Esperon backs 2 officials who red-tagged party-list groups

Jamaine Punzalan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 28 2020 02:25 PM

Esperon backs 2 officials who red-tagged party-list groups 1
Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. and Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy. ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA— National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. on Wednesday said he supports 2 officials of a task force against insurgents who recently claimed that some party-list groups are legal fronts for communist rebels. 

Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., a spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), recently urged actress Liza Soberano and beauty queen Catriona Gray to cut ties with groups with alleged communist links. He also claimed that actress Angel Locsin's sister is a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). 

Meanwhile, Communications Undersecretary and NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Lorraine Badoy has repeatedly tagged lawmakers, academics, journalists and other activists in the CPP. 

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"Sinusuportahan ko at sinasabi ko rin, dinadagdagan ko iyong sinasabi nila kung hindi pa nila nasabi. Pero napakagaling ni Lorraine at Gen. Parlade, nasasabi nila ang lahat," Esperon said in a Laging Handa public briefing.

(I support and I am adding more details to what they said. But Lorraine and Gen. Parlade are both very good, they say everything.)

"Ngayon lang kasi nangyayari na mayroon tayong mga spokespersons na ganito, talagang nagsasabi ng totoo. At kailangan talagang magising na ang buong bayan. Ano ba ang gusto natin, palalawigin ba natin itong 52 years ng CPP-NPA na ginugulo tayo, o gusto natin na wakasan ito?" added Esperon, a former military chief. 

(It's only now that we have spokespersons like this, who are telling the truth. And the whole country needs to wake up. What do we want, extend the 52 years of the CPP-NPA which has been bothering us or do we want to end this?) 

Communist groups are "the number one political security threat," said Esperon. He named 3 party-list groups and a lawyer's group that are allegedly "controlled" by some communist members. 

"Lagi nilang pinupulaan ang gobyerno. Ang gusto kasi ng CPP-NPA ay itumba ang democratically elected government at ang ating democratic system," he said. 

(They are always criticizing the government. The CPP-NPA wants to topple the democratically elected government and our democratic system.)

"Marami silang underground organizations, marami rin silang front organizations," he said. 

(They have many underground organizations, they have many front organizations.)

Red-tagged party-list groups have earlier denounced being linked to communist rebels. 

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President Rodrigo Duterte wants state troops to "keep quiet" and do their jobs instead of red-tagging, his spokesman Harry Roque had said Monday. 

The Commission on Human Rights earlier reminded the government that the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law in 1992 meant that being part of the Communist Party of the Philippines was no longer illegal.

"The challenge before those who accuse is to prove allegations of any illegal act before fair and competent courts," CHR spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia had said in May.