By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez
Last updated 09:03pm (Mla time) 03/09/2007
MANILA, Philippines -- Beleaguered Bayan Muna (People First) Representative Satur Ocampo has found an ally in Senator Joker Arroyo, who criticized the government for reviving old cases against the militant lawmaker and Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran.
In a statement, Arroyo said there was something "grievously wrong" about the standing warrant of arrest against Ocampo and the continued detention of Beltran at the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City for crimes allegedly committed during the martial law years or before the first EDSA uprising in 1986.
"The Armed Services must re-think its position," said Senator Arroyo, a candidate of the administration’s TEAM Unity ticket.
"It has a responsibility to protect the State and the people from current elements that would want to subvert its authority; at the same time, it has also a duty to adhere to established government policy that what is past is past, otherwise, there will be no stability in government policy," he said.
A warrant of arrest has been issued against Ocampo for his alleged involvement in the purging of his comrades during the martial law years.
Ocampo was formerly spokesman of the National Democratic Front, the political front of the communists.
The Communist Party of the Philippines had ordered the purging of rebels suspected of being deep penetration agents of the Marcos government.
Senator Arroyo said past presidents Corazon Aquino and Fidel Ramos had made policy positions designed to "put to rest the past adventurisms of the Left and Right."
"The Armed services must restrain itself from digging into the past, which was intended to be buried by past administrations," he said.
Arroyo was a human rights lawyer under the Marcos regime. He served as executive secretary during the Aquino administration.
When Aquino came to power, Arroyo said Proclamation No. 2, the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus, which had been blamed for numerous human rights violations, had been lifted.
"That operated to free all political prisoners who were incarcerated in various military stockades. That amounted to a policy statement that those who were arrested and detained for going against the martial law authorities were free for so long as this time they did not go against the present [Aquino] government," he said.
When Ramos came to power, Arroyo said the former president certified a law repealing the Anti-Subversion Act, which not only benefited the Left but the rightist elements who rebelled against the Aquino administration, including then Colonel Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan.
"That even enabled the detained Gringo Honasan to run and win a seat in the Senate," he said.
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