Duterte redmarks 5 party lists

Accuses them of conspiring to infiltrate Congress as legal fronts of the CPP-NPA

-Marice Cruz

President Rodrigo Duterte claimed on Tuesday evening that Communist rebels had infiltrated Congress through five party groups acting as their “legal fronts”, a charge that was immediately exposed as false by the groups he has identified.

DEADLY LABEL. Progressive groups hold a protest rally in front of the Ombudsman’s Office after filing an administrative complaint against PCOO Usec. Lorraine Badoy for red-tagging Vice President Leni Robredo and supporters of her presidential campaign. Manny Palmero

“I tell you that Lorraine Badoy is right,” the president said of the spokesperson for his National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), which has been widely criticized for putting in criticism of the administration red.

Badoy had previously claimed that several members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives were cooperating with communist rebels to “end” the government.

Duterte identified these groups as the Kabataan, Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Alliance of Concerned Teachers and Gabriela party lists.

“You can see it in their behavior and the way they embrace their advocacy – really leftists,” he said, saying the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was able to gain support from these groups.

“You can see the way they talk, behave. Until the end of my day, I will continue to criticize and say something about these party lists.

He accused the groups of using government funds to support communist rebels.

Besides these activist groups, Duterte also criticized the wealthy who use the party list system as a back door to further establish themselves in Congress.

Duterte said communist rebels made “billions” of pesos by extorting construction companies and contractors.

“You know, it’s a conspiracy, you have a legal facade, a party-list. But it is a conspiracy, the act of one, the act of all,” he added.

In an online briefing, acting presidential spokesman Martin Andanar defended the president’s statements, saying they were based on unspecified intelligence reports.

“We all know that the president has access to all information, including sensitive intelligence community information. We believe he has a basis for these charges,” Andanar said in Filipino.

On Monday, Badoy said the party slates would “destroy our beloved Philippines” if re-elected to Congress.

She urged voters not to vote for these groups.

Representative of the Bayan Muna party list, Carlos Isagani Zarate, in an interview with the ABS-CBN (ANC) news channel on Wednesday, said Duterte’s remarks were “clearly a partisan political ploy” aimed at “destroy the opposition so soon”.

Deputy Minority Leader and ACT teachers’ representative France Castro said the president’s “red-marking spree” is an “attempt to shift the blame onto progressive lawmakers with baseless red-marking accusations at the instead of solving the urgent problems of the people”.

“President Duterte’s recent red tirade is nothing but a desperate attempt by his administration and the National Task Force to End the Local Communist Armed Conflict to distract from the people’s pressing problems of the never ending rises in oil prices, low wages and high inflation rates,” Castro said.

She said the party lists only expressed people’s demands for a salary increase.

“Put the blame on the lists of progressive parties that only voice the demands of the people for higher wages, adequate social services and aid, and respect for the human rights of every Filipino,” he said. -she adds.

Instead of blaming critics in red, Castro said “the Duterte administration should focus its energy and government resources on solving the people’s pressing problems.”

“His threats and harassment will not help alleviate the suffering of the people due to rising commodity prices,” Castro said.

Zarate said Duterte’s recent attack on the Makabayan bloc is “a desperate electoral tactic aimed at creating a wedge in the growing number of political opposition that supports the Leni-Kiko tandem, as well as preventing the eventual re-election of the lists of progressive parties”. of Congress.

“Once again, President Duterte imposes the communist and terrorist label on the public to justify the escalation of attacks against his critics. We have already seen the dangers of this type of attack as it erases any distinction between what is legal and illegal, unarmed militants and armed rebels, all in complete disregard of due process and fundamental freedoms,” said Zarat.

Gabriela’s representative, Arlene Brosas, said President Duterte’s recent red flag statements “constitute his desperate last-ditch attempts to silence progressive groups ahead of the 2022 election.”

“We see nothing but desperation in Duterte’s recycled red-tagging claims against the Gabriela party slate and the entire Makabayan bloc, especially as they were released weeks before the presidential elections. May 9,” Brosas said.

MP Gabriela Partylist said the fight for lower oil and commodity prices and higher wages are the real basic demands of the poor reeling from recent price shocks.

The CPP-New People’s Army (NPA) is listed as a terrorist group by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the Philippines.

The Counter-Terrorism Council also officially designated the political wing of the CPP-NPA, the National Democratic Front, as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA which was established in April. 1973.

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