The youth group Anakbayan slammed the arrest of an anti-mining activist in Cagayan province last Friday, the first ever under the Cybercrime Law despite a 120-day temporary restraining order (TRO), as ‘a preview of e-Martial Law’.
Esperlita Garcia, president of the Gonzaga Alliance for Environmental Protection and Preservation, was arrested on the basis of a libel suit filed by Gonzaga, Cagayan mayor Carlito Penetescoste Jr. The libel suit was based on a Facebook post by Garcia describing an anti-mining rally last year which was cancelled due to harassment by Penetescoste.
“This is a preview of what to expect once the TRO lapses: the Cybercrime Law will be unleashed by the Aquino regime against its countless critics and opponents” said Vencer Crisostomo, national chairperson of Anakbayan.
He said it was not surprising that an anti-mining activist is the first victim of ‘e-Martial Law’, considering the intensifying resistance nationwide against foreign, large-scale, destructive mining operations, and President Noynoy Aquino’s bias in favor of those.
Last Thursday, members of the 29th Infantry Battalion in South Cotabato massacred the family of an anti-mining leader of the B’laan tribe. The previous month, the 11 year-old son of an anti-mining leader of the Subanen tribe in Zamboanga was killed in an assassination attempt against the latter. Meanwhile, last March 5, paramilitary troops under the Armed Forces of the Philippines murdered an anti-mining Lumad leader in Bukidnon.
“With opponents of large-scale, destructive mining resorting to the Internet as a means of informing the public and gathering more support, the Cybercrime Law will be used to stomp out such tactics” said Crisostomo.
In preparation for 2013 elections?
Anakbayan expressed its concern that aside from being used against critics of various government programs and policies, the Cybercrime Law is part of a ‘grand plan’ to dominate and hijack the 2013 national elections.
“The fact that the TRO will expire right before the start of the election campaign period is telling” said Crisostomo.
“Noynoy knows that his regime is growing in unpopularity with every minute and that his senatoriables and partylists will be dumped by the people in 2013 as a ‘no-confidence vote’. He wants to deny them the Internet as a means of campaigning against him and his bets” explained the youth leader.