From the Philippine Daily Inquirer (Aug 5): Anakpawis blasts military’s ‘smear campaign’
Anakpawis Party-list Rep. Ariel Casilao. PHOTO FROM ANAKPAWIS
A progressive lawmaker slammed on Saturday the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for linking its group to the rebel New People’s Army (NPA).
“Nothing’s new here. The [AFP] time and again has been on constant smear campaign not only against progressive organizations but also party-list groups like Anakpawis,” Anakpawis Party-list Representative Ariel Casilao said in a statement.
“Clearly, AFP’s hand is all over the latest smear campaign against our organization,” he added.
Casilao said it is “easy and convenient” for the AFP to tag persons being arrested as NPA members “to satisfy their malicious intention in dragging the progressive party-list groups” as part of the military’s “mind-conditioning strategy.”
AFP Spokesperson Brigadier General Restituto Padilla on Friday called for the investigation of on the alleged link of Ruel Cololot, a suspected NPA member arrested in Quezon, Bukidnon to Anakpawis Party-list.
Padilla said Cololot yielded an Anakpawis Party-list identification card upon his arrest.
READ: AFP wants probe on suspected NPA rebel with Anakpawis ID
Casilao said AFP’s “red-baiting” of his group is the same tactic of “implicating legitimate progressive organizations” as part of the “enemies of the state.”
He said these tactics will only result in “more worsening cases of human rights violations, particularly trump-up charges, illegal arrests, or worse, political killings, of peasants, indigenous and political activists nationwide.”
The lawmaker said Anakpawis Party-list’s regional chapter in northern Mindanao will check the validity of Cololot’s membership.