Zarate, etc. slam military for spying on their group

Published November 4, 2020, 4:39 PM

by Ben Rosario

Not billions of pesos, but less than P100 in internet load is just what the government intelligence community will need to “spy” on six Makabayan lawmakers under monitoring by the military.

Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate (Bayan Muna Partylist / FACEBOOK / MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

House Deputy Minority leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said this, even as he asked National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and his men to spare government of the billions of pesos in intelligence funds to spy on him and five of his colleagues.
“General Esperon, magpunta po kayo sa andun po lahat nung mga ‘acts’ na pinagbubuhusan ng oras ng Bayan Muna (Gen. Esperon you only have to visit, that’s where you will find the acts Bayan Muna spent their time on), “ said Zarate in a press statement.
Zarate, who is the most senior among the group, assured Esperon that everything that he and his colleagues have been working on in Congress can be found in the Lower House website.
He said intelligence officers will find in the website hundreds of legislative proposals they have been pursuing in the Lower Chamber.
Among these are House Bill 3381 of “An Act Strengthening Worker’s Right to Security of Tenure,” House Bill 224 o “An Act Providing Free Health Services to All Filipinos,” House Bill 241 o “An Act Increasing the Monthly Pension of Senior Citizens.”
Reps. Ferdinand Gaite also of Bayan Muna and France Castro of ACT Teachers partylist chided Esperon who admitted that the intelligence community has been closely monitoring the activities of Makabayan lawmakers.
“Personally, I am an author to more than 400 House Bills addressing important issues ranging from bus drivers’ security of tenure to genuine land reform, from ensuring fair electricity bills to including comprehensive renal care in Philhealth packages,” said Gaite.
He added: “General Esperon could take time to sit down with his surveillance agents and read through all those bills, but I doubt they would find any one of those bills inimical to our national security.”
For her part, Castro lashed at Esperon and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) for allegedly “dismantling and closing 75 Lumad schools in Mindanao” and crowing over the “crime”.
During a Senate hearing on Tuesday, the NTF-ELCAC also announced it will soon close 22 more operational Lumad schools.
         “This Senate inquiry is just a waste of people’s money for shameless and baseless accusations to progressive organizations and even the Lumad community. The Duterte administration with his bunch of generals nesting the government will continue to fail its people with their militaristic approach,” Castro said.