Opposition Senator Francis ‘’Kiko’’ Pangilinan on Thursday, April 8, said the Philippine intelligence community should focus its attention on what China is doing at the Julian Felipe reef, a part of Philippine territory, and not nit-pick on small entities such as the Senate employees’ union.
The National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) should also look into the entry of some four million Chinese nationals into the country since 2017, he added.
Pangilinan, president of the Liberal Party, said he supports the stand of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on the continued refusal of a big number of Chinese armed militia vessels at Julian Felipe reef and nearby reefs.
In a joint statement Wednesday, April 7, Pangilinan, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, and Sens. Leila de Lima and Risa Hontiveros condemned the red-tagging of the Senate employees’ union and vehemently denounced government officials who continue to label, brand, vilify and harass as state enemies and subversives individuals and organizations, such as the the Sandigan ng mga Empleyadong Nagkakaisa sa Adhikain ng Demokratikong Organisasyon (SENADO).
They said they could attest that the SENADO union never acted as the ‘’eyes and ears” of the communist groups in the Senate to “hijack” plans and programs of the government.
Even Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, former Senate President, said he has dealt with SENADO, saying its officers are legitimate representatives of the Senate employees.
‘’They supported my effort (when I was the Senate President) to ’end contractualization in government service.’ What is so communistic about that?’’ Pimentel asked.
In a press statement, De Lima also bewailed the recent ‘’red-tagging rampage’’ against the Senate union NICA Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo, which she called a direct attack and affront not only to the employees but also to the Senate as an institution.
“Is it just a coincidence that after some senators called out the government’s failed COVID-19 response, the Intel Chief will go on a red-tagging rampage against the Senate and its employees? Or is this a sinister attempt to create a rubber stamp Senate as the Duterte and his minions try to cling desperately to a crumbling regime?” she raised.
De Lima said she stands by its members knowing that the union is pro-employees’ rights and not pro-communist.
‘’I‘ve known Rosel, the union president, for her integrity and dedication in the service of her fellow employees,” she said.
“SENADO is not pro-communist, it is pro-employees’ rights,’’ she added.
Monteagudo alleged that the Senate of the Philippines is “manned” by an organization for the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) since the SENADO is affiliate of COURAGE.
COURAGE, or the Confederation for Unity Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees, is made up of workers’ unions from the government, but is being tagged by public officials as a CPP-NPA-NDF front organization.
The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) backed Monteagudo’s claim.