NOT RED-TAGGING. Alma Gabin, former education deputy secretary of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee of the CPP-NPA-NDF, says she is not red-tagging when she and three other former CPP-NPA-NDF cadres confirmed that Makabayan Bloc or “KABAG” (Kabataan, Anakbayan, Bayan Muna, ACT, Gabriela) lawmakers are also officials of the communist group. Gabin guested in the weekly virtual press briefing of the National Task Force to End Local Communists Armed Conflictn Monday (Feb. 7, 2022). (Screengrab from PCOO/RTVM)

MANILA – Four former leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People’s Army - National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) confirmed on Monday that Makabayan Bloc or “KABAG” (Kabataan, Anakbayan, Bayan Muna, ACT, Gabriela) lawmakers are also officials of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

At the weekly virtual press briefing of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), former CPP official Jeffrey Celis alias “Ka Eric” said party-list lawmakers Neri Colmenares, Satur Ocampo, Liza Masa, and Teddy Casiño of the Makabayan Bloc are real operatives of the CPP-NPA-NDF, claiming they all have personal knowledge and frequently met with the KABAG (Kabataan, Anakbayan, Bayan Muna, ACT, and Gabriela) lawmakers during Regional Committee meetings of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

“We can look them directly to their eyes,” Celiz said, referring to the KABAG lawmakers.

“Kapag may mga kampanya na (national elections), hindi po totoo na ang mga nag-uusap diyan ay mga simpleng members ng mga party-list na ito. Ang mga nakikipag-usap sa kanila ay may basbas ng Regional Party Committee ng CPP (If there are national election campaign, it is not true that those talking are simple members of these party-lists. Those who spoke to them had the blessing of the CPP Regional Party Committee),” the former member of Kabataan Makabayan said.

He added that there are three levels in the CPP-NPA-NDF meetings.

“Kapag nagmeeting na may tinatawag kaming L1, L2 at L3 meetings. Kapag L1, Level 1… open meeting iyon, may mga masa. Kapag L2 o Level 2, underground meeting iyon. Kapag Level 3, (CPP) party meeting iyon (If there are meetings, we have what call L1,L2, and L3 meetings. If L1, Level 1, that’s open meeting of the mass. If Level 2, that’s underground meeting. If Level 3, CPP party meeting),” said Celiz, adding that he met the Makabayan Bloc members during those meetings.

Celiz said the Party-list representations are very important to the Communist Terrorist Groups (CTGs) as they will work hand in hand with the armed struggle of the communist movement in the mountains and even urban operations.

He said the scheme is called Urban Operations and Bureaucratic Infiltration or “white area”.

Alma Gabin, former education deputy secretary of the Eastern Visayas Regional Party Committee and founding member of the Kabataan party-list, said her stint at the CPP-NPA-NDF even made her as a nominee of the leftist youth group in 2010, rubbing elbows with top officials like trade union leader Dennis Velasco and Kabataan Party-list Representative Sarah Elago.

Gabin recalled that the same person who recruited her in her college days is the same person who took her to an oath-taking, not as a Kabataan party-list member, but as a CPP-NPA-NDF member.

“This is not red-tagging”, she said. “KABAG is directed to the mission of the CPP-NPA-NDF” that is to topple the government.

Ariane Jane Ramos alias Ka Marikit, former secretary of Guerilla Front 55, Sub-Regional Committee 5, Southern Mindanao Regional Committee (SMRC), and former chairperson of Gabriela Youth of University of the Philippines in Mindanao, said she had a short-lived ‘urban operations’ experience, as she went and joined the armed struggle as NPA fighter.

Ramos named her mentors as Rendell Ryan Edpan Cagula and Eric Jun Casilao, currently the secretary of the SMRC and brother of former Anakpawis Representative Ariel Baring Casilao. He added that the urban operations are their way of spreading propaganda and forming the party-list as legal fronts while recruiting more militant students.

In both ways, the urban and armed struggles are inter-connected as it both serve the interest of the CPP-NPA-NDF to topple the government and place it under a communist state, she added.

“May representation (ang party-list) sa loob (CPP). Malaki ang sakripisyo namin kung paano sila gumalaw sa (The party-list has representation inside CPP. We have a lot of sacrifices on how they move in the) CPP-NPA-NDF, legal fronts, armed struggle,” she said.

For her part, Joy Saguino alias “Ka Amihan”, former secretary of Guerilla Front 20, Sub-Regional Committee 1, SMRC, and former youth and student organizer of Anakbayan and Kabataan party-list groups, said the Makabayan bloc or the legislative counterparts of the CPP-NPA-NDF are there to cover up for their urban and rural operations, such as the communist-linked schools--Salugpungan, Mindanao Interfaith Services Foundation Inc. (MISFI), and others.

Saguino said the KABAG party-list groups even exploited the government's closing of the so-called Salugpongan schools of the CPP-NPA-NDF.

She added that these lawmakers have also been exploiting their positions to get funding and support from international organizations.

Rappler, Vera Files hit for ‘selective’ fact-checking

Meanwhile, Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson on new media and sectoral concerns, slammed Rappler and Vera Files, adding that the task force is bent on taking legal action against them “for all the patent disinformation it spreads that has brought and continues to bring great harm on our people and the Republic.”

“We will also take legal action against Facebook and hold them accountable for allowing their fact-checkers, Rappler and Vera Files, to use the immense powers of this designation to operate with shameless impunity the spread of false information that is inimical to national security and to use their platform to harm the sovereignty of our nation, malign the government of the Republic of the Philippines and shake to its very core, the foundations of our Constitution,” Badoy said speaking on behalf of the NTF-ELCAC.

Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson for mass media engagements and fact-checker, said: “I will gladly join anyone or any group that will challenge this moneyed social media mogul before our courts for several possible violations. We can live without Facebook… but Facebook, a multibillion-dollar business, cannot live without us.”

The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.

The NDF has been formally designated as a terrorist organization by the Anti-Terrorism Council on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA created in April 1973. (PR)