Pinagkaisang Samahan ng mga Tsuper at Opereytor Nationwide (PISTON) national president George San Mateo on Tuesday got into a shouting match over the accusation that the transport group he leads is affiliated with the Communist Party of the Philippines.
At a news forum, a series of questions from newspaper columnist Herman "Mentong" Laurel turned into a heated exchange where San Mateo denied that he is speaking for the leftist group.
"I'm not a representative of the NDF (National Democratic Front) here. I'm not a representative of the CPP, nor the KMU (Kilusang Mayo Uno) nor Bayan. Don't say na kami ay nagde-destabilize," San Mateo said. "You are way out of line!"
"Namulitika si Pangulo, namulitika siya, the issue was modernization. Bakit mo hinaluan ng CPP, bakit mo sinasabi na... pagmumumurahin mo 'yung mga driver? That's the plain truth and that's the fact," he said.
"And the fact is he (Duterte) reacted that way," countered Laurel.
On the heels of the nationwide strike held on October 16 and 17, Duterte said PISTON, KMU and Karapatan, among other militant groups, are just the legal fronts of the CPP-New People's Army (NPA).
"Bakit mo ini-insist na CPP-NPA?" San Mateo said earlier, after he was asked questions regarding the political backing of the transport group that led the nationwide two-day strike on October 16 and 17.
The recent two-day strike was backed by known left-leaning groups also in opposition of the government's jeepney modernization program, which they are assailing for its "anti-poor" slant. —KG/KBK, GMA News