MANILA - Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said Friday it is "absurd" to conclude that the Makabayan bloc is a legal front of the communist insurgency movement after a lawmaker's daughter was killed in a military encounter with rebels.
Jevilyn Cullamat, daughter of Rep. Eufemia Cullamat of Bayan Muna, was a medic to the New People's Army when she was killed in a clash in Surigao del Sur.
Zarate criticized the "obsession" to link Makabayan and its elected lawmakers to the armed movement, which he said, purports that because they did not condemn the NPA, then they must be a front for it.
This way of thinking is absurd, because "you are being demonized, criminalized even, for your belief," he said.
"Yung leap of logic sa conclusion nila, very absurd…Ang kanilang logic, anak ka ni Cong. Cullamat, therefore, si Cong. Cullamat supports the NPA. Therefore, ang organization ni Cong. Cullamat is a front of the CPP-NPA, and therefore, all of them are terrorists. That is very absurd," Zarate told ANC's Headstart.
(The leap of logic in their conclusion is very absurd...Their logic was that since she was the daughter of Cong. Cullamat, therefore Cong. Cullamat supports the NPA. Therefore, Cong. Cullamat's organization is a front of the CPP-NPA, and therefore, all of them are terrorists. That is very absurd.)
"Kung meron mang napatunayan ito, itong insidenteng ito, it’s the fact that there are still individuals, mga kababayan natin na pinili ang ganitong opsyon dahil di sila nasasapatan sa pagbibigay ng solusyon sa kanilang mga hinaing, sa problema ng ating bayan," he said.
(If there was anything that was proven in this incident, it's the fact that there are still individuals, our countrymen who choose this option because they are not satisfied with the presented solutions to their complaints, the problems of our nation.)
Although government forces may see these rebels as "enemies of the state," Zarate believes it is his duty as a lawmaker to find solutions to the causes they are fighting for.
"Ang personal belief ko as a legislator, itong mga kababayan natin na ito, ang duty namin ay maghanap ng solusyon paano bang ang kanilang hinaing ay mabigyan ng long-lasting solution," he said.
(My personal belief as a legislator, these countrymen of ours, our duty is to look for ways to provide long-lasting solutions to their complaints.)
Zarate, who has repeatedly denied being part of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed and political wings, said he supports proposals to outlaw and criminalize red-tagging, which uses government resources to attack individuals.