The operation by intelligence agents of the Armed Forces of the Philippines against the five supporters of former President Estrada was so crass that, in some portions, it looked like bad comedy.
Quezon City policeman Jose Curameng related that at the military headquarters they were brought to (after they were abducted at the house of Ver Eustaquio, chairman of the Union of the Masses for Democracy and Justice), his interrogators were forcing him to admit that he was a communist.
Curameng said, “I told them it was impossible because I’m a policeman.” His interrogator snarled at him, “Di, komunistang pulis. Kaliwang pulis. (A communist police. A leftist police.)”
Curameng, in his blue police uniform, looked aghast . Trained to fight lawless elements, which in police definition, include communists, “Komunistang pulis” was an oxymoron.
The same “communist” angle was also pursued by the interrogators on the four UMDJ members. Dennis Ibuna said they addressed him as “Kumander” and insisted that he was a member of the liquidation squad. They also asked him about the other names in the “hit list”.
Ruben Dionisio, who is still in the hospital with broken ribs and inflamed liver, had earlier told Eustaquio that he told his torturers he would admit to being a communist officer just to end the beating. But then, when asked about other members of the Metro-Rizal CPP chapter and could not produce, they resumed the beating.
The torture lasted three days until they were brought to the Department of Justice May 24, where they told they were being charged with rebellion for plotting to kill some members of the Arroyo Cabinet. Among the pieces of evidence presented was the service pistol of Curameng, which was confiscated by ISAFP agents when they were abducted.
Curameng said he has the memorandum receipt covering his service pistol.
Chairman Purificacion Quisumbing of the Commission on Human Rights, said the ISAFP agents are liable for a number of offenses from arising this operation. She mentioned trespassing, abduction, illegal arrest, detention, serious physical.
She said the fact that it was done in broad daylight showed the temerity of the operatives. She expressed concern that, if it could be done in Metro Manila to persons who have influential friends, what about those in the provinces who have no access to media and do not know personalities who will take up the cudgels for them?
The absence of military officials , who invoked the unconstitutional EO 464, in yesterday’s hearing only strengthened the public’s belief that the abduction was a government operation with the approval of the commander-in-chief.
The “communist” angle that ISAFP agents are pursuing connects with the series of killing of persons identified with progressive organizations or the Left, the latest of whom is Sotero Llamas, former leader of the New People’s Army in Bicol and consultant to the National Democratic Front in the peace negotiations with the government, who was gunned down the other day.
A reason is surfacing through all this madness. It all goes back to the illegitimacy of Gloria Arroyo’s presidency. She thinks she can erase that by suppressing dissent through EO 464, Calibrated Pre-emptive Response, Proclamation 1017 and Charter Change.
The Supreme Court has declared the first three illegal and unconstitutional. She will have to violate more laws to push through her Cha-Cha. Arroyo has reached a point where the only way for her to continue to hold on to power is to trash the law and be authoritarian to generate funds to pay those who prop her up or satisfy their demands in terms of positions and contracts.
The strategy is to create a situation of anarchy to justify the dictatorship that she is heading for.