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April 27, 2009

The fight has been brought to cyberspace.

As of 10:13 pm on April 26, 2009, more than 1,000 people on the popular social networking site Facebook have joined the cause “ Palparan should be in jail, not in Congress nor any other government office.”

The Facebook “milestone” was reached just a few hours before Gen. Jovito Palparan’s first day in office as representative of the partylist group Bantay. The online achievement was announced by the umbrella group Bagong Alyansang Makabayan as it joined various groups today in protest actions at the House of Representatives. As of 7:00am April 27, more than 1,100 have joined the cause.

The Facebook “cause” was started on the day the Supreme Court issued a ruling making Palparan a member of the House of Representatives, being the first nominee of Bantay. In just four days, the “cause” has gathered more than 1,000 members or supporters coming from various walks of life. Members include students, artists, activists, bloggers, even soldiers, and networks in Philippines as well as various parts of the world.

“The FB cause was created to raise awareness of Gen. Jovito Palparan and the various human rights abuses he has been involved in. It is also a political statement against what many believe is a gross injustice, that a person like Palparan is able to get a seat in Congress even if he doesn’t represent any marginalized sector and despite his involvement in human rights abuses,” said Bayan secretary general Renato M. Reyes, Jr.

“The huge response we received in just a few days shows that there is a lot of indignation regarding Palparan’s entry into Congress via the partylist system. There is great concern that the Arroyo government has not done anything to make Palparan accountable for his involvement in human rights abuses,” Reyes added.

Facebook is a social networking site that allows users to create “causes” and “groups” and recruit people to become members. The site allows the exchange of posts, comments, pictures, videos, news links and the like. The various applications and the ease of interaction among members has made Facebook one of the most popular networking sites in the world.

“For people who may not be able to join rallies, they can still make their voices heard by joining the cause. The FB page is also useful in informing people of updates related to the campaign such as protest actions and fora,” Reyes said. ###

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