A lawmaker representing one of the progressive groups in Congress on Thursday has denied that their organizations are fronts for the Communist Party of the Philippines or its armed wing, the New People’s Army.
In a television interview, Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said progressive groups of lawmakers do not serve as a front to the communist groups and do not advocate armed struggle
Gaite said these groups have a different “form” of pushing for their advocacies, away from the armed revolution.
This much was recognized by Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison, whose statement was often cited by government officials as supposed recognition of legitimate organizations’ ties to the armed movement, said Gaite.
Gaite and other members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives have been placed under surveillance following communist rebels’ testimonies, according to Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., spokesperson of the government’s National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.
The bloc is composed of six party-list representatives from Bayan Muna, Gabriela, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and Kabataan.
“Maraming organizations na pareho ang pagsusuri pero iba-iba ang paraan. It was a statement that there are armed groups who are pursuing armed struggle. Kami, we agree sa pag-analyze ng lipunan. However, hindi namin tinutulak ang armed struggle. Kaya nga kami nasa Kongreso, para isulong ‘yung parliamentaryong pakikibaka, legal form of struggle (There are a lot of organizations who share the same analysis, but pursue different ways. It was a statement that there are armed groups who are pursuing armed struggle. We agree with the analysis of the society. However, we do not push for the armed struggle. That’s why we’re in Congress, to pursue parliamentary struggle, legal form of struggle.),” said Gaite.
The changes they fight for in their “unarmed” struggle include “reforms in the structure of government, in the system of economic and socio-political conditions,” he said.
“Yung sinasabi ni Joma na revolution ay ‘yung pagsulong ng pambansang demokratikong pagbabago sa ating lipunan. ‘Yun din ang aming paniniwala, na hangga’t di nagbabago ang ganitong sistema ng ating bayan, we will never achieve genuine changes economically, politically, socially (The revolution Joma was talking about was the pursuit of a national democratic change in our society. That is also what we believe in, that until these systems are change, we will never achieve genuine changes economically, politically, socially.),” he said.
Asked if his group was taking orders from the exiled leader of the CPP, Gaite said: “Of course not.”
Meanwhile, Gaite also questioned the credibility of Senator Panfilo Lacson to probe the red-tagging activities of military officials.
“When we talk about trust, we still have to see how he (Lacson)!will pursue it. By the way, he was the proponent of the Anti-Terror Law, he was the main author,” he said.
“May be difficult for us. He might use this network just to whitewash the processes that are happening today, including the provisions of the Anti-Terror Law and its implementing rules and regulations,” he said.
He cited an incident wherein Senator Ronald dela Rosa conducted a Senate inquiry into the missing minors who were allegedly recruited by leftists rganizations.
He sad the investigation became a “spectacle” wherein Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago and Bayan Muna chairman Neri Colmenares were tagged.
Lacson, committee on national defense and security, peace, unification and reconciliation chairperson, is one of the principal authors of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
He filed a resolution seeking to investigate supposed red-tagging activities of military officials.
House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco said red-tagging the lawmakers “endangers the lives of these duly-elected officials,” as he told Parlade to be “more circumspect and cautious” in issuing statements like that.