Killing, red tagging, possible disenfranchisement mar 2016 elections

Karapatan today called on the people to be vigilant of the maneuvers by the Aquino regime to ensure the victory of the Liberal Party candidates, the flag-bearers of the blood-stained “tuwid na daan.”

“Days prior to the May 9 elections, red tagging and harassment of progressive candidates, partylist groups and their supporters had been documented, including the killing of Emil Go,  a volunteer for the Cerbito for Governor Movement in Northern Samar. The evacuees at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines-Haran in Davao City and those at the Tandag Sports Complex may also face possible disenfranchisement,” said Karapatan Secretary General Cristina Palabay.   

Karapatan condemns the killing of Emil Go who was shot to death on April 29, 2016, at around 5:30 a.m. by two men on board a motorcycle. He was a Sangguniang Bayan (SB) Secretary at Brgy. Tinampo, Palapag, Northern Samar, and an active supporter of Fr. Walter Cerbito, an independent gubernatorial candidate challenging the incumbent governor, Jose Ong under the Daza-Ong coalition. Fr. Walter Cerbito’s candidacy has gathered broad support with his crusade against political dynasties, corruption, human rights violations, and moral degeneration.  Fr. Cerbito himself is a subject of red tagging, with leaflets linking him to the New People’s Army being distributed. On April 29, 2016, even after the death of Emil Go, another campaign organizer was harassed by two armed men near the Cerbito for Governor Movement office in Catarman.

“As the violent and fraudulent character of this electoral process unfold and intensify, we call on everyone to be on guard against efforts to curtail our right to vote. Please join us in calling for an end to the string of violence, harassments and red-tagging done against persons and groups to smear legitimate electoral campaigns that put forward the advocacies of peoples and sectors,” Palabay added.  

Other forms of harassment against progressive candidates and partylist groups abound online and through text messaging. Makabayan senatorial bet and the 11 partylist groups under the Makabayan coalition are subjected to red baiting, linking them to the communist movement, to dissuade voters and supporters.

“We are also concerned with the on-going military operations as possible excuse to disenfranchise voters in the rural areas, and those who are already in the evacuation centers in UCCP-Haran and Tandag City,” said Palabay.  

At least 100 out of the 360 remaining evacuees in UCCP-Haran face possible disenfranchisement, because there was “no mechanism arranged for them to be able to register their votes.” A mechanism is said to be in place for the Tandag evacuees to cast their votes on May 9, “but it remains to be seen if this mechanism works on election day,” she added.

With all the dirty tactics surrounding it, the election remains a mechanism for the ruling elite to determine who among them will hold power for the next six years. Ultimately, our fate lies in our collective capacity to demand and work for change,” ended Palabay. ###