The plan of a government body to bar the Makabayan bloc at the House of Representatives from running from public office is baseless, Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares said Wednesday.
National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) vice chairman National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. had earlier said that the task force is confident there is enough evidence to seek the disqualification of the Makabayan bloc.
Colmenares, a human rights lawyer and activist, cited the Makabayan bloc’s constitutional right to hold disparate political beliefs from that of the administration.
“Actually, Gen. Esperon and the task force are wrong to file a disqualification case on the basis that failure to condemn is tantamount to endorsing it (armed violence),” he said in a virtual media briefing.
The law’s requirement is no one should advocate for armed violence, the former lawmaker said, adding that public officials are not required to condemn Leftist groups because that’s a “constitutional right.”
“We are going to go back to our freedom to our own political beliefs . . . That’s your belief. You exercise your constitutional right to political beliefs,” Colmenares said.
He added that the failure to condemn another political ideology is not a ground for disqualification to hold public office nor is it a ground for criminalizing or putting someone in prison.
President Duterte slammed Makabayan bloc, which is composed of Bayan Muna, ACT, Gabriela, and Kabataan party-list groups Monday, accusing the group as legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front.