Heavily-funded anti-Red task force plans to seek poll disqualification of leftist party-list groups
MANILA, Philippines—The government’s anti-communist task force, which is getting up to P16 billion in funding, could seek the disqualification by the Commission on Elections (Comelec) of the left-wing Makabayan bloc of lawmakers in the House of Representatives in future elections.
“Our belief became stronger that they should be gone and disqualified by Comelec because of their admission that they don’t believe the NPA should be condemned for its violent actions,” said Esperon in Filipino at a press briefing, referring to New People’s Army, the armed wing of Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
Esperon, vice chair of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ECLAC), said as congressmen, the Makabayan bloc members are government employees who must be able to condemn NPA.
The Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives is composed of Bayan Muna Representatives Carlos Zarate and Ferdinand Gaite; ACT Teachers Representative France Castro; Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Arlene Brosas and Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago.
At his weekly address last Monday (Nov. 30), President Rodrigo Duterte accused the activist party-list groups of being communist rebels themselves.
“These legal fronts of communists, all of them—Makabayan, Bayan—they are all legal fronts, Gabriela,” Duterte said. “We are not red-tagging you. We are identifying you as members in a grand conspiracy comprising all legal fronts that they have organized, headed by the NDF,” the President said.
“You are accusing us of red-tagging you. No. The Armed Forces of the Philippines is very correct. You are being identified as being members of the CPP,” Duterte said.
“We know. That’s the truth. It’s not red-tagging,” said the President.
His statements came after the daughter of Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat’s daughter, whom the military said was an NPA medic, was killed in a clash between government soldiers and communist rebels in the town of Marihatag, Surigao del Sur province last weekend.
The Makabayan bloc had accused the military of using the remains of Cullamat’s daughter as a “trophy” for propaganda purposes.
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