In due time and at a proper forum, the Makabayan lawmakers are ready to face all the “wild” accusations against them that they are purportedly high-ranking officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and that they are a threat to national security.
Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said they are not closing their doors to the reported invitation of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation, chaired by Senator Panfilo Lacson, to attend its next hearing on the red-tagging issue.
“I am not saying […] we are closing. In fact, we will not run away from their wild accusations,” he told the DZBB in an interview when asked if the Makabayan lawmakers would give in to the Senate’s invitation.
Last week, Lacson said he would set another hearing to give former Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Colmenares and the progressive lawmakers to defend themselves and answer the allegations.
“Pag-aaralan namin ‘yan, at hindi pa naman kami nakakatanggap ng invitation, sympre kinoconsider natin ‘yan (We will study that, and we have not received any invitation, but we are considering it),” Zarate said.
Last week, the Lacson panel tackled Senate Resolution No. 559 to look into the red-tagging issue hurled against certain celebrities, personalities, institutions, and organizations.
Zarate expressed hope that the Senate would not be used as a channel for some groups to sow “wild and baseless” accusations against their group, who also is one with the government in seeking lasting peace and stability in the country.
“Dalhin niyo ito sa proper venue where we can consult your witnesses under oath, we can cross examine your witnesses. Hindi ‘yung pinangangalandakan nila sa media, sa social media and Senate na they are bound to strict rules of evidence. Well, ‘yun ang hamon namin sa kanila dahil napakadaling maglubid ng kwento gaya ni Celiz,” he said.
(Bring it to the proper venue where we can consult your witnesses under oath, we can cross examine your witnesses. Don’t trumpet to the media, social media, and even the Senate where they are bound to strict rules of evidence. Well, that is our challenge to them because it is very easy to make up stories just like what Celiz did.)
During the Senate hearing, Jeffrey Celiz, a former intelligence officer of the New People’s Army (NPA), alleged that members of the Makabayan bloc have links with the CPP-National Democratic Front (NDF)-NPA. He had tagged former Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Teddy Casiño as being part of the CPP, to which the latter denied.