Press Release
June 10, 2017

Statement of Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros

Accusing someone of abetting a rebellion is not new. This is the same tactic used by the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos against democracy defenders like Soc Rodrigo, Lorenzo Tanada and Ka Pepe Diokno. Even then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo resorted to this when she accused journalist Tina Panganiban Perez of abetting a rebellion when the latter was simply fulfilling her duty as a member of a free press.

Thus, I am saddened by the news that Mayor Inday Sara Duterte accuses me of such. The Mayor and I have been friendly acquaintances for some years, and I respect her as a fellow woman leader. Does the Mayor accuse me already or simply wonder if I'm abetting rebellion?

The accusation that I am abetting a rebellion is absurd. It is as ludicrous as the latest fake news about me. I have publicly condemned the Maute group for their brazen acts of terrorism and criminality. I stand by our brave soldiers and police personnel for their heroic efforts, I praise their decisive victories to neutralize the Maute group.

Rebellion is ideological, terrorism is pure terror

But purveyors of fake news accuse me of siding with the Maute group because I didn't automatically regard their terrorist action as rebellion. Magkalinawan tayo. Ang Maute group ay hindi mga rebelde. Sila ay mga terorista. Ang mga rebelde gaya ng CPP-NPA, MNLF at MILF ay kausap na ng pamahalaan sa peace process. Ang Maute ay hindi. Wala silang karapatan umupo sa lamesa ng kapayapaan. The essence of rebellion is ideological. Terrorism is pure terror.

In my long years as a member of the government panel for the peace process, the principle has always been to set a very high bar for characterizing a given incident as rebellion because history has demonstrated repeatedly how governments use the label of rebellion to justify the abuse of state power to silence dissent.

Silencing voices

Today, I suspect that the same concept of "abetting a rebellion" is being used against me simply because I demanded the Legislature to hold a joint session to deliberate the factual bases for the Martial Law declaration. They paint me an enemy who sympathize with terrorists like the Maute group. I suspect that the government will try to use this to silence my voice, and the voices of those who want to see the Maute threat eliminated and at the same time demand to know the truth about Martial Law.

"Fake news king"

Yesterday, Justice Secretary Vitalliano Aguirre ordered the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to investigate and build cases against Senators and opposition leaders who are allegedly involved in a destabilization plot against the government.

Wala na bang ibang magawa ang fake news king ng Padre Faura? Namamatay na ang mga inosente at ang ating mga sundalo sa Marawi, pero ang tanging pinagkakaabalahan pa rin ng mga gaya ni Aguirre ay mga pekeng kaso at pekeng balita.

I will not be surprised if a case is filed against me or my colleagues in the Senate minority. I will not be intimidated or silenced. I will continue to take the floor and speak truth to power. They can make thousands of fake news accounts, they can threaten me with false charges but I will continue to stand. They cannot stop me from doing my duty as a legislator to speak out about our civil liberties and oppose creeping authoritarianism.

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