AUGUST 14, 2019 – Fielding leftist lawmakers in the House of Representatives are part of the tactics employed by communist insurgents to overthrow the government, former rebels told the Senate on Wednesday.
Among those who made the claim was Agnes Reano, an ex-political officer of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
“‘Yung tanong ninyo kung kinukumpirma namin na gusto nilang pabagsakin ang gobyerno, kumpirmado totoo iyon… Kaya nga po nila pinasok ang political mainstream arena para magkaroon sila ng legal face,” Reano told Senator Ronald dela Rosa, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs.
“‘Yung mga prente na ito na ginagawa, ‘yan ‘yung lambong (ugat), sisigaw ng demokrasya… Sobra na ang demokrasya,” said, Reano who was recruited by the Alliance of Students Against Tuition Fee Increase at the Ateneo de Naga University in the 1980s.
Another former rebel, 21-year-old “Allem,” also recalled the time they campaigned for Kabataan Party-list Rep. Sarah Elago who won in the 2016 elections. She was recruited by the League of Filipino Students while studying at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines.
“Binasahan po nila kami ng pag-aaral namin na tungkol sa revolutionary dual tactics na kinakailangang hindi lang armadong pakikibaka ang palakasin namin kundi kinakailangan din naming pasukin ang gobyerno para pabagsakin ang gobyerno,” Allem said.
“Ang ibig sabihin, kinakailangan din namin makapagpanalo ng mga party-list o mga senador para ‘yun ang magsisilbing susi namin para pabagsakin ang gobyerno,” she added.
The former rebels also confirmed that students from different schools are recruited to become part of the rebel movement.
“Kung tatanungin ninyo ako kung may recruitment sa school, definitely meron, kami ang kongkretong batayan at buhay na ebidensya na na-recruit ako, naging recruiter ako,” Reano said.
Reano disclosed that she left the NPA after questioning its mandate and purpose.
“Parang ganun lang, lakad kami nang lakad, makikikain, makikipondo – lahat ng maki… I questioned the very principled tenets of the movement. Am I really serving my people?” Reano said.
“Kung talagang nagsisilbi ako sa bayan, bakit kailangan naming mang-giyera. Wala namang personal na kasalanan ang sundalo sa akin, bakit mo ako uutusan na ambush-in ito?” she added.
Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate denied the pronouncements, stressing that Makabayan lawmakers are in Congress to represent the interests of the people.
“Pumunta kami dito sa Kongreso para maging tunay na boses ng mamamayan, magsusulong at magtutulak ng mga makabuluhang panukalang batas at resolusyon para sa kahingian ng mga mamamayan,” he said.
Zarate added that leftist lawmakers are not the ones destroying the government.
“Ito ‘yung mga tiwali, ito ‘yung mga corrupt, mga dinastiya na nakikinabang sa patronage system. Ito ‘yung nilalabanan namin,” he said.
The Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs held its first hearing on August 7, with parents of alleged missing minors testifying against militant groups such as Anakbayan, Kabataan Party-list, and League of Filipino Students.
Their statements opened the discussion on the possible revival of the Anti-Subversion Law, which Interior Secretary Eduardo Año believes could stop the recruitment of communist rebels in universities.
But the Department of Justice and some senators are not inclined to revive the law repealed in 1992 due to its perceived infringement on constitutional rights.
“With all due respect to Sec. Año, mere membership in the CPP is not a crime unless overt criminal acts are committed. Amending and giving more teeth to the Human Security Act (HSA) will suffice, in my opinion,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said.
Senators are looking into amendments in the HSA which aim to redefine the acts of terrorism punishable by law. (By Karen Macalalad, with reports from Ria Fernandez / AAD)