By Prince Golez
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque downplayed the statement of Bayan Muna Rep. and House Deputy Minority Leader Carlos Zarate on the “tokhang modus” against the nine activist leaders in Calabarzon region.
Zarate in a statement called the simultaneous police-military operations in Southern Tagalog, which also resulted in the arrest of at least six others, as “pure terrorism to brutally silence dissent.”
“Nalilito kasi si Congressman Zarate kasi hindi natin sigurado kung sino talaga ang pinaninindigan niya. Pero ang sabi ni Presidente, hindi lang po siya aktibista, kabahagi siya ng mga rebelde na mayroong mga armas,” Roque said in his televised briefing Monday.
The secretary also urged the remaining members of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army (NPA) to lay down their arms and rejoin society.
“Ang panawagan natin, kung kayo talaga ay nagmamahal sa kapuwa Filipinos, ibaba ninyo na po ang armas at lahat naman po ay ginagawa natin para maibsan ang paghihirap ng ating mga kababayan na dahilan kung bakit sila ay nagrerebelde,” he added.
In December last year, President Rodrigo Duterte accused Zarate of being a communist and a co- conspirator. Duterte also alleged that Zarate used NPA funds to pay for his son’s education abroad.