By Junex Doronio
DESPITE POLITICAL DIFFERENCES, Speaker Lord Allan Velasco has proven his mettle as a leader when he stood up for the beleaguered House members of the Makabayan bloc who have been linked by the military to the outlawed Communist Party of the Philippine.
“Lubos namin pinasasalamatan si Speaker Velasco. Yung ginagawa nyang pagtatanggol sa kanyang kasamahan lalo na sya ay Speaker, ngayon lang ako nakarinig ng Speaker na ganito,” Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Rep. France Castro said Thursday in a statement.
She pointed out that Velasco’s actions meant a lot to them, as he did it despite them having political differences.
Velasco is a known protege of presidential daughter and Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio while the Makabayan bloc has been critical of the present administration.
Last October 27, Velasco defended the Makabayan bloc from accusations by Armed Forces of the Philippines Southern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. that the lawmakers are “card-bearing members” of the CPP.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. on Thursday also stood pat on his earlier revelation that it was actually CPP founding chairman Jose Maria Sison who had identified some progressive groups linked with the Makabayan bloc in Congress as legal fronts of the outlawed Maoist movement that has been waging armed struggle against the government for more than 51 years now.
Esperon flatly denied Sison’s recent accusation that the military “spliced” a video to make it appear that the CPP founder himself red-tagged some groups such as Gabriela, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, League of Filipino Students, and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers.
Sison — who is based in The Netherlands since 1987 after then President Corazon Aquino released him from detention — also strongly denied the military accusations.
“As Speaker of the House, I am duty-bound to protect them from potential harm due to these careless accusations so that they may carry their legal and constitutional mandate as members of Congress,” Velasco declared in a statement.
Aside from Castro, other members of the Makabayan bloc are Bayan Muna Reps. Carlos Isagani Zarate, Eufemia Cullamat and Ferdinand Gaite, Gabriela Rep. Arlene Brosas, and Kabataan Rep. Sarah Elago.
Parlade, spokesperson for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), recently stated that the Makabayan Bloc and even former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares are “defending of the red-tagging and fake news-spreading National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).”
The Makabayan bloc members said they would be realigning their budget for the relief operations on the typhoon-ravaged communities.