Gather the biggest strength to oppose “cha-cha” and to end the Arroyo regime

The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas today called on the people to unite and gather their biggest strength against charter change as well as to end the Arroyo regime. "The Arroyo regime pushes charter change today to prolong its hold on power and to avoid being brought to account for its numerous crimes," said Fr. Santiago Salas, NDF-EV spokesperson. "The regime knows that there is no other legitimate way to stay in Malacanang beyond 2010. The people will not allow being cheated twice via the 2010 elections. Moreover, the regime dreads that should it be already out of power, it will be brought to account for its crimes such as massive corruption, selling out the country to foreign interests, and widespread violations of human rights and international humanitarian law."

Fr. Salas furthermore said that there is already broad unity and the rising tide of various forms of protest against Gloria Arroyo's "cha-cha". "The Arroyo regime is throwing all its efforts to force charter change via its dominance in the Congress and the Senate. Should it be stymied, it also counts on the Supreme Court, dominated by Arroyo appointees, to legitimize its 'cha-cha' initiative. The people's opposition to 'cha-cha' is thus best expressed in mass demonstrations in the streets as well as various forms of parliamentary struggle. The 'cha-cha' can bring about another popular uprising such as the ones that deposed the Marcos and Estrada regimes."

The NDF-EV spokesperson also cautioned that the Arroyo regime will use the military, police and other security forces to put down opposition to the "cha-cha", as well as bring about emergency rule or martial law if it can no longer contain the people's protests. "The Arroyo regime has already tried declaring a 'state of emergency' such as what it did in February 2006. It will certainly use the armed strength of the state to quell the people's resistance to the 'cha-cha' if it is already in danger of ouster. Thus the people must express their opposition widely in various forms of protest and in mustering their biggest numbers to confront the regime."

While there is peaceful opposition to the "cha-cha", Fr. Salas also stressed that the revolutionary armed struggle in the countryside is in support of the efforts to end the Arroyo regime and bring it to account. "The New People's Army intensifies and widens the tactical offensives against Arroyo's forces, which are responsible for so many political killings, enforced disappearances, attacks on civilian communities, and other brutal violations of human rights and international humanitarian law just to keep the regime in power. The guerrilla offensives deliver the message to the regime that it is also confronted by the rising armed revolution. Both the peaceful and armed struggles work together to surely end and punish the regime."