In a press statement last April 19, Akbayan senatoriable Risa Hontiveros said “The links between the left-wing candidates in the NP slate and the Communist Party is something that nobody really questions“. She further states “On one hand they (MAKABAYAN senatoriables Satur Ocampo & Liza Maza) vehemently deny all links to the CPP-NPA, but on the other hand, they continue to refuse to publicly condemn the extortion activities and other human rights abuses by the NPA”.
This pronouncement was roundly criticized by cause-oriented groups, including the League of Filipino Students and the KABATAAN Partylist as “irresponsible”, and a repetition of the mouthings of notorious human rights violator Gen. Jovito Palparan.
A message sent to members of the Facebook group “Youth Volunteers for Risa” states the following: ‘Dear Y4R, Because of Risa Hontiveros’ sterling performance in debates and interviews, certain groups have started spewing cheap propaganda against our “magandang laban”… particularly, elements of the CPP-NPA-NDF.’
In a statement this April 24 however, she is now claiming that “Nowhere in my press statement did I call them communist”.
The evidence is clear, Hontiveros is claiming that the links between the MAKABAYAN senatoriables and the CPP-NPA is “unquestionable”, and her handlers are echoing the same line to her misguided supporters. To deny it and claim otherwise iis an insult to the intelligence of the public and the electorate.
Her latest statement goes on to say “It is actually their refusal to condemn the atrocities and abuses of the CPP-NPA that indirectly helps human rights violators like Palparan to commit further abuses.”
This sounds familiar to regular press releases of the Armed Forces of the Philippines after encounters between the AFP and the NPA. Clashes between two armed groups are being made to appear as “human rights violations”, or on the same ground as the assassination of an unarmed activist by an armed state trooper. These “abuses” are then being made to justify human rights violations by the military.
Hontiveros has also forgotten to mentioned that the CAHRIHL (Comprehensive Agreement on Human Rights and Int’l Humanitarian Law) states that only the State has the capacity and institutions to commit human rights violations. As a former member of the government peace panel, she should not have forgotten this basic concept.
Caught in her own web of lies, Hontiveros makes the ultimate insult against victims of human rights violations by blaming them for their plight.
Finally, in an attempt to salvage favorable public opinion, Hontiveros is making it appear as if she was being condemned by the MAKABAYAN coalition of Ocampo and Maza because of her condemnation of the PTC (Permit to Campaign) policy of the NPA.
Nothing can be further than the truth: her statement was criticized because it repeated the “dangerous” and “irresponsible” claims of Palparan that cause-oriented groups and progressive partylists are “members/fronts of the CPP-NPA”, especially at a time when four of KABATAAN’s candidates (2nd and 3rd nominees, Councilor candidates in Quezon City & Antique) have received death threats and accused of being “communists”.
By continuing to “red-tag” and “red-bait” legal activists, Hontiveros is echoing the propaganda line of the AFP and provide a justification for more assassinations and abductions. Now, isn’t this being “pro-Palparan”?
As a final note, wasn’t Hontiveros’ Akbayan praised by the AFP chief of staff at the height of extra-judicial killings as a “good leftist party”?