Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Group pushing Ocampo’s disqualification says its members are former rebels

By Katherine Evangelista
First Posted 17:33:00 01/05/2010

Filed Under: Politics, Eleksyon 2010, Elections

Original Story: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20100105-245670/Group-pushing-Ocampos-disqualification-says-its-members-are-former-rebels

MANILA, Philippines – The complainants in the disqualification case of militant senatorial candidates have belied claims made by Representative Satur Ocampo that they are working for the Arroyo administration, saying that they are former members of the Communist Party of the Philippines – National Democratic Front (CPP-NDF).

In a phone interview on Tuesday, Krestoric Magbanua, spokesman of the People’s Advocacy for Collaboration and Empowerment (Peace), said that their group, numbering about 500 in Luzon alone, were former members of the CPP-NDF and the group’s militia, the New People’s Army (NPA).

Magbanua is the signatory of the disqualification case filed against Ocampo on November 1 last year and which was heard by the Commission on Elections Tuesday.
“Hindi po kami nagtatrabaho para sa gobyerno… naninindigan kami sa pagbabago at naniniwala kami na pwedeng maisulong ang pagbabago na hindi humahantong sa armadong pakikibaka (We don’t work for the government… we stand firm on change and we believe that we can push for change without it leading to armed conflict),” Magbanua told inquirer.net.

However, he did not deny that some of their members are rebel returnees who surrendered to the military to “start anew.”

In a separate text message, Magbanua said that he is a former member of the NPA’s Nilo Hatol Command, Melitor Command, Southern Tagalog Regional Party Committee.

“I went back to mainstream society together with my NPA child soldier wife in 2003,” he added in the text message.

In a separate statement, Peace president Agnes Lopez Reaño said that they have enough proof to back their claims that Ocampo is not fit to be a Senator since he allegedly protects members of the CPP-NDF and NPA rebels.

“Our organization can prove and testify the veracity of this claim. Some of our members during their stint as NPA fighters and regulars were supported in one way or another by these party list groups. Some were bailed out when they were arrested and detained, while sick or wounded members were provided medical attention during armed engagement against government troops. Up to this day, this situation remains,” Reaño said.

She added that the alleged continuous support of party-lists and their representatives to the CPP-NDF-NPA group indicate a mutual relationship.

“This only manifests that there are party-list groups in cahoots with these terrorists, who mutually benefit and compliment each other. The CPP/NPA/NDF needs legal organizations and institutions in order to lure the people to join and support them, while the party-list group needs an underground organization and armed group to ensure their victory during elections,” Reaño said

Likewise, the group also tagged other militant representatives like Teddy Casiño, Neri Javier Colmenares, Liza Maza, Luzviminda Ilagan, Rafael Mariano, Joel Maglunsod and Raymond Palatino as “social menaces” and “political leeches” who “make a mockery of our Constitution.”

“These political leeches, despite occupying positions in the government persistently refuse to condemn the wanton disregard of human rights and human rights violations committed by the CPP/NPA/NDF against hapless civilians, most especially among the toiling masses in the countryside,” Reaño said.

Ocampo, together with Maza, are running for senators under the Makabayan coalition and as guest candidates of Manny Villar’s Nacionalista Party.

Original Story: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/breakingnews/nation/view/20100105-245670/Group-pushing-Ocampos-disqualification-says-its-members-are-former-rebels

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