a state of national emergency.

The emergency declaration was made after the military quashed an alleged conspiracy by some officers, communist rebels, and civilian backers to oust Arroyo.

The creation of IALAG under EO 493 is aimed at “strengthening the inter-departmental cooperation in the investigation, prosecution, and monitoring of offenses relating to national security,” Diokno said.

Diokno said 50 million pesos was allocated to IALAG, which would coordinate cases of rebellion and sedition at the National Security Council, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, the Philippine National Police, and the justice department.

“What business does the police and the intelligence units have in handling civilian and judicial functions? [Its creation] is highly questionable. Why would Malacañang request for instruments of martial law when there is no reason to. There's no sense at all,” she said.

Diokno said that even before Proclamation 1017, the executive department had been using “instruments of martial law” like the calibrated preemptive response against rallies and EO 464, which bars executive, police, and military officials from attending congressional hearings without clearance from the President.

Meanwhile, some 100 families from Tondo, Manila who were relocated to Minuyan village in San Jose del Monte town, Bulacan province had been under close military watch since February 28, Sanlakas president Wilson Fortaleza said.

Fortaleza said members of the Zone One Tondo Organization (ZOTO), which is affiliated with Sanlakas, had been allegedly told not to join protest rallies, which ZOTO members had been doing since the 1970s.

“This hamletting violates three basic human rights -- the right to join an organization because they are already being marked as enemies of the state, the right to assembly, and the right to free expression.

“We think they're making this into a test case that, if proven effective even without proclamation [1017], they can do this anywhere,” the Sanlakas official said.

Fortaleza has asked Senator Ana Consuelo "Jamby" Madrigal to join a fact-finding team to the community to find more details of the alleged "hamletting."

He said that on February 28, about 100 soldiers, on an armed personnel carrier, gathered ZOTO members who were shown a video documentary entitled "Kilalanin ang inyong kaaway [Know your enemy]."

In the video, Partido ng Manggagawa party-list Representative Renato Magtubo, Anakpawis party-list Representative Crispin Beltran, Bayan Muna party-list Representative Satur Ocampo, among other personalities associated with the Left, were lumped together with New People's Army chief Gregorio “Ka Roger” Rosal and were identified as "enemies of the state."

“One detachment from [Major General Jovito] Palparan's 7th Infantry Battalion is still in the community, even after the lifting of 1017, and has enforced the rule that it be informed of pre-rally meetings. Takot na takot ang mga tao duon dahil nga kay Palparan (People there are very afraid because of Palparan),” Fortaleza said.

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