Monday, February 15, 2010

Paranoid AFP 2nd Division must free Morong 43 Now!

They are supposed to be the protectors of the Filipino People. Yet, the way the 2nd Infantry Division of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) acted in response to the order of the Courts for them to release the Morong 43 shows a clear contempt to the rule of Law and of the Constitution which the AFP has sworn to defend and protect. As what former Defense chief Gilbert Teodoro said, the AFP's failure to produce the Morong 43 is "inexcusable."

What are they trying to prove?

The behavior exhibited by the 2nd Division is mutinous to say the least. They have been given an order by a highly competent civilian authority and further given orders from the AFP Chief of Staff himself, General Victor Ibrado to "respect the authority of the court". Why is there a failure to obey the order of the C-S himself?
Is the 2nd Division higher than the Chief of Staff? Is this division of the Army directly contravening the very authority of the Highest Officer of the organization? And is the Army saying or telling us that the C-S is just a lame duck officer, just waiting for his replacement?

The overzealousness of the 2nd division to "produce results" in the promise to "eradicate the CPP-NPA terror organization in 2010" shows you how they will even resort to violating human rights just to bolster their record in the anti-insurgency department. The AFP just gave itself a task, a task which is quite impossible to achieve, yet given after being forced by the Arroyo administration, and that promise is, the total diminution of the CPP-NPA-NDF by year's end.

That's why the officers on the ground are getting extremely paranoid, arresting even health workers in Morong Rizal. These health workers, government employees at that, were attending a seminar when they were arrested. The 2nd division said these workers were Communist sympathizers. 

Whether or not these arrested health workers do sympathize with the Communist ideology, fact is, these arresting officers do not have the right to arrest them.

Firstly, attending a supposed "CPP-NPA_NDF" seminar is NOT A CRIME. It is everybody's right to believe in something, and Communism has been de-criminalized. That is presuming that these health workers did attend such a seminar. Reports say, these workers were conducting a health-related seminar.

Secondly, even if, granting they are sympathizers, this is an inviolable human right. As I said, the 1987 Constitution respects the rights of the individual to free expression. Like how AFP members have the right to join organizations such as the Guardians, Masons and the YOU, these health workers have rights too. 

Thirdly, the AFP only has the right to arrest these workers if they saw them brandishing weapons and declaring or publicly announcing rebellion against the State. Facts are, these health workers did not do anything rebellious nor seditious. They were just doing their jobs when they were arrested by the AFP soldiers.

The means does not justify the ends. And in all likelihood, even the determination of the "ends", there was confusion on the part of the soldiers. And really, I don't blame them.

Imagine being given an "impossible order" to wipe out the Communists before the end of this year? Who will not be crazy enough to arrest everybody just to say that they did, indeed, eradicated the Reds in Rizal?