BAYAN MUNA, represented by Rep. Neri Javier Colmenares, filed another complaint before the Ombudsman against the officers of the 27th Infantry Battalion in South Cotabato for illegal acts against Bayan Muna, Rep. Satur Ocampo and Liza Maza. This complaint is part of a series of complaints that will be filed before the courts asking that military officers be held criminally and administratively liable for partisan campaigning against progressive candidates, misuse of public funds and threats and intimidation. If found guilty, the accused military officers namely Lt. Col. Joshua Santiago, Lt. Lodge Pavillar and members of the 27th IB could spend at least six years in prison aside from being dishonorably discharged from the service.
The complaint stemmed from the illegal campaigning conducted by the military through the public film showing and seminars maligning progressive candidates and urging voters not to vote for them. The military also conducted a house to house vilification of Bayan Muna in the guise of a “census” particularly centered on members of these groups.
“The military has been doing these campaigns against us every election, but have been unsuccessful because voters trust Bayan Muna. Their fake Malacanang party list groups could not muster the support of the people despite the partisan support of the military.” said Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casino. “Most of the votes of Bayan Muna came from cities and urban areas like Metro Manila, and Comelec records will attest to this. The military who claims that we won because of NPA support is certainly misleading the people. Pres. Arroyo has withheld our PDAF since 2005, and not a single centavo has been given us since we signed the impeachment complaint against her. The allegation that we give our PDAF to the NPA is not merely faulty intelligence on the part of the military but pure malicious lies,” he added.
“We urge the Ombudsman to act immediately without delay as we fear these attacks against us will escalate before May 10. The house of a Bayan Muna officer in Aklan was bombed barely two days after I stayed in the place campaigning for Rep. Satur Ocampo, Rep. Liza Maza and Sen. Manny Villar. Many other acts of harassment are being conducted nationwide, and we were able to gather enough evidence to convict the perpetrators if only the Ombudsman will act seriously and fairly,” said Rep. Neri Colmenares, who represented Bayan Muna in the complaint. “With Pres. Arroyo on the way out, we are hoping for the investigation and imprisonment of those responsible for these attacks,” he added.
Bayan Muna is currently gathering evidence and preparing cases against military officials in 14 cities and provinces including Iloilo, La Union, Davao, Cagayan Valley, Cebu, Negros and Ilocos Sur. It has already filed criminal cases against a Major Arnaldo Manjares in Sorsogon. “We will continue to press for the arrest and imprisonment of these abusive military personnel. Just like the military officers sent to prison in many Latin American countries, many of these military men will face the courts and prison in a not-so-distant future,” vowed Rep. Colmenares. ###