Lorenzana sides with Esperon over flagged Facebook post

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has defended National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Vice Chairman and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. after the latter was warned by the management of Facebook over a social media post that claimed Congress has been infiltrated by communist rebels.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana (Photo courtesy of Department of National Defense)

"The Department of National Defense stands behind the NTF-ELCAC and its Vice Chair, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., in airing the concerns of the Filipino people against the threat of the armed communist insurgency," Lorenzana said in a statement on Friday night, April 22.

The Defense chief then called on the social media giant to enhance their fact-checking mechanisms so as not to be accused of supposedly being biased against the government.

"As a major social media platform, Facebook should seriously consider improving its mechanisms to promote the truth instead of curtailing the government's efforts to spread awareness and inform the public of issues of national interest," Lorenzana said.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes C. Esperon Jr. (File photo/ MANILA BULLETIN)

Last April 13, Lorenzana claimed in a Facebook post that Congress has allegedly been infiltrated by members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People's Army (NPA), through the party-list system.

"In ending insurgency, the Filipinos must unite against armed struggle and against all organizations, aboveground and underground, that support the New People's Army, including Communist Party (CPP) members who have infiltrated the Congress through the partylist system. As National Security Adviser, it is my duty to inform the people who they are," he said in his Facebook account.

(Courtesy of Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr.'s Facebook account)

Two days later, Esperon made another Facebook post, showing a screen-captured image of Facebook management's warning against his earlier remark, saying his post "didn't follow our standards."

"What's wrong with this to restrict me? I should know better than you do on matters of national security," Esperon said.

(Courtesy of Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr.'s Facebook account)

The NTF-ELCAC has been lashing out at several leftist and opposition lawmakers in the House of Representatives and Senate, linking them to the CPP-NPA and urging the public not to vote for them in the upcoming May 9 elections.

But the targeted lawmakers, particularly members of the Makabayan bloc, has fought back and accused the anti-communist task force of alleged red-tagging.