Ruby Padilla-Sison, chair of Gabriela in North Cotabato, said a group called JPAG has been putting up ‘offensive’ posters against their group all over the city and in other parts of the province.
The posters accuse the militant women’s group of being behind the killings of activists and journalists in the country.
Militant groups have blamed the executions on government agents. They claimed these are part of Oplan Bantay Laya, which outlines the Arroyo administration’s strategy to defeat the communist-led rebellion.
“I challenge JPAG to come out in the open and present evidences to prove their allegations against our party-list. This is also to check if JPAG is real or just a faceless group,” Sison said.
“The accusations are baseless. How can we shout justice for those activists who were killed if we’re indeed behind the senseless killings? That’s illogical,” she stressed.
According to the human rights group, at least 800 activists have been killed since 2001, the year Gloria M. Arroyo assumed the presidency after a “people power” uprising that ousted former president Joseph Estrada.
Meanwhile, North Cotabato provincial election supervisor Lilian Radam has warned groups engaged in “demolition jobs” against candidates and party-list groups that sanctions could be imposed against them based on Republic Act 9006 or the Fair Election Act.
“Under this law, nobody has the right to destroy a candidate or a group, although he has the right to campaign for or against that candidate or party-list. But using derogatory words is foul,” she explained.
She also said that under RA 9006, all registered parties and bona fide candidates shall have the right to reply to charges published against them.
“The reply shall be given publicity by the newspaper, television, or radio station which first printed or aired the charges with the same prominence or in the same page or section or in the same time slot as the first statement,” she said, quoting the Act.
Under this law, the Commission on Elections may designate public places as common poster areas for candidates and party-list groups.
Posters may also be placed in private areas with the consent of the owners. (Malu Cadelina Manar/MindaNews)