Targeting Ka Satur

Bayan Muna Rep. Satur Ocampo is again in hiding, this time after he and other legal and underground militant leaders were charged for the killing almost two decades ago of suspected deep penetration in Leyte. Funny how the world turns.

This is Ka Satur’s, what, third? I mean, if I remember it right, he was also arrested by forces of the unlamented regime of Ferdinand Marcos. And even after the democratic space expanded after the 1986 Edsa People Power uprising ousted Marcos from his perch, I think he still landed in jail for his “left-leaning” beliefs. Now this?

If Ka Satur surrenders or the military manages to arrest him, he won’t be lonely. Still under “hospital” detention is Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran. Didn’t Beltran and other Kilusang Mayo Uno leaders like Felixberto Olalia also suffer under the Marcos regime? So maybe we’re going full circle. As Tagalogs would put it, “tapos na ang mga maligayang araw.”

But the predicament of Ka Satur and Ka Bel is definitely better than those less prominent leaders of legal militant groups being shot down one by one throughout the country. This means that, when they are not being killed, leaders of legal militant groups are being hauled to court. Truly, these are not good times for those advancing above ground the struggle for national freedom and democracy.

I would say that I am now old enough to know that history swings like a pendulum, from the right to the left. It looks like rightist elements in the Arroyo administration are gaining control, a development that is eerily similar to the time Corazon Aquino took over from Marcos and parried one coup attempts after another. That effectively pushed Aquino, who headed a rainbow coalition, to the right. What followed was an intensified counter-insurgency operation that also hit legal militant leaders.

There is no question now that the Arroyo administration is moving further to the right, especially after civil society or progressive types in her Cabinet resigned after the “Garci tape” scandal. Ka Satur and the others will have to brace for the worst. But who said that advancing causes is one smooth ride?

-Candido O. Wenceslao, March 10, 2007

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