President Duterte has branded the Makabayan bloc, Bayan, Gabriela, and other groups as legal fronts of the local communist party, alleging there are involved in a “grand conspiracy” to bring down the government.
The President explained that the government was “not red-tagging” these groups but actually identifying them as front organizations of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
“Itong mga legal fronts ng komunista, lahat ‘yan (These legal fronts of the communists) Makabayan, Bayan, they are all legal fronts, Gabriela. We are not red-tagging you. We are identifying you as members in a grand conspiracy comprising all the legal fronts that you have organized headed by NDF (National Democratic Front) tapos ‘yung — sagol ang New People’s Army, NDF at Communist Party of the Philippines,” he said during his televised address Monday night.
“They are accusing red-tagging you. No, the Armed Forces of the Philippines is very correct. You are being identified as the members of the communist,” he said.
He said the communists have engaged in “sheer brutality” in the “communal war,” insisting that they were no longer fighting for an ideology.
“There is no longer any ideology. Wala itong mga komunista wala ng ideo… They do — gusto lang nila umagaw ng gobyerno. Mga bobo naman ang p***** i** (There is no longer any ideology. The communists have no ideology. All they want is to overthrow the government. But they are stupid son of a b***),” he said.
We are not CPP members
Former Bayan Muna Party-list Congressmen Neri Colmenares and Teodoro Casiño reiterated that they are not CPP members but their political belief targets out them in a parliamentary arena seeking economic and political overhaul of the current political system.
Casiño said he believes in the fundamental changes in the system such as electoral reforms, reforms in the mining industry and abolition of the pork barrel system.
When asked by Senate President Vicente C.Sotto III whether they advocate a change in the current democratic system of the Philippines, Colmenares said the current presidential form of government is weak.
A parliamentary form of government may be a better option, he added.
“There are basic problems. I don’t advocate armed struggle,” he told Sotto in Tuesday’s public hearing on the “red-tagging” issue presided over by Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, chairman of the Senate national defense and security committee.
In Monday’s public address, Duterte also belittled the competence of communist leader Jose Maria Sison, currently living in exile in the Netherlands. He said he was ready to debate with Sison, a former college professor.
“Sinong mga bright? Si Sison? Iyon ‘yung bright si Sison? Susmaryosep. Iharap mo si Sison sa akin, magdebate kami. (Who are bright? Sison? Sison is bright? My goodness. Bring Sison in front of me. We can have a debate),” said Duterte.
In the same speech, Duterte took a swipe at Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Zarate, a member of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives. He went as far as comparing Zarate to dog feces during his remarks.
“Iyang si Zarate, si — lahat kayo. Kita mo tapos abugado ng… Susmaryosep. Alam mo sabihin ko nangangailangan ka ng pera. That’s the only reason. Komunista ka to defend an oligarch. Hindi ka naman summa cum laude. Pareho naman tayo pumasa ng bar. Kung magsalita ka you make it appear that we are milking the government of… It’s you (That Zarate, all of you. He’s a lawyer. You know he probably needs the money. That’s the only reason. You’re a communist but you defend an oligarch. You’re not even summa cum laude. We both passed the bar and yet when you speak, you make it appear that we are milking the government… it’s you),” he said.
“Alam mo sa totoo Zarate ‘pag nakikita kita sa TV, para akong nakakita ng tae ng iro, para akong nakakita ng tae ng aso. Sa totoo lang. Bantay ka sa akin (You know Zarate, whenever I see you on TV, it’s like I see dog feces frankly speaking. Better watch out),” he added.
The Makabayan lawmakers recently denied being members of the CPP-NPA and engaging in recruitment of potential fighters in the armed struggle. The group however refused to openly call the rebels as enemies of the state and condemn the their atrocities.
The lawmakers had earlier slammed the military for its alleged red-tagging spree of militant groups and celebrities without presenting adequate evidence.
At the start of the Senate public hearing at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Lacson asked Colmenares and Casiño to rebut allegations of rebel returnees that point to their sympathies to the CPP.
But Colmenares instead dared the government to file criminal charges case against them if they have strong evidence.