MANILA — The petition of the government's controversial anti-communist task force to cancel Gabriela's party-list registration over their alleged links to the armed movement is a "sinister move to disenfranchise millions of Filipino women," its representative said Tuesday.
"It is but a sinister move to disenfranchise millions of Filipino women that we represent in Congress for the past 20 years. Alarming ito kasi ang (This is alarming because) NTF-ELCAC went overboard and threatened all duly-elected party-lists from Makabayan bloc that they will also [move] for their disqualification," Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas said Tuesday in a press conference.
Brosas was referring to the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, which in 2019 filed a petition before the Commission on Elections (Comelec) seeking to void Gabriela's party-list registration for supposedly advocating principles of the New People's Army, the communist party's armed wing.
The Comelec has yet to rule on the petition.
The lawmaker likewise called out "fake news" that said Comelec has granted NTF-ELCAC's petition.
While Brosas did not identify the news agency, the government's Philippine News Agency on December 3 published a story "Comelec backs bid to cancel Gabriela party-list registration."
"We would like to set the record straight. The fake news circulating online that the Comelec had already affirmed the petition is absolutely false. Our party-list registration remains valid. The poll body’s second division clearly said in its order that the NTF-ELCAC supposedly has legal standing to pursue the petition to cancel our registration," Brosas explained, adding Comelec has scheduled a hearing in January 2021 to go over the merits of the case.
Brosas said NTF-ELCAC's petition is "but an expensive red-tagging spree."
Lawmakers of the Makabayan bloc has been accused by military officials of being "fronts" of the armed communist movement.
They have denied the claims and backed calls to criminalize red-tagging as the act becomes a threat to those being linked to the communist movement.