Makabayan solons ask Comelec to penalize military officials for ‘electioneering’

Christian V. Esguerra, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 17 2019 02:24 PM

MANILA—Left-leaning legislators on Wednesday filed a complaint against security officials for campaigning for the defeat of their party-list groups in the May elections and labeling them as terrorists and communist fronts.

They called the Commission on Elections’ attention to a Facebook post allegedly by the military’s Civil Relations Service asking voters to “junk” groups under the progressive Makabayan bloc.

The post described Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, ACT Teachers, and Kabataan as a “legal front” of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing New People’s Army.

Makabayan congressmen alleged that officials, including Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, violated election laws by allegedly engaging in partisan political activity and using government resources to circulate the “malicious” post.

“It is a form of electioneering,” ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro told reporters, after filing the complaint at the Comelec with Representatives Emmi De Jesus of Gabriela and Sarah Jane Elago of Kabataan.

The respondents included military chief of staff Benjamin Madrigal and Major Gen. Bienvenido Datuin, who heads the civil relations office.

The post urged “every Filipino” to “bear in mind not to return the representatives of their partylist groups like Gabriela, ACT, Anakpawis, Kabataan, and Bayan Muna, or the Makabayan bloc that is their legal front in the House and the Senate.”

The groups mentioned occupy party-list seats in the House of Representatives. Former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares is running for the Senate.

“This post is especially alarming during the campaign period, hindering our campaign activities on the ground and, at worst, threatens the safety of our campaign personnel,” the complaint said.

Castro said it was “very wrong” for the military to tag Makabayan’s party-list organizations as “terrorists.”

“Ang talagang ipinaglalaban lang talaga namin ay yung mga hinaing ng mga mamamayan na magkaroon sila ng boses sa Kongreso,” she said.