President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday accused militant organizations of being participants in a grand conspiracy led by the Communist Party of the Philippines to oust the government.
Duterte indicated that groups such as the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives, Bayan and Gabriela were not being red-tagged but were being named definitively as fronts for the CPP and the National Democratic Front.
The NDF is the negotiating arm of the CPP and the communist New People's Army.
"We are identifying you as members in a grand conspiracy comprising all the legal fronts they have organized headed by NDF at Communist Party of the Philippines," Duterte said in a nationally-televised briefing.
“The AFP is very correct. You are being identified as the members of the communist para alam namin. ‘Yon ang totoo, hindi red-tagging,” he added.
Duterte said communists were without any ideology but only wanted to wrest power.
“There is no longer any ideology. Wala ‘tong mga komunista… Gusto lang nila umagaw ng gobyerno. Mga bobo naman and p-- ina,” he said.
Duterte in particularly criticized CPP founding chairman and NDF chief political consultant Jose Maria Sison and Bayan Muna Representative Carlos Zarate, a member of the Makabayan block in the House.
“Sino ang bright? Si Sison? Susmaryosep! iharap mo si Sison sa akin, mag-debate kami,” Duterte said.
“’Yang si Zarate… Alam mo sabihin ko, nangangailangan ka ng pera. That’s the only reason komunista ka to defend an oligarch," he added. "‘Di ka naman summa cum laude. Pareho naman tayong pumasa ng bar."
"Kung magsalita, you make it appear that we are milking the government,” Duterte said of Zarate.
“Alam mo sa totoo, Zarate, ‘pag nakikita kita sa TV para akong nakakita ng tae ng iro. Para akong nakakita ng tae ng aso, sa totoo lang,” he added.
GMA News Online has reached out to Zarate’s camp for comment.
Zarate has denied being a member of the CPP and denounced the military's red-tagging of the Makabayan bloc in the House.
"Tahasan kong sinasabi sa komiteng ito Mr. Chair na hindi ako miyembro ng Communist Party of the Philippines o CPP. Hindi ako rebelde at hindi ako miyembro ng National Democratic Front of the Philippines," Zarate said in a hearing conducted by the Senate Committee on National Defense.
"Tahasan ko ring pinasisinungalingan na ang aking partido, ang Bayan Muna, ay creation at kontorolado ng Communist party of the Philippines," he added.
Members of the Makabayan Bloc have criticized the government and the military for their continuous "red-tagging" of activists, saying they should have been helping in the government's response efforts following the onslaught of Super Typhoon Rolly.
In a statement, Gabriela Women's Party Representative Arlene Brosas condemned the "shameless and relentless red-tagging and terror-tagging" of the Duterte administration's top generals against progressive groups and individuals during a Senate panel hearing.
"Tila mas naghanda pa sila para sa Senate hearing kaysa sa pagsaklolo at paglilikas sa ating mga kababayan. They went full force in the Senate hearing with their recycled and baseless claims while millions of Filipinos are reeling from the disastrous impacts of typhoon Rolly amid the pandemic," she said.
"This red-tagging show is a waste of people's taxes. It must be put to an end," she added. -NB, GMA News