MANILA – A petition to cancel the registration of the Kabataan Party-list for allegedly being a legal front-organization of communist terrorist groups that lures the youth into the communist armed conflict was filed before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Friday.
The move of the Legal Cooperation Cluster (LCC) of the National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) wants meant put an end to the deceptive recruitment of the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) through the Kabataan Party-list.
The filing of the petition to delist Kabataan from the party-list system coincided with the 32nd anniversary of the Rano Massacre in Digos, Davao del Sur.
On June 25, 1989, in Sitio Rano, Barangay Binaton, 39 members of the Bagobo-Tagabawa tribe were killed by NPA rebels while hearing Mass at the United Church of Christ in the Philippines.
The rebels also went to houses near the chapel and killed everyone caught hiding.
Lawyer Marlon Bosantog, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson for Legal Affairs and Indigenous Peoples Concerns, said the move is part of the task force's continuing efforts to expose and give justice to all the victims of the atrocities and violent attacks committed by the CPP-NPA-NDF.
"We confirmed that the Kabataan Party-list is a creation of the CPP-NPA-NDF. This is an organization that aims to overthrow the government and that it's an organization that recruits from its members to turn into armed combatants," Bosantog said while holding the petition's statement during Friday’s NTF-ELCAC online media briefing.
Kabataan, he said, has violated election laws and the Constitution itself.
"Found in rules of Comelec is that if a particular party-list or organization is advocating its goals through unlawful means and violence or that it refuses to adhere to the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines, the registration of the organization should be canceled," Bosantog added.
The task force previously filed a similar petition against the Gabriela Women’s Party.
He said the petition is backed by statements of Kabataan and CPP-NPA members who testified they were personally recruited by Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago.
"Attached to the petition are numerous pieces of evidence and testimonies under oath by our several witnesses," he said.
Alma Gabin, former education secretary of the CPP-NPA Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee, disclosed how the Kabataan Party-list, formerly known as Anak ng Bayan, recruited young members into the underground unit of the CPP-NPA.
Gabin said the main goal of the organization is to "really destabilize the government".
"During elections, all internal data are being disseminated in the NPA camps to be used as propaganda weapons of CPP-NPA-linked organizations at various levels," she said in Filipino.
Gabin said Kabataan's push for national democracy is connected to the basic principle of the protracted people's war, which was stipulated in CPP founder Jose Maria "Joma" Sison's book titled Philippine Society and Revolution.
"The basic principle of the CPP-NPA was actually stated in the constitution crafted by the Kabataan Party-list," she said.
Gabin added that even government funds given to Kabataan are spent to support communist movements and underground recruitment strategies of the NPA.
"I participated in these activities when I was there from 2004 to 2016," she said.
Gabin urged the public to join the government push for a long-term solution to finally halt the "senseless" revolution perpetrated by the CPP-NPA-NDF and its allied organizations.
Meanwhile, Jade Cinco, 26, was recruited as a youth organizer of Kabataan in Catbalogan, Samar.
Cinco said Elago personally tasked him to recruit more youths and join the armed movement.
"As a member of Kabataan organization, I was exposed to various NPA camps and participated in several Reds’ activities, including CPP-NPA-NDF anniversaries," he said.
Jayson Rafales, Kabataan local representative for Tacloban, said he was assigned to campaign for the Kabataan and Bayan Muna party-lists during the 2019 midterm elections.
Bosantog said the petition "is not an assault against the youth of this country but a way to protect them from the deceptive practice" of the organization.
The CPP-NPA-NDF is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)