March 21, 2006 (MALAYA) LOOK who’s talking now.

Party-list Rep. Satur Ocampo (Bayan Muna) yesterday said President Arroyo has no right to accuse of rebellion anyone calling for her ouster because she herself forged a "strong bond with radical groups" in forcing then President Joseph Estrada to resign in 2001.

"Ka-kutsaba namin si Gloria nuon (to oust Estrada)," said Ocampo, one of six party-list congressmen accused of rebellion.

Ocampo presented newspaper clippings of pictures showing Arroyo, when she was vice president, sitting with him and Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran in a "post-Estrada" agenda forum at the St. Theresa’s College in Quezon City on Nov. 16, 2000.

Ocampo is under the protective custody of the House with fellow Bayan Muna Representatives Teddy Casiño and Joel Virador, Liza Maza of Gabriela and Rafael Mariano of Anakpawis. Another party-list congressman, Crispin Beltran of Anakpawis, is detained in Camp Crame also for rebellion.

The rebellion charges were filed after President Arroyo issued Proclamation 1017 on Feb. 24 placing the country under a state of national emergency. She said there was an alliance among the political opposition, the Left and military adventurists to topple her government and grab power.

"Inaakusahan kami ngayon ng rebellion e yun ginawa niya (Arroyo) nuon sa amin to oust Estrada ay puwede ding rebellion," Ocampo said.

He said they had "conspired" with Arroyo in pushing for their "reform agenda" and forcing Estrada to resign. "This is history na hindi niya (Arroyo) made-deny pero ina-accuse niya kami ngayon," he said.

"Oust-Estrada nuon, okay sa kanya. Oust-Gloria ngayon, sinasabi niya No. 1 enemy of the state yung kaliwa. Kung okay sa kanya nuon, ngayon hindi na," he said.

Ocampo said Arroyo joined Bayan Muna and militant organizations after she resigned as social welfare secretary in September 2000 and decided to lead the opposition. Because of this, he said, the President "has no "ground to accuse us of rebellion for the same thing we did with her."

Casiño said they even met with Arroyo in La Vista, Quezon City and at the PICC. "We were just a hair strand away from her," he said.

He said he was willing to testify on his claim.

Mariano, asked how happy Arroyo felt when they joined forces to force Estrada to quit, said, "Kitang-kita mo sa kanyang mga mata."

House Minority leader Francis Escudero supported the progressive bloc, saying there is no provision in the Revised Penal Code which states that a coup or rebellion cannot be called the same if it succeeds.

Escudero even said in jest that Arroyo should be charged with rebellion for doing the same thing she is now accusing her critics of doing. "Pero hindi, puwede dahil presidente siya."

He said the "purpose" of the anti-Estrada campaign then is the same now with calls to force Arroyo to quit.

"Ang purpose nuon ay papanagutin siya (Estrada) sa mga ginawa at para linisin ang gobyerno, to make him accountable. Ngayon ganun din naman, oust din naman noon," he said. – Wendell Vigilia

‘VP Arroyo met Reds vs. Estrada’ By Maricel V. Cruz, Reporter MANILA TIMES

IN 2000 then-Vice-President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo had several meetings with leftists and other militant organizations linked by the military to the Communist Party-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front.

The subject of the meetings was the ouster of then-President Estrada and the communists’ position on reforms that must be made by Mrs. Arroyo’s post-Estrada administration, Rep. Satur Ocampo (Party-list Bayan Muna), told reporters on Monday.

Palace Spokesman Ignacio Bunye brushed aside Ocampo’s claim, saying: “I have no comment on that. The President would rather concentrate on the more important issues than answer all the peripheral issues being raised by her detractors.”

“I’m willing to testify on this,” Ocampo said as he disclosed that sometime in November 2000, his group met with Mrs. Arroyo at her home in La Vista, Quezon City, where they presented their 20-point agenda that they wish to be given Mrs. Arroyo’s attention once Estrada had been toppled and she had replaced him as President.

Ocampo said one of the several points on the leftists’ agenda was the release of all political prisoners and the continuation of the peace process with the CPP-NPA-NDF.

A month later, there was a second meeting with Vice-President Arroyo, Ocampo added. It was held at her office at the Philippine International Convention Center.

Ocampo showed pictures of Mrs. Arroyo with him and other leftist personalities. He said these were taken after a press briefing in which the planned ouster of Estrada was discussed.

Ocampo said it is strange that the President, who was herself involved in the plan to unseat Estrada together with “progressive groups” (a code word for “pro-communist groups”), is now hunting progressives who are cla­moring for her resignation.

“Now that she is being challenged to step down, she wants to get back at her critics by filing sedition charges against us,” Ocampo said. --With Sam Mediavilla

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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