Filipino Social Democrats lying to the world about themselves and their attacks on Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and Gabriela

The Partido Demokratiko Sosyalista ng Pilipinas (PDSP, Filipino Social Democratic Party) should be honest in its public declarations. It should always predicate in its statement the fact that it is a junior partner in the Arroyo government and that its party president, Norberto Gonzales, is the government’s current National Security Adviser.

The PDSP, PDSP founding chairman Fr. Romeo Intengan and Gonzales should be honest. They should not lie to the public about the nature of their party. They should publicly declare that they are part of the Arroyo government which our parties and the majority of our people seek to oust for its acts of lying, cheating, stealing and suppressing the people. They should admit that our parties are being persecuted not so much because we are alleged to be communist fronts, but because of our leading and prominent roles in the growing nationwide oust-Arroyo movement. This movement includes those who condemn the Arroyo government for its blind support to the US war of terrorism and other dictates of US imperial power. The PDSP, of late, continues to champion the McCarthyite and anti-democratic policy of discrediting and silencing the Philippine Left in Congress and in the Parliament of the Streets.

The latter — the political persecution of perceived “leftist” activists — is what’s taking up most of the time of the PDSP and Mr. Gonzales lately. Through its founding chair Fr. Romeo Intengan, the PDSP is on a rampage through the US Indymedia portal and local Philippine media, accusing Bayan Muna of so many unproven crimes while assuring them of due process vis-a-vis the trumped-up rebellion case filed by the government against six duly-elected Members of Congress.

Intengan is the author of a study on the capability of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, where it mentioned in a few paragraphs the military claim that the six partylist congresspersons were guilty of misusing public funds and that these were diverted to the armed rebellion of the Communist Party of the Philippines. Intengan did not present any proof to back up the allegation. (By the way, current PDSP party chairman Norberto Gonzales wrote an introduction to the Intengan study in his capacity as National Security Adviser).

What due process Intengan is talking about, only he knows. For on February 25, 2006, Anakpawis (Toiling Masses) Partylist Representative Crispin Beltran fell victim to illegal and warrantless arrest. Upon reaching Camp Crame, the headquarters of the Philippine National Police, Beltran was shown a copy of an old arrest warrant, issued in connection with a case of inciting to rebellion in 1985, when he was one of the fiery leaders of the militant Kilusang Mayo Uno (May First Movement Labor Center). As a Member of Congress, Beltran has the privilege of parliamentary immunity against arrests for crimes with a maximum penalty of six years. But upon realizing the case of inciting to sedition filed by the Marcos dictatorship carries a maximum penalty of only less than six years, the PNP and the Department of Justice swiftly filed a rebellion case against Beltran. Beltran has since been illegally detained without any judicial order. The PDSP, Intengan and Gonzales were silent over Beltran’s fate. They did not raise a howl or even a peep over the illegal and arbitrary arrest and detention of Beltran.

On the same day Beltran was arrested, the police also attempted to illegally arrest Satur Ocampo, another Member of Congress belonging to Bayan Muna (People First). His four other companions also escaped Beltran’s fate.

The five later resurfaced in Congress, and won protective custody under the House of Representatives through a unanimously-adopted resolution that said that no congressperson may be arrested without a warrant of arrest The PDSP, who claims to have members in Congress, was likewise silent over the attempts to illegally arrest Ocampo et al, who have come to be known as the Batasan 5. In fact, the PDSP is wrongly depicting the House protective custody as something else. Gonzales claims that the Batasan 5 hid in Batasan, when in fact the House protected them against warrantless arrest ordered by Gonzales’ own government.

Gonzales recently boasted that a new rebellion case will be filed against the Batasan 5. He alleges that the Batasan 5 are high-ranking members of the Communist Party of the Philippines, and should be held accountable for crimes against the Philippine republic. He continues to loudly claim that Bayan Muna, Anakpawis and the Gabriela Women’s Party are communist fronts, and not the duly-elected partylist organizations they truly are. Incidentally, the PDSP of both Gonzales and Intengan ran and lost in two consecutive partylist elections (1998 and 2001). The PDSP has since been disqualified from running in the polls.

The PDSP chairman and National Security Adviser is likewise silent on the unresolved and continuing murders of activists. Since 2001, when Arroyo assumed the presidency, 566 activists belonging to various activist organizations have been summarily executed. Among them are 93 members of Bayan Muna, including three coordinators killed last week and last night.

This Gonzales is also not merely the National Security Adviser. He is also chair of the National Intelligence Board. Recently, he is also the chair of an Inter-Agency Legal Action Group (IALAG) formed under Arroyo’s Executive Order 493. This IALAG is composed of the AFP, the Philippine National Police, the Department of Justice, the Department of National Defense, the Intelligence Service of the AFP (ISAFP), the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the PNP (PNP-CIDG) . Its task is to coordinate the investigation and prosecution of cases involving national security, including rebellion and sedition. In a recent speech before AFP personnel in Mindanao, Gonzales boasted that the rebellion case against the Batasan 5 is the “first major accomplishment” of the IALAG. The Gonzales-led IALAG reports directly to and is supervised by the National Intelligence Board chaired by Gonzales himself. Under the IALAG, the justice system is being short-circuited to suit the whims of the anti-Left, anti-due process Gonzales.

Many members of the Socialist International, the global group of socialist and social democratic parties, have assailed the rough treatment and the lack of due process in the case of Beltran and the Batasan 5. Scores of members of the British Labor Party, for instance, have signed a resolution before Parliament, seeking Beltran’s release and a halt to the politically-motivated attacks on the Batasan 5. In the Kenya meeting of the Inter-Parliamentary Union which was hosted last year by the Philippines, the IPU’s committee on human rights of parliamentarians has asked the Arroyo government to release Beltran. Indeed, there are limits to the lies and deception of the PDSP and the Arroyo government. It may fool some, but it cannot fool the world.

Given these, I dare say that the PDSP is as discredited as the Arroyo government it serves. It has no integrity or credibility to speak of. It cannot even claim to be genuinely socialist or democratic.