SF CHRP (San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines) is a San Francisco based human rights advocacy group. Latest news and views on human rights in the Philippines.
Reference: Rupert Estanislao, chair
People’s Advocacy for Collaboration and Empowerment (PEACE) and other groups, reportedly linked to Akbayan Partylist according to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, has initiated a smear campaign against the progressive national democratic partylist groups within the Philippine congress by claiming that they are “fronts” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and that they “funnel government funds” to the New People’s Army (NPA).
“Akbayan and its leading figures such as Walden Bello, Risa Hontiveros, and others are creating a dangerous climate by whipping up ‘anti-communist’ hysteria by linking legitimate and legal national democratic organizations with the CPP and the NPA,” said Rupert Estanislao, chair of the San Francisco Committee for Human Rights in the Philippines (SF CHRP). “This has to stop! We have warned Akbayan and their ilk in the past that consistently linking national democratic groups with the CPP and NPA is extremely dangerous and puts people’s lives in danger.”
While it was reported that PEACE and other the groups are linked and allied with Akbayan, Akbayan denied this in a press release stating, “Akbayan categorically denies any association or involvement with these groups. We are also not involved with any move to disqualify Bayan Muna and their affiliate partylist groups from the 2013 elections.”
“Whether they are formally linked or not, Akbayan and their allies within the administration of President Noynoy Aquino are creating a deeply disturbing climate of fear by trying to link activists and organizations to the underground CPP and NPA,” countered Estanislao. “Akbayan has dismissed legitimate criticisms that it is too closely allied with Aquino by trying to link national democratic groups with the CPP and NPA; Aquino has tried to dismiss his atrocious human rights record by claiming that it is propaganda of the ‘extreme left;’ and now we have groups closely or casually linked with Akbayan making the ridiculous and dangerous claim that national democratic partylist groups are literal ‘front’ organizations of the CPP which ‘funnel state funds’ to the NPA.”
“The claims of PEACE and others, that legitimate partylist groups representing the marginalized sectors in Philippine society, such as Gabriela Women’s Partylist, Anakpawis Partylist, ACT Partylist, etc., should be disqualified for being ‘fronts’ of the CPP, seems to be a desperate counter to the legitimate criticism that Akbayan Partylist it is no longer representing the marginalized,” explained Estanislao.
“Election’s watchdog group, Kontra Daya, and the national democratic alliance, BAYAN, have sought the disqualification of Akbayan because of its close ties to Aquino, and because its members have key seats of power in the Aquino government,” continued Estanislao. “Part of their evidence was the fact that the Aquino family and their in laws gave a whooping P18 million to Akbayan for its elections campaign in 2010. Not long after it was pointed out that Akbayan received these funds dubious groups, such as PEACE, came up with the outlandish claim that national democratic partylist groups used government funds for ‘NPA operations.’”
“It’s a classic bait and switch distraction tactic,” explained Estanislao. “A legitimate criticism of Akbayan over issues of funds comes up and then immediately another organization comes up with the pathetic and fantastical claim that ‘government funds’ are being used by other partylist groups to ‘fund and support’ the NPA. The recent claims of PEACE that national democratic lawmakers and partylist groups are ‘fronts’ of the CPP are just part of a larger red baiting and smear campaign that has been stoked and fanned by Aquino and his allies in Akbayan in order to counter any legitimate criticisms thrown their way.”
SF CHRP is demanding that the Aquino administration and its allies Akbayan cease and desist with their dubious and dangerous campaign of red tagging and red baiting legal national democratic organizations, activists, and lawmakers. Such red baiting can only further contribute to the climate of fear and impunity that pervades the government of the Philippines and the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
Over the past few weeks since this deceitful red baiting and red tagging campaign was started by Aquino and his allies in Akbayan, numerous national democratic activists and innocent civilians have narrowly escaped assassination, been illegally arrested, or massacred by the military. SF CHRP considers Akbayan, its affiliated groups, and the Aquino administration responsible for adding to the climate of impunity in the Philippines, and holds all those parties responsible for future human rights violations of red tagged and red baited individuals and organizations.