Bayan Muna Party List Representative Carlos Zarate and former Party List Congressman Teodoro Casino maintained that they do not consider the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army and National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF) as “enemies.”
They made this assertion when asked by Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, chairman of the Senate national defense and security committee, if they are ready to denounce and consider as enemies members of militant groups who have joined the NPA.
Lacson and former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief of staff General Hermogenes Esperon Jr., current national security adviser, pointed that Zarate and Casino are part of the government and are being paid by government.
The NPA is fighting the government and has been killing soldiers, policemen and their comrades who wanted to leave the communist movement, Lacson pointed out.
Casino said that like members of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), he could not consider members of the CPP, NDF and NPA as enemies as they are revolutionary groups and that government must always be open to dialogues.
Zarate, for his part, said the door to dialogues would close when government considers the communist as enemies.
National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Director General Alex Monteagudo that the NPA is considered a terrorist organization and refusal not to condemn it could be considered as consenting to it and allowing it to continue recruiting into its ranks, usually students.
Casino said militant groups are not recruiting the young to join the NPA but it is natural that the NPA targets the young and students to join its group.
Senate President Vicente C. Sotto III said General Antonio Parlade was right in warning against those wanting to join militant groups.
Parlade was accused of red-tagging when he called the attention of entertainment celebrities against espousing the advocacies of militant groups.