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Gabriela denounces arrest of another labor organizer 

LABOR groups during a Nov. 30, 2020 rally at the UP Diliman campus — PHILIPPINE STAR/ MICHAEL VARCAS

GABRIELA Women’s Party-list denounced the recent arrest of labor organizer Benjamin “Banjo” Cordero, saying the current government under President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. is continuing the past administration’s repression of political critics.   

“(We) strongly denounce the arrest of labor organizer Benjamin “Banjo” Cordero last night at around 11:40 pm based on a trumped-up case of frustrated homicide,” the party-list said in a statement.   

“(It indicates) a continuing crackdown on activists and dissenters under the Marcos Jr. regime and a deja vu of the ‘Halloween raids’ staged by the previous regime in 2019.”  

Mr. Cordero was arrested at his residence by non-uniformed police and brought to Batasan Police Station 6, in an unofficial vehicle, according to Gabriela.  

Mr. Cordero’s legal counsel said he did not receive a copy of the complaint affidavit prior to his arrest.  

In August, former Gabriela Party-list vice president for Mindanao Atheliana Hijos was also arrested despite her old age and illnesses.   

Workers’ right activists Kara Taggaoa and Larry Valbuena were arrested in Quezon City earlier this month, but were released on bail.   

“This string of arrests unmasks the monstrous and fascist agenda behind the Marcos Jr. regime’s rhetoric of unity — silencing and terrorizing critics who are only pushing for urgent economic relief amid nonstop price hikes and massive job losses,” Gabriela said.   

Progressive group Bayan Muna Executive Vice-President Carlos Isagani T. Zarate said the apparent increase in attacks against critics of government policies should not discourage those putting up a fight for good governance.   

“In the face of these increasing attacks against ordinary people, critics of the administration and media, we should not be cowed; we must continue to stand for truth and for the interest of the majority of our people,” the former lawmaker said in a statement. — Matthew Carl L. Montecillo

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