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Terrorist Martial Law for Filipino Immigrants in the US

30. June 2002

by Philip Vera Cruz


by Philip Vera Cruz – Justice Project-San Jose

While the rest of the humanitarian community condemns the U.S. round-up and deportation of 62 Filipino Americans, Philippine President Gloria Arroyo still lays silent. Betraying her own countrymen, she is more interested in allowing U.S. troops to expand their military jurisdiction in the Philippines than she is of defending the basic rights of her own people. 62 Filipino Americans were rounded-up, hand-cuffed and deported by the U.S. government under command of the Bush Administration. Suspect of being a terrorist threat by the U.S. government, the 62 arrived in the Philippines on June 28, 2002. Many were allegedly imprisoned in detention camps in Utah state, USA. Thousands of more Fil-Ams under similar threat are also slated for imprisonment and deportation under new US law and executive orders. Secret military tribunals preside over their future once they are brought-in for interrogation and sentencing. No public lawyers are allowed. No public information or evidence is released or required to be released under law. In essence, their writ of habeus corpus is suspended.
“This is martial law for Filipinos in the U.S.”, stated Pablo Romero of the Philip Vera Cruz
Justice Project.
President Bush used his executive authority to allow sweeping powers to be given to the U.S. Attorney General, John Ashcroft, to imprison and interrogate for an indefinite period of time persons suspected of being “terrorists”. The Bush administration also suspended certain civil liberties in a new law called the US Patriot Act, which allows the CIA (Central Intelligence Agency) and FBI (Federal Bureau of Investigation) the power to invade individual privacy at will. Since the Philippines is suspect to harboring Al Queda terrorists, the U.S. government considers Filipinos in the U.S. a threat to U.S. security interests.
The 62 Filipinos were previously targeted by the Immigration and Naturalization Services (INS) Agency as criminals for violating their visa status. Labeled by the U.S. government as “absconders”, the U.S. intensified their campaign to round-up and deport Filipinos after the September 11 tragedy. In actuality, these Filipinos were forced to leave their home country in search of jobs and employment, due to poverty and the globalization policies headed by the U.S., which has left the Philippines in economic shambles.
“It appears that as victims of a terrorist action, the U.S. government has wildly lost its ability to distinguish between right and wrong, between innocence and guilt, between good people and bad people” said Pablo Romero. “the US-Arroyo tandem will justify the killing of Filipinos in the Philippines who have nothing to do with terrorism, but everything to do with human rights and social justice. This is a sad day for everyone.”

Philip Vera Cruz Justice Project-San Jose, California