AFP: CPP, NDF, NPA can’t be treated ‘differently, separately’ from the other
MANILA, Philippines — The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), National Democratic Front (NDF), and New People’s Army (NPA) are three groups that cannot be treated “differently” and “separately” from one another, a military official said Wednesday.
Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo, the spokesman of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), said during the Kapihan sa Manila Bay forum that proposals to revive Republic Act 1700 or the Anti-Subversion Act were aimed at making CPP accountable for its actions.
“Actually very clear ‘yong sinabi ni [Interior] Secretary [Eduardo] Año, ang tinatarget talaga niya sa kanyang proposal ay ‘yong Communist Party of the Philippines, because nakita naman natin ‘yong ginagawa nila,” Arevalo noted.
“Tatlong grupo ito eh. CPP is the brain, NDF (National Democratic Front) is the shield, and NPA is the arm,” he also explained. “So magkakasama ‘yang tatlong ‘yan, you cannot treat one differently and separately from the other.”
Calls to bring back the Anti-Subversion Act, which criminalized affiliation to the communist movement, has drawn mixed reactions from government officials and law enforcers.
Philippine National Police (PNP) Chief Gen. Oscar Albayalde said the measure would counter the left’s recruitment of children to NPA but for some lawmakers, it could be used to harass critics of the administration.
The opposition also found an unlikely ally in Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra, who insisted that mere membership to CPP and other leftist organizations does not constitute a crime.
Arevalo clarified that the AFP is not considering fostering communist beliefs as a crime but that they only want to draw the line when communist ideology is “used” to “espouse rebellion” and “overthrow the government.”
“Hindi naman natin sinasabi per se na ‘yong communism in its pure sense is a crime. But the context in which it is happening in our country is different,” Arevalo pointed out.
“These people who say they are part of the communist groups are actually espousing rebellion, espousing violent overthrow of government sa pagre-recruit ng mga kabataan partikular ang mga menor de edad, kukunin sa kanilang mga tahanan under the guise of seminars, workshops, and immersions,” he added.
He also claimed that AFP respects a person’s decision to join causes, as it is part of each citizen’s right to free speech.
“Well ‘yong activism naman is kung ikaw ay magpapahayag ng iyong damdamin […] sasama ka sa mga grupo na nagpapahayag ng mga paniniwala ayon sa iyong sariling pag-aaral at kaisipan, there’s no crime to it. We subscribe to it as part of every individual’s freedom of expression and assembly,” Arevalo explained.
“Pero sa sandali na itong mga grupong ito, sa kanilang kagustuhang magpahayag, eh nag-uumpisa na na mag-recruit ng mga tao at magturo ng paglaban sa ating pamahalaan through violent means, to overthrow, then it becomes a crime,” he added.
In October last year, progressive party-list groups have been accused of conniving with the political opposition in a bid to overthrow President Rodrigo Duterte. This alleged plot was supposedly dubbed as “Red October.”
But Makabayan lawmakers slammed these allegations and the state’s background checking of ordinary civilians as nothing but red-tagging aimed at making military and police officials become popular.
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