That may be facetious sentence but given Red fronts’ expertise in deception and in using our democratic and legal systems to advance their armed insurgency, that term best describes the recent brilliant move of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac).
It’s been an open secret that one of the Communist Party’s source of funds has been through its front organizations, masquerading as crusading NGOs, which easily fool gullible bleeding-heart liberals especially in Europe to donate substantial amounts of money to them.
An SOP in fact was for an NGO to have the same project funded by several foreign entities each of which aren’t aware of the other funders.
The communists have generated substantial amounts through such means. An article in Small Wars Journal, a US online magazine which specializes on insurgencies around the world for instance pointed out: “The CPP-NPA has been receiving an estimated annual income of Pesos 260 million or $5.2 million from foreign funding agencies and NGOs.”
It explained: “From this amount, thousands of dollars were donated by religious organizations such as the Australian Council of Churches and United Methodist Church of the United States during the past two decades, while more than a million dollars was collectively provided by other communist movements based in East Germany, Hungary, and Yugoslavia during the late 1980s.
“When the NGOs under the NDF solicit funds for legitimate livelihood and development projects in the Philippines, majority of the funds (60%) are transferred to the CPP and only 40% of the funds are allotted to the actual project. The CPP-NPA’s reliable and secured access to money has allowed the organization to develop and sustain its activities for the past four decades. The CPP-NPA continues to collect millions of dollars from revolutionary taxes and NGOs.”
In its suit asking the Commission on Elections to cancel Gabriela’s accreditation as a party-list, the NTF-Elcac claimed and produced a document provided by the Belgian government, titled “Overview of Non-Government Actors in the Philippines-Program 2017-2021.” This reported that its accredited NGOs or those who receive funds from it, particularly one which calls itself G3W or “Viva Salud,” gave finances to Gabriela as well as to the entities it created — Gabriela Inc., and the General Assembly of Women for Reforms.
This is patently a violation of Comelec rules for party-lists to stand for election, particularly its Rule 32 of Section 8 which bans such parties “which receive support from any foreign government.”
The NTF-Elcac though didn’t rely solely on the Belgian report. The Office of the Solicitor General asked the Anti-Money Laundering Council to verify the alleged finances for Gabriela. The NTF-Elcac in its suit reported: “Based on the May 9, 2019 Anti-Money Laundering Council (AMLC) Report, it shows that from 2012 to 2016, Respondents through its Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI) Account No. ST0207001200000000124025044 received from G3W a total amount of €414,000.00, or more or less Php22,700,000.00.” I wonder who signed the receipts for these huge amounts. The AMLC should disclose this.
The NTF-Elcac’s disclosure itself that AMLC can help the anti-insurgency campaign could make the CPP’s operations difficult, since now, it has to evade the banking system for their collection of their funds and their security. Why didn’t past governments think of this, since one of the AMLC’s reasons for being established — upon pressure from the US — is to restrict terrorists’ use of banking systems?
The NTF-Elcac suit also claimed that Gabriela supports the NPA, which violates the provision of the Omnibus Election Code that “no political party which seeks to achieve its goal through violence shall be entitled to accreditation.”
The NTF-Elcac submitted a sworn-affidavit of one Edison Coloma Villanueva, presumably a former NPA member, who claimed “Gabriela Party-List sources some of its funds from the money it is able to solicit from the mayors, barangay captains, businessmen, and different establishments, and that it utilizes its funds for the procurement of firearms and ammunitions for the CPP-NPA.”
The Comelec would have to evaluate the NTF-Elcac’s suit, the first time such a complaint before that body involving the communist insurgency. While the Comelec’s chairman Sheriff Abas was appointed as commissioner in 2015 by President Aquino 3rd, it was President Duterte who made the surprising move of appointing him chairman in 2018. Five of the seven-man Comelec were put there by Duterte with just one, Liberal Party politician Rowena Guanzon appointed by Aquino.
Guanzon would be retiring in February 2022, as Abas and another commissioner will too. By February 2022, all the Comelec members will have been appointed by this president who has vowed to crush the communists during his term. My bet is that the Comelec will bar all or most of the communist fronts from running in the May 2022 elections.
The Comelec isn’t a court of law, and there are no clear rules of evidence for it to determine such a case as the NTF-Elcac’s, which claims that Gabriela shouldn’t be allowed to run for Congress representation since it is a front of the CPP which seeks to violently overthrow the democratic system. The Comelec could just claim that “national security” is beyond their competence and therefore they would just have to rely on the NTF-Elcac’s conclusions.
Gabriela then would have to bring up the case to the Supreme Court, which I doubt would be sympathetic to the communists: Ten of the 15 judges were appointed by Duterte, who would name two more in March next year.
The NTF-Elcac case against Gabriela is a milestone in that it is the first time that a state agency is using the legal system to defang the CPP of one of its most powerful weapons, the party-list system. In contrast, past presidents had given the CPP significant opportunities to exploit our legal and democratic systems, which the communists termed as the “democratic space” given them.
Cory Aquino got her hand-picked members of the 1987 Constitutional convention to produce a constitution that ordered the party-list system which was tailor-made for the communists’ representation in Congress. Fidel Ramos repealed the 1957 Anti-Subversion Law that helped rush the communist-led Huk insurgency. Aquino’s son Benigno practically coddled the communists and gave their leaders the special status as NDF Peace Consultants, free to move around the country to coordinate their forces. Do you still wonder why the insurgency has survived?
A precedent of sorts for the NTF-Elcac’s strategy was the barring of six winning candidates for Congress of the Leftist-led. Democratic Alliance from taking office in 1946 by a court on allegations that they used fraud and violence in the elections. That certainly helped succeeding presidents, especially Ramon Magsaysay, defeat the communist insurgency in the 1950s known as the Huk rebellion led by the Soviet-supported Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas.
I don’t think there is doubt in the minds of any well-informed, reasonable Filipino — except the Red apologists and their naïve or anti-Duterte Yellow sympathizers — that Gabriela, Bayan Muna, Kabataan and other members of the terribly misnamed Makabayan bloc are organizations set up by the CPP, to use its lingo, as its Shield (with the NPA as its Spear). They may have fooled us in the 1980s and 1990s, but Filipinos are not that stupid.
It is another question though whether Gabriela can exploit the legalities of our system to get the Comelec dismiss the NTF-Elcac’s suit. After all, in CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison’s list of “organizations” he got to join his International League for Peoples’ Struggles, is a “Public Interest Law Center.” The National Democratic Front’s and Sison’s main counsel Edre Olalia heads the “National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers.”