Palace to leftwing groups: Renounce armed struggle, be Reds without endorsing use of arms
MANILA, Philippines — Leftist groups and activists may legally be recognized as “Reds” by renouncing the communist group’s armed struggle, Malacañang said Tuesday as it defended President Duterte’s red-tagging spree.
According to Palace spokesman Harry Roque, activist organizations and Makabayan bloc members should “come out” and admit that they are indeed members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), noting CPP membership has been decriminalized since the Presidency of the late Cory Aquino.
He added that the leftist lawmakers should also renounce the criminal acts of the New People’s Army (NPA), the armed wing of the CPP.
“Since the time of Cory, na-decriminalize na nga iyong pagiging member ng CPP. So come out with it and admit na ‘oo member kami ng Communist Party of the Philippines’,” Roque said.
“But the crime is the New People’s Army, because that is rebellion, taking up arms against the government, killing civilians and soldiers,” he added.
He went on: “The fact is, kung ikaw ay member ng CPP pwede kang maging legal but you have to renounce the use of arms. Magagaling naman sila sa parliamentary politics, pinakamarami sila sa partylist groups bakit hindi pa nila irenounce iyong use of arms. Iyon lang po ang hinihingi.”
In a taped speech aired Monday night, Duterte blasted activist organizations and Makabayan bloc members, accusing them of being legal fronts of the communist rebels.
Duterte said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was correct in identifying the groups “as members in the grand conspiracy comprising all the legal fronts that they have organized headed by the National Democratic Front.”
However, as in his previous speeches, the President did not offer any proof to back up his allegations.
Among the groups that Duterte mentioned in his tirades were the Makabayan bloc of the House of Representatives which is composed of six lawmakers from Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers Partylist, Gabriela Women’s Party, and Kabataan Partylist.
The President even ridiculed Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate in part of his speech, saying: “Sa totoo, Zarate pag nakitakita sa TV, para akong nakakita ng tae ng iro. Para akong nakakita ng tae ng aso, sa totoo lang,” Duterte said.[ac]
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