Parlade: Colmenares, Makabayan bloc members under surveillance
MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna chairperson and former lawmaker Neri Colmenares as well as members of the Makabayan bloc are under surveillance for their alleged ties with communist groups, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. said Monday.
“It’s not only him (Colmenares). It’s all the members of the…Makabayan bloc being members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). They are card-bearing members of the Communist Party of the Philippines,” Parlade said in an interview over ABS-CBN News Channel when asked why Colmenares was under surveillance.
“Because we have this anti-terror law now, it’s actually in effect and we have to do our job to make sure that we are focusing on the right persons and we are properly implementing the law and part of that is to make sure that we have a strong case against people…We have to make sure that we do our assignment well,” he added.
Parlade alleged that some of the colleagues of Colmenares and members of the Makabayan bloc have supposedly informed the military of “how it works in the organization.”
“They have so many colleagues before who are now with us and explaining to us how it works in the organization. Aside from them, we have to validate all of this on the ground,” he added.
But Colmenares, in a separate interview, denied being part of any communist group.
“Sinasabi ko na rin yan dati na sa military—kay Gen. Parlade for example—na kung ang tingin niyo NPA (New People’s Army) ako, may pinatay ako, then file a case against me,” the former congressman said.
“Wag naman sa red-tagging, kasi ang red tagging sa Pilipinas, marami nang na-red tag ang namatay so dangerous ‘yan,” he added.
Colmenares, who is also a human rights lawyer, further said that under the anti-terror law, a court order must first be secured before anyone can be out under surveillance.
“Sinasabi under surveillance daw ako. ‘Yun na nga ba ang sinasabi namin. This anti-terror is really against dissenters and critics, just like the time of President [Ferdinand] Marcos when all opposition are NPA communists,” he said.
“The very anti-terror law that they supported said any unauthorized surveillance of those na ipo-proscribe nila must have judicial affirmation by a special division of the Court of Appeals,” Colmenares added.
But Parlade argued that the surveillance being done with Colmenares and members of the Makabayan bloc is part of the military’s intelligence efforts.
“We’ve been doing surveillance even before [the anti-terror law]. That’s part of the job of the intelligence,” the military official said.
He added that “intelligence surveillance” is “different” from the “legal surveillance” prescribed under the anti-terror law.
“I’m talking about intelligence surveillance, your government, your Armed Forces of the Philippines is doing this,” Parlade said.
“That’s part of their job in intelligence to make sure we do our surveillance like we do surveillance in the West Philippine Sea. We do surveillance of criminals, we do surveillance of a lot of people that has something to do with national security,” he added.
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