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Makabayan bloc files complaint against AFP for ‘red-tagging’ them as NPA’s ‘legal fronts’

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POLITIKO - The bible of Philippine Politics

Makabayan party-list representatives on Wednesday filed a complaint in the Commission on Elections accusing the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) of “red-baiting,” or labeling its candidates as “legal fronts” of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.

They said the AFP and its Civil Relations Service committed violations of section 261 of the Omnibus Election Code.

The complaint was filed by Makabayan party-list representatives led by Antonio Tinio and France Castro of ACT Teachers, Carlos Zarate and Makabayan senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares of Bayan Muna, and Emmi de Jesus of Gabriela.

“The Armed Forces of the Philippines and its Civil Relations Service have been publicly red-baiting and maliciously labelling the Makabayan progressive party-lists and its senatoriable Neri Colmenares as ‘legal fronts’ of the CPP-NPA,” Tinio said.

“The official Facebook page of the Civil Relations Service of the AFP have been posting and circulating e-posters and memes that campaign against the Makabayan bloc,” he added.

Tinio said the AFP’s actions of “posting and circulating online materials that are damaging, dangerous and outright lies that sabotages the legitimate campaign of the party-list for salary increase and for the welfare of teachers and using their official Facebook pages” were violations of the Omnibus Election code.

He cited sections that prohibit “participating in partisan political activity and use of public funds and equipment and facilities for an election campaign.”

“By tagging us as ‘House Fronts’ and terrorists, the military and the police paints us as valid targets for their counter-insurgency activities. ACT Teachers Party-list, the other Makabayan group of progressive party-lists and senatoriable Neri Colmenares are not terrorist groups and individuals,” Castro said.

“We are organizations forwarding policies that promote the rights and welfare of our sectors,” she said.

“The AFP, through its Civl Relations Service unit, is waging a social media campaign against Gabriela and the rest of Makabayan bloc aside from its dirty, fascist ground campaign against our leaders and coordinators,” De Jesus said.

“What this tells us is that public funds and government personnel are being used for a partisan political activity which is against our election laws,” she added.

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