Rural groups launched “Palparan sa Kulungan, Hindi sa Kongreso” campaign

Rural groups launched “Palparan sa Kulungan, Hindi sa Kongreso” campaign

Leaders of the left-leaning fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), the Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), the Unyon ng mga Manggagawa sa Agrikultura (UMA), the peasant women federation Amihan and the Southern Tagalog-based Katipunan ng Samahang Magbubukid sa Timog Katagalugan (Kasama-TK) on Saturday announced the launching of “Palparan Sa Kulungan, Hindi sa Kongreso” campaign.

KMP vice chairperson and Kasama-TK spokesperson Imelda Lacandazo the public launching of the campaign will officially begin on Monday and will extend up to the electoral campaign in 2010 elections next year.

For a start, Lacandazo said on Monday, farmers and fisherfolk activists camping-out by the gates of the House of Representatives will burn 100 paper bonds bearing the demonized face of recently proclaimed Bantay party list representative former Army Major Gen. Jovito Palparan.

“The Palparan Sa Kulungan, Hindi sa Kongreso campaign is part of our protracted battle for justice. The campaign will constitute protest actions, signature campaign and lobbying inside the House of Representatives where we will convince other members of Congress to cross party lines and kick out this criminal and bogus party list representative from the Lower Chamber of Congress,” Lacandazo said.

“We will not allow this evil to continue his platform of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and state terrorism,” the KMP leader said.

Lacandazo said a signature campaign calling for the ouster of Palparan will be piloted in selected provinces of Southern Tagalog, which were tormented and terrorized by the former army general namely Cavite, Laguna, Rizal, Quezon, Batangas, Mindoro Oriental and Mindoro Occidental where controversial military general launched the brutal campaign against political activists.

She said two of the most noted victims of Palparan were human rights activist Eden Marcellana of Karapatan-Southern Tagalog and peasant leader Eddie Gumanoy of Kasama-TK. Both leaders were killed on April 2003 in Mindoro Oriental while leading a fact-finding mission on alleged atrocities committed by the military under the command of Palparan.

Citing a report from Karapatan, Lacandazo said 165 victims of the total 991 victims of extrajudicial killings came from the region.

Pamalakaya national chair Fernando Hicap said their move to expel Palparan from Congress has a fighting chance because last Feb., 40 congressmen crossed party lines and signed a resolution
opposing the appointment of Palparan to any government post.

Hicap was referring to House Resolution 999 in Congress that was filed at the time that the controversial retired military official will be assigned to either the Dangerous Drugs Board (DDB) or the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA). The resolution states that “Palparan’s possible appointment is another knee-jerk reaction to government’s failure to effectively address the drug problem.”

“We have a fighting chance. We will write and talk to friendly congressmen to join our cause against Palparan and support another resolution calling for the expulsion of a political criminal and terrorist at large. It is long a way to go, but painstaking work and our justice driven campaign will convince other lawmakers to junk Palparan and send him behind bars instead,” the Pamalakaya leader said.

The resolution, according to groups was initiated by Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo, was signed by 40 others from Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Anakpawis, Partido ng Masang Pilipino, Nacionalista Party, Lakas-CMD Balane, Liberal Party, CIBAC, An Waray, Anak Mindanao, Kampi, Nationalist People’s Coalition, Partido Demokratiko-Sosyalista ng Pilipinas, and Laban ng Demokratikong Pilipino.

The measure cited as basis Palparan’s alleged involvement in the proliferation of extrajudicial killings in areas where he was assigned during his stint in the military, particularly in Southern Tagalog, Eastern Visayas, and Central Luzon areas. #

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