PETITION TO DISQUALIFY. Members of the League of Parents of the Philippines, Liga Independencia Pilipinas, and Yakap ng Magulang, and parents of minors recruited by militant organizations, gather outside the Commission on Elections main office in Intramuros, Manila on Friday (Nov. 5, 2021). They intensified their call to cancel the registration of party-list groups Kabataan and Gabriela. (PNA photo by Lade Kabagani)

MANILA – Multi-sectoral organizations on Friday urged anew the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to disqualify party-list groups Kabataan and Gabriela from the 2022 elections because of their links with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).

Members of the League of Parents of the Philippines, Liga Independencia Pilipinas, and Yakap ng Magulang, along with parents of minors who have been recruited by CPP-NPA organizations, staged a rally outside the Comelec main office at the Palacio del Gobernador in Intramuros, Manila to renew their call for the cancellation of the registration of the two party-list groups.

Earlier this year, Angela Aguilar, a former CPP cadre and Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) member, filed a petition before the poll body to disqualify "the party-list groups that are identified sympathizers of the communist terrorist groups (CTGs)".

The petition also urged the Comelec to revoke the registration of other party-list groups under the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) Bloc, including Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, ACT, Integrity, Equality, Leadership, and Action, General Assembly Binding Women for Reforms.

In a statement, the anti-communist groups believe that the militant party-list groups are violating the provisions of the Republic Act 7941 (Party-List System Act), saying "they are pretending as the voice of marginalized Filipinos to protect the communist armed struggle".

"Specifically, they have violated the provision on receiving foreign assistance and grants to pursue their terroristic acts," the statement read.

The groups said the party-lists are expanding toward infiltrating other sectors such as the academe and professionals.

Student recruitment

In an interview, Hands Off Our Children member and Yakap ng Magulang founder Relissa Santos Lucena appealed to the Comelec to swiftly act on their petition.

Lucena, mother of Alicia Jasper who was recruited by Anakbayan and is an active member of the Kabataan party-list, said they can only "live in peace" once the Comelec would provide positive feedback on their calls against the CPP's legal fronts.

Lucena lamented these party-lists, particularly Kabataan, are manipulating the House of Representatives to accumulate funds "to sustain their communist mass movement and to lure more minors to join the armed struggle".

Most of the former NPA rebels who were recruited from the prominent state universities in Metro Manila, she said, could testify that the Kabataan party-list has been part of the underground mass movement of the CTGs.

She also cautioned other parents who have sent their children to universities and schools known to be infiltrated by the CPP-NPA-NDF "to be wary and always be vigilant" against militant organizations that are recruiting new members for armed revolution.

"Nagre-recruit sila ng mga kabataan sa mga universities and colleges para gawing mga future members at cadres ng NPA kung saan doon sa kalibliban ng mga kabundukan ay magmu-multiply sila (They are recruiting more children in the universities and colleges to become future NPA members and cadres and they go to far-flung communities, in the mountains, to multiply)," Lucena said.

Hands Off Our Children member and Yakap ng Magulang Founder Relissa Santos Lucena (PNA photo by Lade Kabagani)

Elago’s lies

Lucena also slammed outgoing Kabataan party-list Representative Sarah Elago for continuously denying her connection with the CPP-NPA-NDF.

"Si Sarah Elago po ay isang sinungaling. At ang mga ebidensya po ay hindi na niya maikakaila dahil 'yung mismong mga former rebel na nakasama ay sila mismo ang magpapatotoo ng koneksyon nila sa komunistang grupo (Sarah Elago is a liar. The evidence cannot be denied anymore because even the former rebels who were with her could testify their connection with the communist groups)," she said.

Lucena said the Comelec should also look into the "pretentious" activities of the party-list groups.

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.

The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the NDF as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973. (PNA)