AFP not treating dissent as crime

MANILAThe Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) cried foul over allegations that the government, particularly the military, is "treating dissent as a crime".

The AFP made the statement in response to former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares' condemnation of the arrest of Gabriela, Anakpawis and Bayan Muna members and that of National Democratic Front peace consultant Adelberto Silva last week.

"To say that government, AFP included, 'is treating dissent as a crime' is a misleading if not a malicious imputation," AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a message sent to reporters Sunday.

In arresting persons with standing warrants of arrest for 15 counts of murder and a host of others, such as illegally carrying firearms, ammunitions, and explosives when accosted in a joint AFP-PNP checkpoint, it is not criminalizing a certain militant group of people, he added.

"The operations actually upheld the law and protected the Filipino people at large�it doesn't matter whether such group of people is comprised of 'mere activists' or a 'consultant in a peace negotiation'," Arevalo stressed.

He noted that the court's order to release the accused since the charges were set for further investigation doesn't make the case filed against them flawed, the AFP spokesperson added.

"It is due process at work. It is a test of probable cause at its best! And the AFP vows to the majesty of the law and of the courts as the AFP has always been," he emphasized.

Also, Arevalo clarified that no one is above the law.

"'We are', as that old adage says, 'a government of laws and not of men.'," he added.

While Filipinos are discerning and intelligent, Arevalo said the people must be guarded against terrorist propaganda propagated by many voices and myriad faces pretending to be champions of human rights and civil liberties. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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