NATIONAL Security Council Director General Hermogenes Esperon challenged members of the progressive groups, particularly the Makabayan bloc, to show their true color and what they are fighting for.
Esperon was responding to the call of the Makabayan bloc to give the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) zero budget for 2021.
For next year, the proposed budget of the task force is P19 billion.
The Makabayan bloc denounced the NTF-ELCAC budget as “generals’ pork barrel.”
In a strongly worded statement, Esperon said he is ready to show evidence that will prove the intentions of the CPP-NPA and the various front organizations supporting it.
Esperon, the vice chairman of the task force is defending the group’s spokesperson Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy and Lt. General Antonio Parlade Jr. against those accusing them of engaging to red tagging.
“I wish to make it clear that I am providing numerous pieces of evidence and information that will expose the true nature of the CPP-NPA, and its various front organizations, primarily among them the Makabayan bloc. We are taking this opportunity to inform the public of the deceit and treachery that they have continuously employed in order to gain sympathy for their cause,” Esperon said.
According to Esperon, the administration is not red-tagging front organizations because the term itself came from the communist organization.
President Rodrigo Duterte is the chairman of the NTF-ELCAC.
“We are accused of ‘red-tagging’ front organizations by their very own mouthpieces. To them I pose these questions: Why have they not questioned Jose Maria Sison when he himself identified these organizations as part of the bigger organ of the Communist Party of the Philippines? Sison was specific when he named BAYAN, Gabriela, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), League of Filipino Students, and Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas as well as the Kilusang Mayo Uno as part of his national democratic revolution,” Esperon said.
‘Stop red tagging’
Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has cautioned Lt. General Antonio Parlade Jr. against “red-tagging” members of the House of Representatives.
In a statement, Velasco dared Parlade to file charges in court if he has enough evidence against the Makabayan solons.
“If he has evidence, gather them and go to court, and not to the media,” Velasco said.
Aside from the militant solons, Parlade is also linking some famous celebrities in Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) activities.
Velasco said he is concerned about the continuous red-tagging of some members of the House of Representatives which endangers the lives of these duly-elected officials.
“As Speaker of the House, I am duty-bound to protect them from potential harm due to these careless accusations so that they may carry out their legal and constitutional mandate as members of Congress,” Velasco said.
“I am equally disturbed that General Parlade has targeted celebrities for speaking their minds and promoting their advocacies. I hope he will refrain from issuing unrestrained statements that also carry serious repercussions,” he added.
The Speaker asked Parlade to be more circumspect and cautious in issuing statements against House members whose lives he may place at great risk sans strong evidence.