The refusal of leaders of progressive organizations to denounce the recruitment of students into the New People’s Army, the armed component of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), and the NPA atrocities is a masquerade.
This was the contention of former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) General Hermogenes Esperon, current national security adviser, during a five-hour public hearing by the Senate national defense committee on the issue of red-tagging.
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, committee chairman and a former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, joined Esperon in expressing his sentiment against the refusal of former Party-list Representative Teodoro Casino to denounce the “graduation” of their “alumnus” to the NPA after they have been radicalized.
Casino said he does not consider those joining the NPA as enemies because they are engaged in rebellion. “It’s their decision,” he added.
“I can’t reconcile,” interjected Lacson on Casino’s reasoning during the hearing.
Lacson and Esperon said they had described as “enemies of the State” former Philippine Military Academy (PMA) graduates Victor Corpus and Lieutenant Crispin Tagamolila after they joined the communist movement.
“Where are your responsibilities? You are part of government,” Esperon told Casino, reminding that he was elected as a legislator and is an elective government official.
Members of the House of Representatives’ Makabayan bloc denied being members of the CPP or political left.
“The enemies are at the House of Representatives,” Noel Legaspi, alias Ka “Efren” said. He was a former member of the CPP.
Legaspi identified himself as a former guerrilla front secretary leading the CPP/NPA/NDF organization in the southern region.
Jeffrey Celiz, alias “Ka Eric,” a former CPP member, again testified that the Makabayan bloc has links to CPP/NPA/NDF.
Casino denied allegations that he is a communist leader.