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Solons row over red-tagging issue

BAYAN Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said he is confident that House Speaker Lord Allan Velasco will not give in to presure from anti-communist groups who are calling for an inquiry by the House of Representatives into the alleged involvement of the Makabayan Bloc solons with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

Gaite believed that Velasco will let his “good judgment” prevail amidst the red tagging issue involving the representatives of Gabriela Partylist, Kabataan Partylist, ACT Teachers Partylist and Bayan Muna.

According to him, during the Senate hearing on red tagging, the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) failed to present evidence that will prove their ties with the CPP-NPA.

With this, he added that even if the House of Representatives will conduct its own inquiry, the probe will just end in futility.

“Clearly there is pressure on the House to join the communist witch hunt of the NTF-ELCAC, but we believe Speaker Velasco will remain judicious and will not allow the House to be used as venue for peddling baseless accusations against its members,” Gaite explained.

Meanwhile, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago pointed out that the call for the conduct of a House inquiry has no basis at all as the allegations thrown against them by the NTF-ELCAC were fabricated, and that their real purpose, according to her, is for them to be removed as members of Congress.

In response, League of Parents of the Philippines (LPP) Chair Remy Rosadio appealed to Velasco, saying he should listen not to his fellow lawmakers but to the voice of the people.

She added that as long as the Makabayan Bloc remains in the House of Representatives, more and more youths will be enticed to join or be recruited by the NPA.

Hands off Our Children Founder Gemma Labsan also criticized the failure of the House to act on their appeal for an inquiry, saying that if the Senate has immediately heeded their call, all the more that the Lower Chamber should hear them because the Makabayan Bloc is under their jurisdiction.

Labson believed that the conduct of House Inquiry is important to unravel the truth behind the alleged recruitment being done by the Makabayan Bloc to encourage the youth to joinin the communists.

And with Velasco apparently showing his “bias” or partiality, Labsan added that they will not stop calling on the House to perform its mandate from the people until it gives in to their appeal to investigate the progressive lawmakers.

Several House lawmakers who refused to be identified, meanwhile, believed that it is impossible for the Lower chamber to conduct an inquiry on its own members.

Earlier, Velasco defended the Makabayan blocin the red tagging issue.