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Duterte Youth’s ‘first move’: Probe NPA ‘recruitment’ in campus, civic groups

/ 07:21 PM October 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Two days after formally assuming office in the House of Representatives, Duterte Youth Partylist Rep. Ducielle Cardema is getting down to her first order of business: investigate alleged recruitment of the New People’s Army (NPA) via civic and campus organizations.

Cardema filed Thursday House Resolution No. 1293, in which she claimed that the NPA is using “non-NPA-named front organizations” for its recruitment efforts specifically targeted towards the youth. She argued that the purported NPA recruitment is meant “to reinforce their ranks for communist terrorist activities.”

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INQUIRER.net was able to get a copy of Cardema’s resolution.

“With the whole-of-nation approach now of the Philippine Government against the said communist terrorist group, many old NPA Fighters are surrendering by the hundreds in different parts of the country,” Cardema said.

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“And with this, civilian front organizations of the NPA are boosting their youth recruitment in cities and school campuses to replenish their ranks,” she added.

Cardema, however, clarified that the investigation is not targeted towards organizations “that are simply opposing or criticizing the government.”

“The patriotic intention of this investigation is for the Philippine Congress and the Filipino people to finally find out which front organizations are recruiting for the New People’s Army, for clearly the NPA has no visible recruitment centers in cities and schools and are just using non-NPA-named front organizations to recruit for them,” Cardema said.

Cardema also said it is the duty of the government to conduct the investigation and “resolve this most serious issue in our nation, for the stability and security of this Republic, to protect the millions of Filipino youth and the next generation of Filipinos.”

The lawmaker said she wants to invite as resource speakers in the congressional probe former NPA rebels and top officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, the Philippine National Police, the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency, the National Security Council, and the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC),

But Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite branded this “first move” from the Duterte Youth Partylist a mere “communist witch hunt.”

“After getting their spot inside the House of Representatives, Duterte Youth’s first move: ENDANGER THE YOUTH THROUGH A COMMUNIST WITCH HUNT.”

The representative of the controversial Duterte Youth Partylist took oath on Tuesday, October 13, despite pending protests against the group before the Commission on Elections.

Election lawyer Emil Marañon earlier claimed that the party-list violated the Revised Penal Code when it prematurely assumed office in the lower chamber, adding that the group seems to be in a rush to have a seat in Congress.

At the opening of Tuesday’s special session to tackle the proposed national budget for 2021, Cardema was included in the House’s roll call even if she has yet to take her oath of office. It was only later in the session that newly-installed Speaker Lord Allan Velasco administered the oath of office to Cardema as representative of the controversial party-list in Congress.

“Unang-una, under Article 236 of the Revised Penal Code, meron tayong crime na tinatawag na anticipation of duties of a public office. In other words, parang premature assumption of office,” Marañon said.

“Ang rule diyan is bago ka mag-assume ng isang public office, you have to take an oath of office first, that your loyalty is to the Constitution, is with the Republic. It is mandatory for a public official to take an oath of office,” he added.

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TAGS: Duterte Youth partylist, Insurgency, NPA
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