Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares accused the Duterte administration of treating dissent as a crime, denouncing the arrest of nine members of militant groups in a series of operations by the military.
At a forum at the University Hotel at the Diliman campus of the University of the Philippines, Colmenares said members of Gabriela, Anak-pawis and Bayan Muna were arrested in separate military operations.
Mine activists from these organizations were arrested in a series of operations launched by the military since the previous week. Among those arrested was Adelberto Silva, who was accused of possessing a .45-caliber pistol, rifle, hand grenade and an improvised explosive device.
Activists are being treated as criminals,” he said at the forum.
“This is not just a threat to activists but also for ordinary citizens, who protest increases in prices,” he added.
Colmenares, a senatorial candidate, also denounced Malacañang for a crackdown on activists, which included a plan to form a task force to end insurgency by the end of 2018.
He said the military had branded those protesting high prices and abuses as communists.
“That is the mindset of the military,” Colmenares said. “That is the thinking” of President Rodrigo Duterte, he added.
“Malacañang is the mastermind of the crackdown on political dissent,” he said.
Gabriela Rep. Emmi de Jesus agreed with Colmenares, saying the treatment of activists as criminals showed the tyrannical rule of the Duterte administration.
“We can now feel how tyrannical this government is,” she said at the same forum. (First published in Inquirer.net)