Defense officials on Tuesday listed the Gabriela Women's Party as a front organization for "communist terrorist groups" during a hearing at the House of Representatives.
The House Committee on National Defense and Security invited military and defense officials, including Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, to brief them on security concerns in the country and update them on the status of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Modernization Program.
One of the presentations showed a list of supposed front organizations for communist terrorist groups. Included among them was the Gabriela Women's Party.
DND puts Gabriela Women’s Party in the list of communist terrorist groups and presented it during the House hearing itself. pic.twitter.com/cslxm76yEW— Erwin Colcol (@erwincolcol) November 5, 2019
Gabriela Women's Party Representative Arlene Brosas was not around when the list was presented, but she did not miss the opportunity to ask the resource persons why her party-list was tagged as a front organization for communist groups.
"Mismo dito sa Kongreso ay tina-tag kami as a communist terrorist group? Ano ba 'yan? Ano bang nangyayari? Bakit ganyan?" a visibly irate Brosas asked the invited officials.
Brosas pointed out that the Gabriela Women's Party is a legitimate member of the House of Representatives and that they were voted by the public to the position.
"Ano pong ibig sabihin nito? Prelude ba ito sa martial law na ang mga legal entities at legal organizations in particular ay tina-target na ngayon ng AFP?" she said.
Lorenzana, in response, denied that they were red-tagging the Gabriela Women's Party and insisted that their accusations are not a prelude to martial law whatsoever.
"We are just saying that they are front of the communist movement. We based this conclusion from documents that we capture from our operations all over the country," he said.
"Palaging lumalabas 'yung Gabriela tsaka 'yung iba pang mga fronts nila. So what can you conclude there? I'm not saying you are communist. I am saying that you are fronting, kayo 'yung legal front nila," he added.
Major General Reuben Basiao, Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, J2, even said that the presentation did not mention the Gabriela Women's Party, even though it was on the list.
"The sentence went, 'There were reported foreign funding agencies...' 'That wittingly or unwittingly provided support to the CTG front organization,'" Basiao said. "There was no mention of your organization."
Brosas pointed out the danger in putting the name of her party-list on the list of alleged front organizations for communist terrorist groups, saying that its puts thr group's members' lives at risk.
"Hindi pa napapatunayan in court, tapos ang nanagyayari tina-tag na at nilalagay nang ganun," he said.
Last week, joint police and military operatives raided the offices of the Kilusang Mayo Uno, Gabriela Negros Center, and the Negros Federation of Sugar Workers armed with search warrants. The raids led to the arrest of at least 57 activists.
Also, earlier in the day, authorities arrested three activists at the office of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in Tondo, Manila, supposedly for violating laws against illegal possession of firearms and ammunition. One of them was a Gabriela member. — BM, GMA News