Tribune Raided, Ka Bel Arrested

After Procalamation 1017, the biggest news today are the police raid of pro-Estrada newspaper Daily Tribune, the arrest of Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran, and attempts to get other opposition figures.

Manila police raided and closed the Tribune office in Manila after midnight today, according to news reports.

Tribune editor Niñez Cacho Olivarez, one of the journalists who dared to criticize Marcos during martial law, said she will go to Supreme Court if the government will shut down the Tribune.

“Its just like Marcos all over again. It won’t be long before they start ringing editors and asking them to fire columnists or writers they consider to be againt them,” she added.

Independent newsmagazine Newsbreak expressed its alarm over the Tribune raid. “We view the raid on Tribune, an opposition newspaper, with alarm. It appears to signal the start of a crackdown on media organizations.” Newspaper columnist Manolo Quezon said he shares the Newsbreak statement.

For their part, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemned “in strongest words possible the Friday night raid by government troops of the office of the Daily Tribune newspaper, and the sending of troops to ‘watch’ over broadcast stations, ABS-CBN and GMA7.”

Meanwhile, Bayan Muna also strongly condemned the arrest of Rep. Beltran and the attempted but foiled arrest of House Deputy Minority Leader Satur Ocampo, Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, Anakpawis Rep. Rafael Mariano and Gabriela Rep. Liza Maza.

“President Arroyo and her ultra-rightist government should desist from making new arrests. The nation and the world is watching. They will not allow a wholesale massacre of civil liberties for the self-serving purpose of perpetuating her hated usurpation of the presidency,” said Bayan Deputy Secretary-General Robert de Castro.

“We challenge Speaker Jose de Venecia and the entire House to join us in condemning the arrest of Congressman Beltran and the attempted arrest of House Deputy Minority Leader Ocampo and three other partylist representatives. This is a clear violation of Article VI Section 11 that protects Members of Congress, and the Bill of Rights,” De Castro said.

I could only nod in agreement with what the Unlawyer wrote: It’s “1972 all over again”. Ironically, what we ended before returned exactly 20 years later.

“Hello Garci” angered us, but it made us laugh, too. But Proclamation 1017, this is no longer amusing.

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