NICA chief urges Makabayan solons to heed authorities

The Philippines' top intelligence official has now quoted the Bible as he insisted that Makabayan lawmakers and their organizations are part of the armed communist movement.

National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Director-General Alex Paul I. Monteagudo (PNA / MANILA BULLETIN)

At the third hearing of the Senate defense committee on the supposed red-tagging activities of the government security sector on Tuesday, National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Director-General Alex Paul Monteagudo maintained that they were telling the "truth" when they said that progressive congressmen and groups influence youths to join the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People's Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP) and take up arms against the government.

He went on to read Romans 13:1-2 of the Bible on the stress that people should submit to authorities. A portion of this Biblical passage reads, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”

Monteagudo said the Bible serves as their "gospel truth" and that "enable us to see the truth from all the lies and deception around us."

He particularly mentioned activist and Benedictine nun, Sister Mary John Mananzan, for teaching a "very dangerous" interpretation of the scripture when she spoke about the oppression of the poor during the November 24 hearing of the Senate defense panel.

The NICA chief claimed that the progressive groups use the "CPP-NPA philosophy" to supposedly influence idealistic and "naturally gullible" youths, again naming the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan), among others, as "fronts" of the communist group.

Bayan spokesman and former Bayan Muna representative Teodoro "Teddy" Casiño quickly contradicted Monteagudo's claims, saying their group never encouraged youths to take up arms against the government.

"'Yon ang problema, Mr, Chair, wala naman silang patunay (That is the problem, Mr. Chairman, they have no proof). Tignan nila ang constitution namin, tignan nila yon aming by-laws (Try looking at our constitution and by-laws), look at our public statements, our releases, join our rallies. Kailan kami nag-udyok na mag-armas ang mga tao (When did we encourage people to take up arms)?" Casiño dared the security officials.

"Ang tinuturo namin 'yong katotohanan, eh (We are only teaching the truth). We need nationalism, we need to defend human rights, we need to uphold our democratic values. 'Yon po ang aming programa at plataporma sa Bayan, masama ba 'yon (Those are the programs and platforms that we are pushing for in Bayan, are those wrong)? Is that brainwashing?" he continued.

He also noted that more of their members have become part of the government.

Casiño added that Monteagudo's claim that their organization teaches members to recruit for the NPA is "very problematic".

"Eh kung ganon ho, parang sinasabi niyo na huwag na tayong magturo ng pagiging makabayan at pagiging demokratiko, at pagtanggol ng human right dahil 'yong mga tinuturan natin niyan ay namumundok (If that is your logic, then you might as well say that we should not teach about nationalism, democracy, at protection of human rights because those that we teach end up in mountains)," he said.

Before he started his testimony, Monteagudo asked the Senate committee to offer a moment of silence to pray for Rochelle Mae Bacalso and Jevilyn Cullamat, alleged NPA members who were killed in encounters with the military.