By Benjamin Pulta
MANILA — There will be no let-up in exposing communist front organizations masquerading as something else to recruit fighters for the terrorist New People’s Army (NPA), an official of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) said Thursday.
“We will continue to expose them and it is time that the public learns about the duplicity of these organizations,” Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade told reporters shortly after a hearing into the perjury charges filed before the Quezon City prosecutors’ office by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon against the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines (RMP), Gabriela and Karapatan.
Parlade, who is also Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief of Staff for Civil-Military Operations, also scored Karapatan for continuing to evade allegations of recruiting minors for the communist movement.
“Karapatan is the worst. Sila ang (They have the) agenda. Ang problema natin ngayon sa mga kabataan. Bakit hindi nila harapin? Kasi member sila, nasa ilalim sila (We have a problem with the youth. Why don’t they face it? It’s because they are a member. They are under the communist movement),” Parlade said, as he dared the self-styled rights group to bare all it knows about 8,000 missing minors mostly young women recruited from schools by communist front organizations.
A number of these minors subsequently end up dead in armed encounters between the NPA units they joined and military troops.
After the hearing, Parlade sought to talk personally with nuns who attended the hearings.
“I’m trying to reach out to them, to tell na may problema dun sa kanilang pinaglalaban pero yung kanilang lawyer na NUPL (National Union of People’s Lawyers) at Karapatan kinuha sila (that there is a problem with what they are fighting for. But their lawyer from NUPL and Karapatan took them away),”he said.
“Ine-exploit ang mga madre. May problema. May hindi totoo (The nuns are being exploited. There is a problem. There are lies),” Parlade said.
During the hearing, Assistant City Prosecutor Nilo Peñaflor received the counter-affidavits from respondent members of Karapatan, RMP, and Gabriela.
Peñaflor also gave Esperon, who was represented by lawyer Shena Marie A. Lopez, until September 5 to submit a reply-affidavit.
Esperon, NTF ELCAC vice chairman, was one of the respondents in petitions for writs of Amparo and habeas data filed by the groups before the Court of Appeals. The two petitions were subsequently dismissed by the appellate court.
In the case of the RMP for instance, petitioners before the CA led by Cristina Palabay perjured herself claiming that RMP is a duly registered non-stock, non-profit corporation pursuant to Securities and Exchanges Commission (SEC) Certificate of Registration No. 147764.
Contrary to the verification and certification executed by petitioners, the SEC already revoked the certificate of registration of RMP on August 20, 2003, for its failure to submit the required General Information Sheets and Financial Statements from 1997 to 2002.
The said revocation took effect on September 23, 2003.
Similarly, Gabriela has multiple registrations in the SEC, which Parlade said aim to mislead people.
The RMP runs the 55 Salugpungan Ta’tanu Igkanugon Community Learning Center Inc. (Salugpungan) whose operations were earlier ordered suspended by the Department of Education.
Reports of the military and police and testimonies of the Mindanao Indigenous People’s Counsel Elders and Leaders said there was an unmistakable pattern of training anti-government armed rebels by these schools.
These schools have a different “national” anthem that they teach to students. Students were also taught to assemble and disassemble firearms and learn the alphabets with different anti-government slogans like “A for armas (weapon)”.
Esperon added that the schools do not issue credentials to students, thus making them unable to take further studies.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)