Former senator Antonio “Sonny” Trillanes on March 14 challenged President Rodrigo Duterte and Sen. Panfilo Lacson to identify the communists who have infiltrated the Robredo camp
or face the risk of being dubbed “fake news peddlers.”
“I am calling on President Duterte and Sen. Lacson to name the communists that they claim to be part of the campaign team of VP Leni Robredo,” said Trillanes.
As an ally of Robredo who is vying for the presidency in the May 9 elections, Trillanes stressed he would say it’s not true but will, still give them the opportunity to name names.
Earlier, Duterte accused the Robredo camp of having ties with the communist underground that are allegedly working to disrupt the 2022 elections.
Lacson also warned of an alleged communist infiltration in Robredo’s campaign team.
The allegations were due to Cavite Rep. Crispin Remulla’s claims that some of those who attended the March 4 political campaign of Robredo and her running mate, Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan, are members of the communist movement.
“As for Sen. Lacson, a decorated police officer and a former PNP chief, he of all people should know that the one who makes the accusations should present evidence to support the claim,” noted Trillanes who belongs to the senatorial slate of Leni-Kiko.
Up to this date, he said no names or evidence were given yet.
“If they cannot come up with names, then we can dismiss their allegations as fake news or just intrigues to block the mounting support in the Team Leni-Kiko.
Robredo debunked these rumors spreading online and through text messages linking her and her volunteers to the CPP and NPA.
“Many said they received this (text message). Then there’s the non-stop red-tagging of me and my volunteers. There’s also the allegation that I would form a coalition government with the CPP-NPA-NDF. To be clear about it — It’s a lie,” Robredo said.
The “red-tagging” came after her March 4 grand rally in Cavite with her running mate, Sen. Francis Pangilinan.
“Once and for all: Left, right, up, down — we are ready to listen to everyone, as long as they are ready to work to lift the lives of Filipinos,” Robredo said.
According to Robredo, she does not believe in violence as a solution to problems and that she would oppose anyone who would use weapons to push their agenda.
She said all her co-workers were aware of this — including those in the uniformed services who appeared to be the target of this type of misinformation.
“I will not form an alliance with such people or those who believe in them. My priority is to work in a peaceful way for the dignity of every person, for the empowered and responsible exercise of freedoms, and fairness,” said the presidential hopeful.
“So, please. Do you want to hold back the momentum of the people’s campaign? Try harder. Or better yet: Why don’t you just join? Let’s win this.”
The CPP and the NDF also belied talking with Robredo — or any of the other presidential candidates — about the formation of a coalition government.
For his part, Lacson warned Robredo of a possible “communist infiltration” in her campaign. He was referring to the alleged presence of CPP legal fronts during the Cavite grand rally, which was attended by an estimated 47,000 people.
In reaction, Robredo’s spokesperson, Barry Gutierrez, said that the “blatant” and persistent” red-tagging was a new low. He said rival candidates might only be using fear-mongering to dampen the energy of the Vice-president’s people’s campaign.
Lacson described as “really worrisome” the information from a former NPA cadre indicating that operatives of CPP’s legal fronts may have “infiltrated” the campaign of Robredo.
Lacson said the pieces of information disclosed by ex-NPA cadre Jeffrey “Ka Eric” Celiz appeared to jibe with those provided by his own intelligence sources.
Celiz, in a video posted on social media, cited a text message from a former colleague in the CPP-NPA who is now based in Cavite, indicating members of the CPP’s reported legal fronts were brought in from parts of Cavite and even Rizal province.
Also, Celiz said there was a budget of PHP500 per head, of which PHP200 was spent for transportation and food.
During a hearing on red-tagging which Lacson presided over in November 2020, Celiz said CPP founding chairman Jose Ma. Sison named several groups as his group’s legal “fronts,” which have infiltrated several sectors.
Celiz also said the legal fronts lay the ground for recruiting members to the NPA.
The government declared the NDF a terrorist organization in 2021, as it did the CPP-NPA.
“If those in the campaign were not aware of this, they should consider themselves warned and take appropriate action. If they are a willing partner, they should consider the consequences of their actions — we simply cannot afford to have a coalition government with a movement whose sole objective is to seize power,” Lacson noted.
“Since 1969, our country has suffered from the longest-running insurgency in the world which has caused more than 2,000 deaths and billions of pesos in revolutionary taxes paid to the CPP/NPA, not to mention the destruction of properties of those who refused to ‘cooperate.’ Insurgency, like corruption, must end if we want peace and prosperity,” he added.