Dela Rosa’s hearing on communist recruitment full of ‘gossip talks’ — Castro
MANILA, Philippines — Two lawmakers from the House of Representative’s Makabayan bloc have called out Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa for allegedly using the chamber’s resources to divert the public from the scrutiny of the drug war, saying that the discussions seemed to be full of “chismis” or gossip.
In a press briefing on Friday, ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro said that the arguments raised by the Senator and the discussions in the Senate committee on public order and dangerous drugs, which dela Rosa chairs, were just a rehash of questionable claims.
Dela Rosa last Wednesday said he will expose Makabayan bloc member and Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel, saying that he will do everything in his power to pin him down due to the latter’s alleged involvement with the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
“It seems only gossip talks dominated the hearing conducted by Senator Bato dela Rosa at his committee last November 29 — so they presented several former rebels and they focused their efforts to tarnish, vilify, and red-tag Rep. Raoul Manuel,” Castro said.
“These are a rehash of the rumors which do not hold water, especially in courts. That’s why we really condemn these actions from Bato, he should instead focus on the cases that would be filed against him and former President (Rodrigo Duterte) at the International Criminal Court, because of the thousands killed in the bloody war on drugs,” she added.
Meanwhile, Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas said that dela Rosa should not use the resources of the Senate just to shift public attention from the recent scrutiny of the drug war.
At the House, the committee on justice and the committee on human rights have adopted three resolutions calling on the government to cooperate with the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor probing Duterte’s drug war.
Duterte and dela Rosa, who was the former president’s first Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, were among the respondents mentioned in the complaints filed by drug war victims’ relatives.
“It is not acceptable that Bato uses the resources of the Senate just to have a committee hearing meant to divert the public’s attention from the war on drugs issue that he is involved in. Remember, he timed this while the House is hearing the resolution about cooperating with the ICC. So it is really connected,” Brosas said.
“Despite the length of the hearing, not a single truth was mentioned, only lies against activists were propagated, including trumped-up cases filed by NTF-Elcac [National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict] against groups and individuals. But you know the trend: all of these are junked quickly due to lack of evidence,” she added.
Brosas said these hearings would not deter them from asking the government to cooperate with the ICC probe.
“We would also like to remind Bato that his attempts to derail our efforts to push for the ICC’s investigation — because he is involved in these, into ex-President Duterte’s war on drugs — it won’t deter us,” she noted.
According to dela Rosa, Manuel was so happy when “they were made to believe that the ICC would be allowed to enter the Philippines.”
“He was really happy that the ICC would investigate me. Let’s see now, I will investigate you. I will do all my parliamentary powers to pin you down. You are actually a member of the CPP, which is the party of the NPA that is trying to destroy this government,” said dela Rosa, partly in Filipino.
Aside from these, dela Rosa also fumed about the CPP-NPA’s continuous brainwashing of students to be rebel fighters, citing a Department of Education (DepEd) official’s claims that schools “may become targets of propaganda” as young people become vulnerable to recruitment.
Dela Rosa was referring to Education Undersecretary Revsee Escobedo’s information showing “violent incidents, including armed conflicts,” which affected more than 10,000 schools in parts of the country where the insurgency was thriving.