(The following statement is a response to the recent filing of trumped-up criminal charges by the Armed Forces of the Philippines against members of Karapatan-Quezon)
Press Statement | June 21, 2012
Should we ever trust the military? Lessons from the past tell us that whatever credibility it pretends to have has already gone down the drain.
Karapatan-Southern Tagalog holds in custody several pieces of evidence that absolves it from the military’s baseless allegations, including videos and written testimonies taken and gathered before Franklin Barrera disappeared again on June 10, 2012, to reappear later to recant his earlier testimony that indemnifies the military. We fear no litigation, for we know that we have done no wrong. It’s the military that should be afraid.
The rehashed tactic of the military of filing trump-up charges against human rights workers and members of progressive groups, as what was done to members of the Southern Tagalog 72 and Morong 43, is doomed to fail. This dirty tactic is done merely to discredit the people’s intensifying effort to oust the eight battalions of AFP, police and CAFGU elements that today plague the 22 towns of South Quezon, leaving on their wake a growing number of rights abuses against the very people that they have sworn to serve.
Doubtless, something happened between Franklin Barrera’s rescue by Karapatan-ST last July 7 and his second disappearance last June 10, and whatever it is, the damning finger points straight at military elements under the 85th Infantry Battalion of the AFP. We suspect torture and psy-ops committed against his person to force him to compromise the safety of his former colleagues.
Barrera is merely a victim of the government’s destructive thrust to quell the legitimate struggle of the people for their democratic rights, which is encapsulated in its counterinsurgency plan with the most ironic name, Oplan Bayanihan. We call on him to finally tell the truth behind his abduction.
We condemn, in the strongest possible terms, this cheap tactic by the AFP calculated to deter any efforts by pro-people groups to expose the war they are waging against the people under the guise of “peace and development programs”. The people will not be easily swayed by the military’s smear campaign, for they know better.
Secretary General | Karapatan-Southern Tagalog
Convenor | Save Bondoc Peninsula Movement
Below is the raw video interview of Franklin Barrera on June 8, 2012, 2 days before he went missing the second time.