Robredo pushes back on claims she is working with communist rebels

Robredo pushes back on claims she is working with communist rebels
Philippine's Vice-President and opposition presidential candidate Leni Robredo speaks to supporters during a meet and greet event in Carmona town, Cavite province, west of Manila on March 4, 2022.
AFP / Ted Aljibe

MANILA, Philippines — Vice President Leni Robredo on Monday again dismissed rumors and text messages claiming she is in an alliance with communist rebels.

Robredo, speaking at a press briefing in Bulacan after Gov. Daniel Fernando endorsed her presidential run, said there is no truth to the supposed alliance that has been floated by President Rodrigo Duterte, Sen. Panfilo "Ping" Lacson and a Cavite congressman.

She pointed out that Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV — a former Navy officer and leader of the rightist Magdalo group — has also denied the allegations. "Hindi siya papayag na magpa-infiltrate kami, hindi siya papayag na makikipag-coalesce kami sa [Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army]," she said.

[He would not allow infiltration to happen, he would not allow us to coalesce with the CPP-NPA]

The Anti-Terrorism Council has designated the CPP, NPA and National Democratic Front as terrorist groups. Activism, being a leftist or even a communist are not illegal in the Philippines.

READ: 'Being leftist is far from being a terrorist,' Justice secretary stresses

Robredo said that she and her campaign have been responding to disinformation against her more quickly because they have learned that ignoring the allegations would mean these would spread to more people. 

"If we don't address them, more people might believe the rumors, which would be the fault of those spreading them," she also said in Filipino.

Red-tagging text blast

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Robredo said people received messages using a fake quote of her supposedly praising CPP founder Jose Maria Sison and implying Sison’s support for the vice president.

"Andami daw nakatanggap nito kagabi. Tapos non-stop ang red-tagging sa akin at sa ating volunteers. May paandar pang bubuo daw ako ng coalition government kasama ang CPP-NPA-NDF. Para klaro: kasinungalingan ito," she said Sunday evening.

(A lot of people received this last night. Then there’s non-stop red-tagging of me and my volunteers. There’s also this claim that I will form a coalition government with the CPP-NPA-NDF. To be clear: these are lies.)

"Once and for all: Kaliwa, kanan, taas, baba, lahat handa tayong pakinggan — basta tapat, mapayapa, at handang magtrabaho para iangat ang buhay ng Pilipino," the vice president added.

(Once and for all: left, right, up, down, we are ready to listen to everyone—as long as they are truthful and ready to work for the betterment of Filipinos.)

Robredo also stressed she does not believe in using violence to solve problems.

"‘Yung mga kilala ako… alam na tutol ako sa sinumang pumupulot ng armas para maggiit ng sariling agenda. Hindi ako makikipag-alyansa sa mga ganun or sa mga naniniwala dun," she said, adding her priority is to work in a peaceful manner.

(Those who know me know that I am against anyone who takes up arms to push for their own agenda. I will not be allies with them or those who believe in that.)

CPP: No talks to support any candidate or party

CPP earlier denied that it is in talks with any candidate or political party for a coalition government after presidential candidate Lacson warned that the campaign of Robredo may have been infiltrated by communists.

This was an escalation of his red-tagging of the vice president’s supporters who attended a massive rally in his hometown of Cavite last week, echoing the allegations of Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla, which the congressman based on students at the campaign rallies supposedly looking like activists.

Red-tagging may have serious implications on the security and movements of individuals and groups, according to rights organizations and the Commission on Human Rights. In some cases, red-tagging translates to enforced disappearances and killings.

Robredo said it might be better for those who try to disrupt the momentum of her campaign to "try harder, or better yet join us."

Robredo is the biggest victim of disinformation, according to fact-checks done by fact-checking initiative Tsek.PH.  — Gaea Katreena Cabico with report from Xave Gregorio

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