MANILA – The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) stands on solid ground when it identifies members of the Makabayan bloc as fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF), a task force official said Sunday.
Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary and NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lorraine Marie Badoy insisted that the task force is only doing its job after Bayan Muna Representative and House Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Zarate said the Makabayan bloc is exploring legal processes to take actions against the task force for retagging them as a front organization of the CPP-NPA-NDF.
“It’s an old story they use, these high-ranking party members of the CPP-NPA-NDF, and we're so used to it. By now the Filipino people know when they open their mouths, it's the same old thing…We do stand on solid ground when we say these things,” Badoy said in an interview over One News.
She said identifying the Makabayan bloc as a communist front organization is not her personal opinion, but the “official stand” of the NTF-ELCAC.
“What I say when I say that, it's not a personal opinion. It's the official stand of the NTF-ELCAC which is headed by the President, which is an inter-government agency, which means that we stand on a mountain of evidence when we say something like that,” she said.
50 years of evidence
Badoy said the NTF-ELCAC has more than 52 years of evidence to back up claims that the Makabayan bloc is indeed a communist front organization.
“What is the NTF-ELCAC made of? The [Department of Justice] is there, the [Armed Forces of the Philippines] is there, the [Philippine National Police] is there, the [National Bureau of Investigation] is there, and we have 52 plus years of evidence to back up what we say. So yes definitely, we have incontrovertible truth when we say that, that the Makabayan bloc is composed of high-ranking party-members of the CPP-NPA-NDF and they are there in Congress to further the goals of the CPP-NPA-NDF, a designated terrorist organization,” she added.
Denying that they were baseless allegations, she said the proof they have is made up of powerful testimonies, documents, and even the Makabayan bloc’s own actions and words.
“There is plenty of processes involved and they involve government processes that have been vetted and very carefully studied when we say something like that,” she said.
She also shrugged off concerns that her recent statements might reignite calls to defund the NTF-ELCAC’s PHP19 billion budget.
“We're not worried at all because our courts have already spoken loud and clear and over and over. There is no such thing as red-tagging. From the Supreme Court itself. We've been brought to court over and over, plenty of times,” she said.
Red-tagging invention by CPP-NPA-NDF
She maintained that red-tagging was a term coined by communists to prevent the government from blowing their cover.
“Red-tagging is an invention by the CPP-NPA-NDF that they use to silence those who are going to blow their covers because those CPP-NPA-NDF fronts are so essential to the lifeblood of this terrorist organization,” she added.
Last December, President Rodrigo Duterte himself said government officials do not engage in red-tagging leftist lawmakers, insisting that they were actually "identifying" them as communist fronts. (See: https://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/1123408)
Duterte accused Zarate of accepting money and “defending an oligarch” but did not elaborate.
“You are friends with the NPA. You co-conspirators. Komunista ka adre, matagal na. Alam ko. Alam ko kasi alam ko (You’ve been a communist for a long time. I know. I know because I know),” he said.
Zarate, in a separate interview in the same program, earlier said the Makabayan bloc is exploring legal actions to take against the task force for red-tagging the bloc as a front organization of the CPP-NPA-NDF.
“Certainly all legal processes, all legal remedies available to us, I would have certainly entertained this to make them accountable and responsible for these accusations leveled against us. This red-baiting, red-labeling, red-tagging,” he said.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)