MANILA — The lone Gabriela party-list member at the House of Representatives chastised the military Friday after its official said the women's rights group is "definitely part of a terrorist organization" without substantiating his claim with evidence.
"Palagi nila sinasabi pero di nila kami ma-ano sa korte. Ibig sabihin wala silang ebidensya, they're all lies... They resort to red-tagging, vilification, everything," Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas told ANC.
Brosas was responding to claims of Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., also spokesman of the controversial National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), a unit that several rights groups have accused of red-tagging.
"You cannot be nominated as a party-list representative of Gabriela, as well as Makabayan bloc member, if you are not a card-bearing member... They cannot deny it, it's the CPP (Communist Party of the Philippines) who nominates these people, so are they part of the terrorist organization? Yes, definitely. Definitely," Parlade told ANC in an earlier interview Friday.
But Brosas said Parlade's claim can easily be disputed by Gabriela's 2-decades of legislative track record.
"We have a track record of 20 years of doing legislative measures [regarding] violence against women, anti-trafficking, juvenile justice welfare act, occupation safety on health, maternity leave law (MLL), expanded MLL, anti-rape amendments, magna carta for women... That's enough to explain [na] iba ang Gabriela women's party," Brosas said.
Brosas said AFP's intensified red-tagging is part of a larger scheme to eventually remove her and other members of the progressive Makabayan bloc from their House seats.
"We are being targeted, hindi na kami nagugulat diyan. They want us out of parliament... 'yung critical at iba pagtanaw sa majority," Brosas said.
Parlade said earlier they are "in the process" of moving to declare Gabriela and other alleged "communist fronts" as terrorists, invoking the legally-contested Anti-Terrorism Act.
But for Brosas, all they can do is "fight back" against the "culture of impunity" under the administration.
"Hindi puwede magpa-intimidate. You have to fight back," Brosas said.
Parlade has been under fire since Wednesday for red-tagging actresses Liza Soberano and Angel Locsin, and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray due to their links with Gabriela.