For this, I offer Ka Satur a bunch of beautiful chrysanthemums (?) for showing Pinoys how to stand up and step on such a horrible beast that operate under the names “Arroyo government” and “Department of Justice”.
Here’s the official Bayan Muna press release:
Tokyo-bound Ocampo foils Gonzalez’s last-ditch maneuver at NAIA
Justice Sec. Raul Gonzalez tried his worst – hoping to require House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Representative Satur C. Ocampo to sign an affidavit pledging to refrain from criticizing the Arroyo government while in Japan and to return to the country – but he failed.
Ocampo practically breezed through the strict check-in procedures of Northwest Airlines, only to be surprised by Gonzalez’s last-ditch effort to harass him at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport immigration counter.
Gonzalez yesterday publicly announced that he will allow Ocampo to leave the country once he presents a court order even as he said that the Opposition leader deserves to be barred because he criticizes the Arroyo government in all his foreign trips.
Armed by a written court order from Judge Cesar Untalan of the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 150, an indignant Ocampo told immigration officers: “If I don’t sign that waiver, will you stop me again?”
Judge Untalan issued the written order yesterday, a day after he approved Ocampo’s motion for travel clearance in an open court proceeding. Gonzalez refused the recognize the oral order while at the same time failed to present a court order backing the secretary’s order to include Ocampo in the DOJ’s hold-departure list.
Ocampo said the immigration officer had no choice but to respect and abide by Untalan’s order, and to ignore Gonzalez’s antics. The immigration officer made frantic calls to Gonzalez and perhaps sensing that further harassment of Ocampo is a lost cause, the activist solon’s passport was stamped appropriately and permitted to board Northwest Airlines flight NW 020 bound for Tokyo.
“This so-called waiver or affidavit that Gonzalez wishes to obtain from me is nonsense. He should likewise respect a valid order from a proper court,” said Ocampo.
Asked by television news reporters at NAIA about the filing of appropriate charges against Gonzalez, Ocampo said that Bayan Muna general counsel Neri Javier Colmenares and other lawyers are studying all possible options.
While in Japan, Ocampo will meet with leaders of the Social Democratic Party which has six members in the Japanese Diet (Parliament), Japanese solidarity groups, and several Filipino migrant organizations. He will also address a conference on the Philippine human rights situation. The solon will likewise spend time with his grandson who lives in Tokyo.What waiver?
For his part, Colmenares challenged Gonzalez to present to the media and the public the alleged waiver signed by Ocampo prior to his recent foreign travels. The justice secretary claimed that Ocampo violated the waiver that purportedly contained a pledge that the solon will not criticize the country while abroad.
“Secretary Gonzalez should show that waiver to the public. Ka Satur will never agree to surrendering or curtailing his fundamental rights especially the rights to free speech and to seek redress of grievances against this rotten government,” said Ocampo.
According to Colmenares, news of yesterday’s barring of Ocampo’s travel on orders of Gonzalez will be relayed to the Inter-Parliamentary Union, Amnesty International, United Nations human rights bodies and other interested parties as “solid proof of the Arroyo government’s policy of persecution against progressive legislators, activists and other perceived foes of the president.”