MANILA— Self-exiled communist leader Jose Maria Sison on Wednesday reiterated a denial identifying progressive groups as communist front amid allegations he was to blame for red-tagging.
Speaking to ANC, one of the leaders of the long-running Philippine communist insurgency accused the military of splicing a 1988 video to make it appear that groups such as Kilusang Mayo Uno, Gabriela and Alliance of Concerned Teachers, among others, were allied to their cause.
"Well I, spoke in Belgium, in Brussels, in 1988 and the Philippine military was able to get hold of the video. They spliced the video to make it appear that I said that the legal democratic organizations are fronts, in the sense that they are facade. I never used that kind of language," he said.
"As a matter of fact, I differentiated the legal forces of the national democratic movement from the armed revolutionary movement. So it's stupid of the military to splice this. I used to call them military morons but I [now] call them idiots.”
Several military and police officials had claimed it was Sison himself who red-baited the legal democratic organizations.
Sison, who has been on self-exile in the Netherlands for over 30 years, also dismissed as “entirely untrue" claims of receiving cuts of up to 40 percent from companies extorted by their armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).
"I depend on the assistance from relatives and friends… I don’t have to depend on funds that belonged to the revolutionary movement,” he said.
He was reacting to an allegation made by Jeffrey "Ka Eric" Celiz, who the military presented to testify against communist rebels during Tuesday’s Senate hearing on the state forces' alleged rampant practice of red-tagging.
Celiz, who is included in President Rodrigo Duterte's narcolist, claims to be a former member of the armed communist movement.
On allegations that some NPA officers raped its female members, Sison slammed the military for supposedly making up stories.
He insists the communist party is committed to “following international law on human rights and international humanitarian law in humanitarian conduct of waging war."
“So you have a very responsible movement that's why it lasted for so long,” Sison added.
Attempts to broker peace with the communist movement early in the Duterte administration had collapsed after alleged rebel attacks on state forces as negotiations were ongoing. Offensives against communists have since resumed.