Movement Against Tyranny hits AFP's ‘outlandish claims’ of conspiracy

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Movement Against Tyranny hits AFP's âoutlandish claimsâ of conspiracy
“The charge against MAT, the Coalition for Justice, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Tindig Pilipinas, and naming peace advocates Rey Casambre and former Satur Ocampo as ringleaders, was a brazen lie to sow fear preparatory to the Sept. 21 United People’s Action,” the group said in a statement.
The STAR / Michael Varcas

MANILA, Philippines — Movement Against Tyranny on Monday  rejected the claim of military top brass that the opposition coalition is conspiring with communist rebels to oust President Rodrigo Duterte.

In an interview over the weekend, Gen. Carlito Galvez—Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff—Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade—deputy chief of staff for operations—linked the political opposition to an alleged armed conspiracy to overthrow the chief executive.  

“It’s a broad coalition being orchestrated by the Communist Party with [National Democratic Front of the Philippines peace panel consultant Rey] Casambre, Satur Ocampo. With that broad coalition, they have included the Coalition for Justice, this group that advocates for former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and there’s this Tindig Pilipinas,” Parlade told ANC in an interview.

Movement Against Tyranny called these claims “outlandish.”

“The charge against MAT, the Coalition for Justice, the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan and Tindig Pilipinas, and naming peace advocates Rey Casambre and former Satur Ocampo as ringleaders, was a brazen lie to sow fear preparatory to the September 21 United People’s Action,” the group said in a statement.

“The stepped-up red-baiting by the Armed Forces of the Philippines is a clear sign of the Duterte regime’s full engagement in facilitating the return of dictatorship and cementing the comeback of the Marcos family,” it also said.

Red-baiting, as defined by the International Peace Observers Network, is the practice of publicly and detractively classifying government-critical individuals and organizations as communist terrorists, state enemies or subversives.

Among the convenors of the MAT are former Sen. Rene Saguisag, former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Neri Colmenares, former Quezon Rep. Erin Tañada, Free Legal Assistance Group Chairman Jose Manuel Diokno, activist nun Sr. Mary John Mananzan, University of the Philippines Diliman Chancellor Michael Tan and veteran journalist Vergel Santos.

In October last year, the government also floated the idea of a supposed conspiracy between the Liberal Party, the Communist Party of the Philippines and members of the clergy to oust Duterte.

RELATED:‘Yellow conspiracy’ out to oust me – Rody

‘Red October’

Parlade also warned of a plot called “Red October”—another alleged conspiracy to oust Duterte.

“They’ll continue their plans until next month. They also have this October or Red October. That’s the celebration of international communism and also the indigenous people,” he said.

October is the National Indigenous Peoples' Month by virtue of a 2009 proclamation by then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. 

MAT criticized the top military official’s claim.

“Now that their lie has fallen flat, they persist with fantastical claims of a ‘Red October,’” the group said.

MAT also slammed the military for seeking to “tar a now unified labor movement to deflect focus from growing anger over oppressive economic policies that fuel runaway inflation and growing hunger among Filipinos.”

Galvez said the coalition has what it calls “Aklasan,” which, he said, infiltrates labor organizations of different companies and conducts strikes of workers.

According to a BusinessMirror report in August that cited data from the Department of Labor and Employment, there had been 155 notices of strike from January to July 2018, up by 18.7 percent against 126 notices in the same period in 2017.

Most of the strikes were due to unfair labor practices, the report said.

Bukluran ng Manggagawang Pilipino, in a statement, earlier this month stressed that "the highest law of the land and international statutes grant workers the right to legally impede company operations, as last recourse, in order to protect their rights and welfare."

Anti-communism task force

In the same interview, Galvez said the AFP is asking Duterte to issue an executive order forming an inter-agency body that would put an end to the decades-old communist rebellion in the country.

The AFP chief of staff said the proposed task force would work not just on military measures but also on information, diplomatic and political efforts.

“The AFP now wants a national inter-agency task force, via an executive order, to expand its target beyond armed rebellion. Galvez sweeps away several laws and the Constitution by demanding the inclusion of ‘parliamentary struggle’ as an anti-insurgency target. He also emphasized the need to clamp down on a growing youth movement and aired a plan to ‘stop recruitment’ in schools,” MAT said.

It added: “His worldview is chilling: no legal dissent can be allowed because this will lead to more militant struggle.”






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