Makabayan believes Congress won’t allow probe on members’ alleged links to CPP-NPA
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers from the Makabayan bloc have expressed confidence that the House of Representatives’ leadership would not allow an investigation into allegations that their members are part of the communist movement.
According to a statement from the Makabayan on Thursday, they believe Speaker Lord Allan Velasco would not approve of such a probe since the accusations of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Insurgency (NTF-ELCAC) are baseless.
NTF-ELCAC has insisted that the Makabayan bloc, composed of lawmakers from party-list groups Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and Kabataan, are ranking members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said Velasco’s “good judgment” will protect members of Congress, including the Makabayan bloc, from any baseless accusations — including those from disqualified Duterte Youth leader Ronald Cardema.
“The red-tagging NTF-ELCAC failed to present any credible witness or evidence during the Senate hearing and they have been exposed as nothing but a bunch of slandering liars and con artists. Now Cardema wants to repeat this communist witch hunt in Congress,” Gaite claimed
“Clearly there is pressure on the House to join the communist witch hunt of the NTF-ELCAC, but we believe Speaker Velasco will remain judicious and will not allow the House to be used as a venue for peddling baseless accusations against its members,” he explained.
Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago issued the same statements, saying that the allegations from NTF-ELCAC were just meant to besmirch their reputation.
Makabayan bloc has recently been placed on the hot seat as the Senate sought an inquiry into their red-tagging by NTF-ELCAC, particularly from National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., and Presidential communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy.
The issue stemmed from Parlade’s unsolicited advice to actress Liza Soberano, that she should not associate herself with Gabriela. This was after Soberano appeared in an online event hosted by the party-list’s youth arm, about the lack of safe spaces for women.
Parlade said people should not red-tag Soberano because she is not yet an NPA member — a piece of advice that critics of the government perceived as a veiled threat. The military official retaliated by saying that Soberano’s family was even thankful for the advice.
Parlade then dragged actress Angel Locsin and her cousin Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares into the issue, saying the two would not tell Soberano the truth about Locsin’s sister who was allegedly a former NPA fighter.
Previously, Velasco criticized Parlade’s continuous red-tagging of Makabayan lawmakers, saying it endangers his colleagues’ lives. Velasco then challenged the NTF-ELCAC official to file charges in court if he has sufficient evidence against the Makabayan legislators.
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