Anti-Bongbong campaign launched

(The Freeman) - February 25, 2016 - 9:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Former detainees and torture victims during the Martial Law era, as well as human rights advocates and students’ groups in Cebu forged a united opposition against the candidacy of Senator Bongbong Marcos and launched it in time for the 30th anniversary of the People Power Revolution yesterday.

 At least 15 anti-Marcos groups and civic organizations came in full force to voice out their anger on the attempt of the Marcoses to return to the Palace, prompting the formation of an Anti-Bongbong Marcos Coalition (ABC) in Cebu.

 The groups include, among others, the Samahan ng mga Ex-Detainees Laban sa Detensyon at Aresto (SELDA), Anakbayan, Sanlakas, Sanlakas Youth, Student Alliance for Nationalism and Democracy of the University of San Carlos, and the Kabataan Partylist.

 ABC started the movement reportedly out of fear and threat over the possible takeover of the government with the recent high rating of Bongbong in the vice presidential race.

 The result of a recent survey showed a dramatic increase in voter approval with 25 percent for Marcos, a close second to vice presidential candidate and fellow senator Chiz Escudero, who led with 28 percent, according to the Business World on a Social Weather Station report.

 “For so long, we who struggled to end the Marcos dictatorship faded into the background. But today, the anti-Marcos forces have awakened,” ABC said.

 The ABC is a coalition similar to a newly-formed leftist umbrella organization in Quezon City - CARMMA, which stands for Campaign Against the Return of the Marcoses to Malacañang.

In a manifesto, ABC said it will impede Bongbong’s plan to return to Malacañang.

 “We lament that 30 years after Edsa, the democracy we won remains flawed. But moving on should not mean, allowing dictatorship to crawl out zombie-like from the grave. Moving on means struggling to make democracy stronger,” it read.

 ABC recounted how two people disappeared in Ilocos Norte in 1985-86 when Bongbong reigned as governor.

 The statement alleged that Bongbong greatly benefited from the ill-gotten and plundered wealth of his father being the only heir.

It said they are not anti-Marcos because they want money or they want to be in the Malacañang, but to continue the freedom and democracy of Filipinos.

 “We will again unite with the Filipino people in strengthening democracy by foiling the return of the dictator’s unrepentant son,” the coalition said.

 ABC will convene at 1 p.m. this Saturday, February 27 at the Cebu Sports Club for the formal launching of the coa-lition and its first assembly.

Former detainees during the Martial Law, retired Regional Trial Court Judge Meinrado Paredes and Romulos Dingcong, are backing the creation of the coalition.

They said Filipinos should stand up again against the Marcoses, and dictatorship and human rights violations by not electing Bongbong.

 Dingcong, now 63, used to be a “Martial Law fighter” who initiated rallies and crusade against Marcos regime in Negros Occidental. He was 19-year-old and led the Student Supreme Council of the Colegio de San Agustin- Recoletos and chairman of the Kabataang Makabayan in Bacolod City.

 President Ferdinand Marcos’ ruling by decree through the declaration of Martial law on September 21, 1972 under Proclamation 1081, curtailed press freedom and other civil liberties; closed down Congress and media establishments; and ordered the arrest of opposition leaders and militant activists including Dingcong and Paredes.

 But Dingcong escaped and went to the mountains even before Marcos’ cronies and armed men came to arrest him.

 He was in hiding for two years. Unfortunately, on June 4, 1974, armed men got a tip of his whereabouts and arrested him. He was tortured before he was brought to Cebu City’s Camp Sergio Osmeña and later transferred to Camp Lapu-Lapu.

 He was imprisoned for three years before a release order was issued in March 1977.  However, he was prohibited to return to Negros.

 Similar to Dingcong, Paredes was detained for one year without reason. Paredes is anti-Marcos and fought for the freedom of 42 farmers from Balamban, Cebu charged of rebellion.

Paredes said that Bongbong is entitled to his right to run, but they will be in the forefront in campaigning against him, especially that the senator has glorified the regime of his father.

Paredes recounted how difficult it was for him inside detention during the Martial Law. He urges young Cebuanos to read about the past and know the struggles that resulted to the freedom that the country is enjoying now.

The ABC is composed of those detained and relatives of those detained as well as missing persons during the Martial Law.  (FREEMAN)


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