Badoy insists Makabayan reps are CPP-NPA execs; Gaite says explain pork barrel
MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy again insisted that Makabayan bloc lawmakers are high-ranking members Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA), saying that they should drop the term “legislator.”
In response, Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite, who’s part of the Makabayan bloc, Badoy and the rest of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) should instead explain why an alleged pork barrel was allocated to the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO).
In a post on the NTF-ELCAC Facebook page on Saturday, Badoy said that Gaite and the rest of the Makabayan bloc were actually involved in issuing directives to CPP members, sparking another word war between administration officials and left-leaning lawmakers.
Badoy named every single Makabayan member — Gaite, fellow Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Zarate and Eufemia Cullamat, Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, and ACT Rep. France Castro.
“Makabayan Bloc representatives must therefore strip themselves of all their pretenses and take away their masks of ‘LEGISLATOR’ and tell the Filipino people who it is they truly are and what it is they truly aim for,” Badoy, herself a member of the NTF-ELCAC, said.
“That they are high ranking party members of the Communist Party of the Philippines that directly guides and gives explicit and implicit instructions to its armed component, the New People’s Army, and to its legal fronts under the umbrella of the National Democratic Front,” she added.
But Gaite said that this reaction from Badoy might have stemmed from their queries on insertions of supposed pork barrel funds in the 2021 national budget. Previously, Zarate also wrote a letter to the Commission on Audit asking whether it would be legal to transfer appropriations to an office when Congress had not appropriated any.
“Lorraine Badoy and her NTF-ELCAC bosses must be frothing in the mouth because of the early exposure of the pork barrel funds that they inserted in the 2021 National Budget,” Gaite said in a statement on Sunday.
“Instead of answering why the NTF-ELCAC wants to control the disbursement of public money amounting to P20 million per barangay, Badoy goes on again on her tireless but unsubstantiated tirades against the Makabayan bloc,” he added.
Gaite also asked why the funds were being appropriated for NTF-ELCAC and not for frontliners fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, implying that the red-tagging was meant to divert discussions on the 2021 national budget.
“Instead of explaining why these billions should go to their pockets and not to public hospitals which are currently at the frontlines of the battle against the pandemic, Badoy chooses to spew vitriol against us,” Gaite said.
“Obviously, she is trying to divert the issue with lies she was never able to defend in numerous occasions,” he noted.
Meanwhile, the Kabataan party-list insisted that Elago was focused on finding ways to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic and not things that Badoy suggested, like the weakening of democratic institutions.
“In the context of the pandemic, we have always been one with the broad masses in their fight for mass testing, the support for our medical frontliners, for adequate socio-economic aid, for the security of the people’s livelihood and employment, and the call to ensure the safe resumption of schools, to name a few,” Kabataan said.
This is not the first time that members of the NTF-ELCAC and the Makabayan bloc and other progressive groups clashed against each other. Previously, NTF-ELCAC said that progressive groups acting as legal fronts of the communist armed movement are jumping on the ABS-CBN shutdown issue to gain support.
This prompted the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) to step in and remind the NTF-ELCAC that legitimate dissent from journalists and activists are protected by law, and diverse opinions are not a reason to be tagged as NPA members.
The anti-communist body also claimed that ABS-CBN was shut down because of legal issues, but Gaite previously said that NTF-ELCAC’s statement — shared by official accounts of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) and the Philippine Information Agency — made it clear who wanted the network shut down.
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