National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. yesterday branded Jose Ma. “Joma” Sison, Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) leader as the real “master red-tagger”, which was rejected outright by a party-list nominee in Congress.
Esperon, in a virtual press conference, presented old and latest video presentations by Sison where he identified or “red-tagged” all 18 “underground organizations” linked to leftist legal fronts.
“Joma’s statement during the 48th anniversary of their communist’ movement last April 24, enumerated their underground mass organizations (UGMO) and their link to the league of people’s organizations. Sison affirmed that their revolution is an armed struggle posed for general uprising led by NPA ,” Esperon explained.
He added that the blatant admission of Sison ran contrary to claims by leftist groups that it has been government, through the National Task Force-Ending Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), that has been “red-tagging” activists and CPP-allied organizations.
Esperon, also Vice Chairman of NTF-ELCAC, said these groups have long conspired to topple and seize power from the goverment.
“It is Sison himself who has been red-tagging. We have a saying that ‘ang isda ay nahuhuli sa bibig’ and we at NTF-ELCAC is just truth-tagging them,” Esperon further explained.
Citing how Sison red-tagged the women’s partylist group Gabriela as an example. Esperon said Gabriela is controlled by the Malayang Kilusan ng Bagong Kababaihan which is one of the CPP’s UGMO.
“Joma red-tagged (in his anniversary statement) them (Gabriela). You will know how they are connected. They are very well-organized movement, simply want to overthrow a democratically elected goverment,” Esperon said.
Meanwhile, Esperon said just like the CPP-NPA which is multi-faceted and layered organization, NTF-ELCAC has to act and revitalize itself by forming its own media bureau with eight spokepersons “to cover everything” and every concerns, as the task force is composed of inter-agencies working for the implementation of the Barangay Development Program (BDP) aimed at developing 822 barangays that were previously cleared from the CPP-NPA-NDF.
Apart from Usec. Lorraine Badoy and Lt.Gen. Antonio Parlade, the NTF-ELCAC “thematic” pool of spokespersons include Usec. Joel Sy Egco, a former CPP-NPA cadre, DILG Usec. Jonathan Malaya, Usec. Severo Catura, MMDA Asec. Celine Pialago, lawyer Marlon Bosantog and Gaye Florendo.The move provoked a reaction from House Deputy Minority leader Carlos Isagani Zarate who said NTF-ELCAC inreased the number of spokespersons “ so that there will be an overdrive in its red-tagging activities and spreading of disinformation and fake news. Worse, this may even lead to more trumped-up charges and EJKs.”
“Increasing its spokespersons is also a means for the ovebudgeted agency to just defuse the criticisms that Parlade and Badoy-Partosa are taking for their continued lies,” said Zarate, nominee of Bayan Muna party-list group.
“As it is though even if they increase their spokespersons to a hundred, mouthing statements that would not stand in court, then they are just further wasting taxpayers money and earning more condemnation,” he added.
Zarate also warned “red tagging is very dangerous and targets the lives of individuals.”
“We should stop this agency from spreading more lies and harassment. Those who continue to do this should be held accountable because they are targetting everyone from the ordinary citizen, progressives, lawyers, media, church people and even elected officials.” With Joel Zurbano, Maricel Cruz