'Witch hunt': Kabataan hits Duterte Youth's call for probe into NPA 'recruitment' in schools


Posted at Oct 16 2020 02:04 PM

Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago gives a message during the solidarity event outside the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Center in Quezon City on July 10, 2020. Gigie Cruz, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA— Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago on Friday slammed a resolution filed by the Duterte Youth party-list seeking to investigate alleged recruitment of the New People's Army (NPA) in campuses.

Instead of promoting legislation concerning health, education and livelihood, the controversial party-list is prioritizing a "witch hunt" among the youth, the lawmaker said.

"Ilang beses nang ginamit ang ganitong usapin para patahimikin, gipitin ang mga organisasyon ng mga kabataan at atakihin ang academic freedom," Elago said in a statement.

(This has been used many times to repress youth organizations and attack academic freedom.)

Duterte Youth party-list Rep. Ducielle Marie Cardema filed House Resolution No. 1293 on Thursday, 2 days after she was sworn in as an official member of the House of Representatives.

The resolution is calling for investigation on the alleged recruitment of the communist NPA among the youth, "using so-called civilian front organizations and campus youth organizations, to reinforce their ranks for communist terrorist activities."

Cardema, whose group is facing disqualification cases, clarified the purpose of the measure is not to investigate groups "simply opposing or criticizing the government" but to "find out which front organizations are recruiting for the NPA."

But this didn't sit well with Elago, saying the Duterte Youth party-list is parroting the Duterte regime's attacks against dissent.

"Duterte Youth further reveals itself as a mere mouthpiece parroting the Duterte regime's attacks against dissent and the exercise of the rights of youth in the fight against abuse, corruption and tyranny," she said.

Cardema is the wife of former National Youth Commission chair Ronald Cardema. She had to step in last minute to salvage the party-list's House bid after her husband was disqualified for attempting to represent a youth group despite being overage.

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— Report from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News