On the abduction of two UP student leaders

Two student activists from the university were abducted almost two weeks ago in Bulacan. They are Karen Empeño, a BA Sociology student of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy, and Sherlyn Cadapan, an award-winning triathlete from the College of Human Kinetics and was its representative to the University Student Council a few years back. They remain missing up to this moment. Witnesses, who are now in hiding for security reasons, and who were also present during the abduction, claim that vehicles used during the capture were military vehicles. The army denies these accusations.

However, General Jovito Palparan, popularly labeled as a butcher of leftists, issued a statement saying that these women were better off gone because they were New People’s Army members who extorted money from the townsfolk anyway. What the hell? These two ladies were simply volunteer researchers for a peasant group. For the sake of argument, let’s say they were NPA members, does it justify that they be abducted helplessly? Who knows what have become to the two right now. If they were indeed NPA members, then file charges against them! Abduction is never justified.

Gloria Arroyo’s administration hark the “rule of law” and “due process” everytime accusations and cases are hurled against her and her allies but whenever an activist gets assassinated or abducted, everything just gets shrugged off! Nothing can justify enforced assassinations or enforced abductions! This administration is really bent on crushing not only the New People’s Army, but all other legitimate groups expressing legitimate dissent.

Karen and Sherlyn are two new additions to the growing list of hundreds of abducted, arrested, and assassinated activists since President Arroyo came into power five years ago.

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