Trade Unions in Philippines say: “Arrest warrant vs. Ocampo, signals heightened tyranny under Duterte”

By May First Movement |
July 28, 2018
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Fight back News Service is circulating the following statement from the Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), or May First Movement, one of the largest industrial labor federations in the Philippines.

We condemn the issuance of an arrest warrant against activist leaders Satur Ocampo, Liza Maza, Teddy Casiño and Rafael Mariano.

The massive turnout of over 40,000 protesters during Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA) could only have frightened him and he is now intent on silencing his critics and suppressing the growing people’s movement against him. Through its modus operandi of filing bogus cases in far-flung areas — in this case, a Nueva Ecija regional trial court — the Duterte regime is once again exposed as a fascist would-be dictatorship.

It is no accident that the warrant was issued right after the SONA, when Duterte’s pro-US, pro-China, pro-elite, and anti-people statements further increased public opposition to his regime. The collusion between Duterte and convicted plunderer Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was also exposed with Arroyo’s forcible installation as House Speaker, leaving no doubt as to why these trumped-up cases against Ocampo, Maza, Casino, and Mariano have been suddenly resurrected.

Like Duterte, Arroyo was notorious for her repressive rule. It was under Arroyo that various trumped-up charges were first filed against these four activists. They were also part of the so-called “Batasan Five,” the group of five legislators who were forced to stay in protective custody at the House of Representatives for over two months in 2006, fighting against charges of being “conspirators” to overthrow then-President Arroyo.

Under the Duterte regime, three activist leaders of KMU have also been imprisoned through planted evidence and false, non-bailable charges: Rafael Baylosis, former KMU vice-chairperson for external and political affairs (arrested February 2018); Maojo Maga, KMU and PISTON organizer (February 2018); and Alexander “Bob” Reyes, organizer of KMU-National Capital Region (April 2018).

The objective of Duterte is to prevent activists from carrying out their responsibilities in the workers’ and the people’s movement to fight for human rights and genuine social change. In the coming days, as Duterte and Arroyo work together to railroad their anti-people charter change and consolidate their political power, we must be vigilant against the continued filing of fake cases against leaders of the opposition.

When Duterte blocked the resumption of peace talks in June, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) warned that the Duterte regime and the military would intensify their drive to significantly weaken the revolutionary movement over the next several months. The cases against Ocampo, Maza, Casino, and Mariano — all former legislators and leaders of mass organizations — alarmingly shows that the tyrannical Duterte regime makes no distinction between NDFP personnel and activists of legal people’s organizations.

We call for the junking of the arrest warrant versus all four activists, and the dismissal of the trumped-up charges on which it is based. We also call for the junking of all similarly bogus cases against other political prisoners and targets for persecution of the regime. Hands off activists! Free all labor rights defenders and all political prisoners!


Like a beast fearing its death, the Duterte regime is becoming more brutal towards its enemies – its critics and the people. We urge the Filipino workers and people, and the workers and people of the world, to speak out and intensify our struggle against the fascist dictatorship of Rodrigo Duterte.