BAYAN condemns arrest of people’s lawyer Atty. Remigio Saladero, continuing attacks on activists

October 24, 2008
Reference: Dr. Carol Pagaduan-Araullo, Chairperson

The Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) condemns in strongest terms the arrest of Atty. Remigio Saladero on trumped-up charges of multiple murder in Mindoro. As of this morning, he is being held by police and military forces in a red Toyota vehicle supposedly bound to Mindoro.

The arrest of Atty. Saladero is clearly a case of political persecution. A few weeks before his arrest, Atty. Saladero together with twenty-six leaders and members of people’s organizations in Southern Tagalog, was charged with arson, destruction of property and conspiracy to commit rebellion. They were accused of being members of the New People’s Army (NPA) who allegedly blew up a Globe cell site in Batangas. The enforced disappearance of James Balao in Cordillera, the abduction and torture of 9 peasants in Cavite and this latest arrest of Atty. Saladero prove that political repression in the country remains even as the cases of extrajudicial killings declined after drawing outrage both in the Philippines and the international community.

Atty. Saladero’s clients are workers victimized by low wages and unjust working conditions. His detention will mean depriving the poor of a lawyer who humbly renders his free legal services at the risk of harassment and grave persecution.

Bayan joins the family of Atty. Saladero in demanding the PNP to drop the false charges against Atty. Saladero, to release him immediately and to abort any plan of unlawfully arresting other activists. Bayan also calls on international lawyers groups and human rights defenders to join the Filipino people in demanding the Arroyo regime to release Atty. Saladero. He is neither a murderer nor an arsonist. It is the Arroyos, police and military forces involved in large-scale corruption and human rights violations who deserve to be arrested and jailed for their multiple crimes against the Filipino people.

The Arroyo regime appears to be poised for more attacks on activists as it faces continuing protests for worsening economic crisis, unresolved cases of corruption and human rights violations. Bayan calls on its allied organizations to step up their campaign against the fascist attacks of this regime which aims to cripple the mass organizations that are at the forefront of people’s struggle for land, jobs, dignity, freedom, sovereignty, democracy and social justice. #

Cited as one of notable San Beda College alumni, Atty. Saladero is the Chief Legal Counsel of Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU) who defended the late Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran against fabricated charges by the Arroyo regime. Aside from handling numerous labor cases, Atty. Saladero represented KMU in challenging the constitutionality of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Proclamation 1017 that placed the country under a state of national emergency and gave powers to Arroyo similar to what the late president Ferdinand Marcos had when he declared martial law.

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