Thursday, June 01, 2006

Motorcycle-Riding Gunman in Congress

sino nga ba talaga ang salot?

Motorcycle-Riding Gunman in Congress
Privilege Speech by Gabriela Women's Party Rep. Liza Largoza- Maza
May 31, 2006

Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues,

I rise on a question of personal and collective privilege. This is about the incident that happened to one of the members of GABRIELA Youth who was held at gunpoint right here at the Batasan Complex.

Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, Nangyari ito hindi sa kalsada, hindi sa eskwelahan, kundi dito sa loob ng complex ng House of Representatives. Nangyari po ang insidente alas otso y medya ng umaga sa may parking lot sa harap ng main entrance ng Plenary Hall.

Last Friday, May 26, a GABRIELA youth member, unaware that Congress operated on a four-day work week, came to pick up materials from the Committee on Higher and Technical Education public hearing scheduled for today, May 31. She has with her a letter from Congresswoman Cynthia Villar for the said public hearing. In the South Wing lobby, she asked and got directions to the Mitra Building from the security detail there, a man and a woman, both wearing full camouflage military uniform. She
also gave her name and her reason in coming to Congress.

At the North Building, she asked a man also in full camouflage military uniform if she has indeed reached the Mitra building. The man said. "Oo, Sundan mo ako."

But the man instead led her to the first floor of the same building, the North Wing, where the offices of the Representatives were. Because the hallway was dark, and remembering that the office of the CHTE was supposed to be in the third floor of the Mitra Building, she thanked the man and went up to the third floor of the North Wing which she was made to believe was the Mitra Building.

There she saw a man sleeping in the sofa near Congresswoman Imee Marcos's office. Confused, but not giving up, she made one more trip to the South Wing and doubled back to the North Wing thinking that Congressional staffers shall have come trickling in by that hour.

At the North Wing, the man in full camouflage military uniform, the same man who misled her into thinking she was in Mitra building was still there.

But this time, another man was with him. This man was sleeping on the sofa near the security desk. He was wearing a white T shirt with the words, V-PACK printed on the chest, light colored maong pants and combat boots. The young woman student also noticed, a pink and blue stripe handkerchief jutting out of his pants pocket.

She heard the man wearing camouflage military uniform berated the man in white not to sleep in the sofa near the security desk. The man obliged.

Pagkatapos nito, tinanong ang estudyanteng ito ng lalaking naka-camouflage kung sino siya sabay abot sa kanya ng logbook ng mga bisita. Sinabi naman ng niya ang kanyang pangalan. Pero nuong tanungin kung taga saan siya at ano ang pakay niya, sinagot niya na siya ay taga GABRIELA Youth. Hindi na siya pinag-log- in at pina-akyat na sa third floor.

Of course, the young woman wouldn't find the CHTE office in the third floor of the North Wing building, not in a million years.

By this time, she had enough, she went down and went out of the North Wing building, passing through the driveway of the Plenary Hall towards the parking lot when without provocation, her assailant, attacked her. Tinutukan at kinasahan siya ng isang armadong lalaking nakaputing T-shirt, maong pants at combat boots. The man also let out , "Mga salot kayo! Kayo ang dahilan ng gulo!" to the terrified 20 year old GABRIELA youth member who was pushed to the ground.

Napahiga sa halamanan ng Santan ang biktima sa pagkakahila sa kanyang braso ng umatake sa kanya, ngunit nakuha pa rin nitong magsalita. "sino ba kayo" sabay tabig sa baril na nakatutok sa kanyang noo. At saka lang umalis ang lalaki sa tabi niya at sumakay sa motorsiklong nakaparada sa parking lot.

To date, the young woman was so traumatized by the incident, she is undergoing counseling from a psychologist. Last Monday, she came here to retrace her steps and to submit to my office her account of the incident.

Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, It is unthinkable and unforgiveable that such violence happened inside the hallowed grounds of Congress.

Gabriela Women's Party has every reason to believe that the assailant has connections with the security detailed at the time of the incident. We have information that elements of the Special Action Force served as security at that time.

We would also like to take exception to the manner by which the security detail in the North Wing lobby misled the victim into thinking that the North building is actually the Mitra building which the victim was set to visit.

Thirdly, the assailant left in a motorcycle, a fact that has gotten prominence in the wake that the political killings are perpetrated by motorcycle-riding men. This adds to the chilling effect of the incident. It suggests that even Congress is not immune to the harassment and killings which characterize the political landscape at present.

How come, Mr. Speaker that this motorcycle riding gunman was able to have access to the grounds of Congress?

Mr. Speaker, distinguished colleagues, this serious breach of security commands our utmost attention. I urge this body to conduct an investigation into this incident and make appropriate actions and recommendations so that the security of every member and staff of the House of Representatives as well as those who visit our offices shall at all times be protected. Let us not allow this incident to happen again. #

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