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Ease fuel price hikes, stop red-tagging – Makabayan to Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte. STORY: Ease fuel price hikes, stop red-tagging – Makabayan to Duterte

President Rodrigo Duterte (MALACAÑANG FILE PHOTO)

MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte should mitigate the impact of the spike in the prices of fuel products instead of red-tagging Vice President Leni Robredo in order to sabotage her chances in the 2022 polls.

The Makabayan bloc made this statement as it called on House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco to ask the President to call for a special session for Congress to pass measures aimed at abating the economic crisis.

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In an online press briefing on Monday, the six-member bloc took Duterte to task for claiming that the “yellows” were working with communist rebels to disrupt the May 9 elections.

Although she is running as an independent presidential candidate, Robredo is the chair of the Liberal Party, which uses yellow as its political color.

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“In a desperate attempt at misdirection and deception, Mr. Duterte and his barbaric minions have baselessly accused even Robredo of supposedly conspiring with communist groups. [This] is both pathetic and desperate. This is so Marcosian,” said Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite.

‘Marites’

“They downplay [Robredo]’s campaign as weak, but they try to destroy the united front of the people coming from different sectors, including the Left, Center and Right,” said House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate.

Instead, the Makabayan lawmakers told the president to stop being a “Marites” — a derisive term for a rumor-monger—and to dedicate his last months in office to mitigate the impact of oil price hikes.

Prices of diesel products are expected to increase by a record high of up to P11.95 per liter on Tuesday.

Robredo, for her part, on Monday categorically denied that the opposition would form a coalition government with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New Peoples’ Army, in a bid to put to rest the Red-tagging of her team and supporters.

During a press conference at the historic Barasoain Church, Robredo said that of all the accusations hurled at her, the Red-tagging was the one that had absolutely no basis.

Robredo was referring to Sen. Panfilo Lacson’s concerns that she was plotting a coalition government with communist insurgents, citing a certain “Ka Eric”—the same former cadre who accused Lacson of being “Boy Semento” because of his son’s alleged involvement in cement smuggling.

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She was also referring to fake TikToks and social media content accusing her of marrying a former cadre at 15 years old, which she already debunked on Facebook.

To these, Robredo held as guarantee senatorial aspirant and former navy officer Sonny Trillanes IV, who is part of her senatorial ticket: “He of all people would not allow that we be infiltrated by communists or to coalesce with them.”

‘Name the communists’

Trillanes on Monday doubled down on his defense of Robredo, challenging Duterte and Lacson to name the “communists” who supposedly infiltrated her campaign team.

Trillanes, a member of the Senate slate of Robredo and her running mate, Sen. Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, reiterated that it was not true that the presidential candidate had entered into an unholy alliance with the CPP as claimed by the president and Lacson.

“If they cannot come up with names, then we can dismiss their allegations as fake news or intrigues just to prevent the growing support for Team Leni-Kiko,” Trillanes said in a statement.

The former senator said that while he was sure that the insinuations were outright lies, he would still give Lacson and Duterte a chance to prove their allegations by providing evidence.

“As for Senator Lacson, a decorated police officer and a former [Philippine National Police] chief, he of all people should know that the one who makes the accusations should present evidence to support the claim,” Trillanes said.

In Sorsogon City, Manila Mayor Francisco “Isko Moreno” Domagoso on Monday spoke out against the red-tagging of individuals for merely believing in communist ideology, saying such was unwarranted unless involving an attempt to overthrow the government.

“Red-tagging has to be supported by intelligence data. Now, if the Red-tagging is only brought about by, for example … belief in communism, even if you’re not a communist, it’s just that you believe in that kind of principle, I won’t Red-tag you,” he told reporters after a town hall meeting at the capitol.

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TAGS: communist conspiracy, CPP-NPA, fuel price hikes, Leni Robredo, Makabayan bloc, red-tagging, Rodrigo Duterte
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