The National Democratic Front-Eastern Visayas condemns the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police for again reviving the incredulous case of “walking skeletons” in Inopacan, Leyte to justify its illegal arrest and detention of former peasant activist Felomino D. Salazar, Jr.
The “mass grave” pinned on Salazar has long been proven false because of the sheer ridiculousness of the remains then gathered by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon from different cemeteries during the US-Arroyo regime to persecute activists.
But this hogwash is repeatedly barked by the diehard anticommunist dogs among the AFP-PNP to call for the arrest of progressives and activists, such as in 2019 against Jose Maria Sison, Juliet De Lima and 36 others. The accused were either detained at the time of the alleged crime, are victims of enforced disapperances, have been convicted or already dead.
Salazar, the latest victim of these “walking skeletons,” was one of the most vocal peasant leaders from Leyte. He was key to the “balik-uma” or “positioning” campaign by poor peasants in the province in the 2000s. He frequently represented Leyte in national peasant conferences as a member of the Samahan han Gudti nga Parag-uma ha Sinirangan Bisayas. He was among the thousands who were victims of harassment and death threats during the US-Arroyo regime’s Oplan Bantay Laya I and II in Eastern Visayas. Forced by repressive circumstances, he has chosen to retire from activist work.
Salazar’s illegal arrest comes at the heels of the brutal crackdown on activists in Eastern Visayas, even those who have retired from social activism, have long been under the radar, and should have much less reason to be the subject of state repression. Salazar himself admitted to “surrender[ing] to the mayor,” (even though he had no reason to) but the US-Duterte regime took no exception to him. His case is proof that it is impossible for anyone to live peacefully under the current regime. And as Duterte’s Terror Law comes into effect, the masses will continue to be punished for fighting for their democratic interests for as long as the dictator sits in power.
Such a fascist dictatorship can only push throngs of people to the arms of the national-democratic struggle. As the democratic space further narrows, they are left with no choice but to join the call for the ouster of the dictator. The Duterte regime itself will incense and inspire thousands upon thousands to fight his dictatorship as members of the New People’s Army.#