ILOILO City – The local militant group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) Panay condemns in strongest terms the current harassment by state forces through a trumped-up case lodged against its secretary-general, Elmer Forro.
Last August 13, Forro received a subpoena for a murder and multiple attempted murder case filed by the Philippine National Police (PNP) Lambunao in relation to an alleged encounter between the New People’s Army (NPA) and the Philippine Army in the morning of April 7, which resulted in the death of PFC Mark Nemis.
According to the complainant’s witness, Cpl. Christopher Llono of the 301st Brigade of the 3rd IDPA, Forro was among the NPAs that killed Nemis.
“The accusation against me is nothing but pure harassment by state forces to stop me from my advocacy work as an activist,” said Forro.
“I and my colleagues have been subjected to threats and harassment and it escalated even in the time of pandemic that led to us facing multiple charges because we exercised our constitutional rights and engaged in relief operations for those worst affected by the lockdown. Surveillance, redtagging, and tailings remain non-stop,” Forro added.
Forro said that, during the pandemic, he had been busy with relief operations, health trainings and meetings with representatives of other cause-oriented groups, public officials including Iloilo City Mayor Jerry P. Treñas, and church leaders like Msgr. Meliton Oso.
Forro, together with other activists, have been charged with violating BP 880, Bayanihan Act, and RA 11332 for a protest action last April 3 at the DSWD Regional Office 6 and for demanding aid to people affected by Duterte’s militaristic lockdown. On May 1, he and dozens of activists were arrested for attempting to hold a motor caravan to demand justice for the murder of Bayan Muna Iloilo City coordinator Jory Porquia.
“This systematic crackdown has already claimed the lives of some of our comrades like Jory Porquia and Zara Alvarez, who were themselves subjected to harassment and surveillance, or faced trumped-up charges before they were killed,” Forro quipped.
Last December 11, 2018, March 16, 2019, and August 27, 2020, posters with photos of progressive leaders, including Forro, were seen plastered around Iloilo City and recently seen in a village in Oton town. The poster accused Forro, together with lawyers, a priest, a former House representative, and 30 others of being terrorists, extortionists and members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army.
Last May, Forro also noticed motorcycle-riding men watching from outside his residence, and at one point, he was even tailed while going to his office in the city by a vehicle and men on motorcycles.
“Almost all of my colleagues in the Bayan Panay secretariat also experienced surveillance, tailings, redtagged and were being maliciously approached to talk and given contact numbers,” added Forro.
“This trumped-up case is ridiculous and outright false and should be dismissed immediately. We cannot let state forces continue their evil deeds and suppress our rights and freedom,” Forro added.
“We have to fight the tyrannical reign and terroristic acts of the Duterte regime. It is time to end his regime to end the sufferings of the people,” Forro ended./www.panaytoday.net