MANILA (3rd UPDATE) - The military on Wednesday revealed schools in Metro Manila where communist rebels were allegedly recruiting for the supposed "Red October" plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.
Brigadier General Antonio Parlade Jr., deputy chief of staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, said the communists were trying to project Duterte as the new dictator through a film showing.
"May on-going film showing sila about dark years of martial law sa mga class to incite students to rebel against the government," the military official told ABS-CBN News.
According to Parlade, the communists were recruiting and "inciting" in these 18 Metro Manila schools:
- Adamson University
- Ateneo de Manila University
- De La Salle University
- Emilio Aguinaldo College
- Eulogio Amang Rodriguez Institute of Science and Technology
- Far Eastern University
- Lyceum of the Philippines University
- Philippine Normal University
- Polytechnic University of the Philippines
- University of the East—Caloocan
- University of the East—Recto
- University of Makati
- University of Manila
- University of the Philippines—Diliman
- University of the Philippines—Manila
- University of Santo Tomas
- San Beda College
Parlade added a "Caloocan City College" to the list, although it was pointed out on social media that such a school does not exist.
According to its website, University of Caloocan City was originally known as Caloocan City Community College and later became a polytechnic college. It converted to a university in 2004.
Parlade said officials of these schools may not know about the supposed communist campaign. He urged parents of students to caution their kids against joining such activities.
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Carlito Galvez Jr. had on Tuesday told senators in a budget hearing that the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was "infiltrating" schools for the "Red October" plot.
"Actually, si [CPP founder] Joma (Jose Maria) Sison has conducted a lot of conferences with UP," he added, saying he was ready to reveal documents related to the ouster plot in an executive session.
Some UP Diliman students on Tuesday denounced these allegations, saying it was Duterte himself who was prompting calls for his ouster by neglecting pressing issues in the country.
"Hindi po ako naniniwala. Lahat kasinungalingan, propaganda para bilugin mga mamayang Pilipino," said Anakbayan UP Diliman chairperson Nickolo Domingo.
(I do not believe that. All are lies, propaganda to trick Filipinos.)
The military earlier claimed that a "broad coalition" of communists and opposition groups were out to oust Duterte. Galvez later clarified that the opposition Liberal Party is not part of the plot.
PNP says no intel yet
The Philippine National Police (PNP), meanwhile, has yet to get intelligence information regarding the reported school recruitment of the CPP and its armed wing, the New People's Army.
PNP spokesperson Benigno Durana Jr. said that although they do not have direct information, it does not come as a surprise.
“Yung intelligence community namin, wala pa kaming holdings sa pagre-recruit sa mga (In our intelligence community, we have no information yet of recruitment in) schools and universities. But that’s not surprising. They’ve been doing that since its creation, almost 50 years ago," he said.
"There would always be an attempt, I don’t know if there’s really a significant uptick, aggressive recruitment and agitation activities in our schools, that we do not have information as of yet."
Durana said the left-leaning organizations have recruited from schools and universities in the past.
“Ideologues, cadres, galing sa mga (from) left-leaning organizations, di ko na papangalanan (I won't name them)," he said.
"Nahihirapan na sila dahil ang ating mga estudyante (They are having a hard time recruiting students because) they cannot be easily manipulated and swayed into committing actions that would be considered rebellious to the established government."
Durana said universities can report any recruitment or anti-government activities to the police.
Duterte terminated the peace talks with the communist movement last year, claiming that the rebels continued attacks on state troops despite ongoing negotiations.
The President also moved to label members and supporters of the communist movement as terrorists.
On Tuesday, he ordered soldiers to "neutralize" the rebels, saying it was the only way to address the communist threat.
--Report from Zhander Cayabyab and Maan Macapagal, ABS-CBN News