MANILA – Partido Reporma standard-bearer, Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson, described as "really worrisome" information coming from a former New People's Army (NPA) cadre indicating that operatives of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP)'s legal fronts may have "infiltrated" the campaign of Vice President Ma. Leonor "Leni" Robredo.
He added these pieces of information disclosed by ex-NPA cadre Jeffrey "Ka Eric" Celiz appeared to jibe with those provided by his own intelligence sources.
"Now, this is really worrisome - my intel sources being validated by Ka Eric, himself a top-ranking NPA surrenderor. Bad if their campaign is infiltrated. Worse if they are a willing partner. I’m more concerned about those who voluntarily joined their rallies but were not aware," Lacson said in a post on his Twitter account late Wednesday.
He was referring to information cited by Celiz indicating that members of the CPP and its supposed legal fronts were at the rally of Robredo in Cavite last March 4.
Celiz, in a video posted on social media, cited a text message from a former colleague in the CPP-NPA who is now based in Cavite, indicating members of the group's reported legal fronts were brought in from parts of Cavite and even Rizal province.
Also, Celiz alleged there was a budget of PHP500 per head, of which PHP200 was spent for transportation and food.
During a hearing on red-tagging which Lacson presided over in November 2020, Celiz said CPP founding chairperson Jose Maria "Joma" Sison had named several groups as his legal "fronts," which have infiltrated several sectors.
Celiz also said the legal fronts lay the ground for recruiting members to the NPA.
With the information cited by Celiz, Lacson reiterated his warning to those concerned to watch out against being part of a possible coalition government with the CPP, NPA, and NDF.
"If those in the campaign were not aware of this, they should consider themselves warned and take appropriate action. If they are a willing partner, they should consider the consequences of their actions - we simply cannot afford to have a coalition government with a movement whose sole objective is to seize power," Lacson 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.
While the Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the NDF as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and inseparable part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973.
"Since 1969, our country has suffered from the longest-running insurgency in the world which has caused more than 2,000 deaths and billions of pesos in revolutionary taxes paid to the CPP-NPA, not to mention the destruction of properties of those who refused to 'cooperate.' Insurgency, like corruption, must end if we want peace and prosperity," the Partido Reporma standard-bearer added.
As this developed, Partido Reporma senatorial candidate and former Philippine National Police (PNP) chief, Guillermo Eleazar, said the national government should seriously consider declaring a state of economic emergency, explaining that it could empower the local government units (LGUs) to act on their own to assist their constituents that are now suffering the brunt of the series of big-time oil price hikes in the past months.
He added the state of economic emergency also serves as an assurance for quick and appropriate assistance to the affected sectors at the local level amid the continuous delay in the distribution of fuel subsidy for the transport and agriculture sectors.
“A state of economic emergency is already a necessity if another big-time oil price hike happens next week, and especially if there is still no assurance that oil price will stabilize in the coming months,” Eleazar said.
The former PNP chief added this will shield people from the immediate impacts of expected increases in basic goods and services and should be a top priority especially since the country is still recovering from the adverse effects of the pandemic.
The Philippine government has allotted PHP2.5 billion for the fuel subsidy for drivers of mass transport vehicles and operators and PHP500 million for farmers and fishers to help them amid the impact of the price hikes on their livelihood. (with reports from Lloyd Caliwan/PNA)