Members of national minority groups at a rally in front of the US Embassy in Manila in October 2016. The rally was in support of President Rodrigo Duterte's announcement that the Philippines would seek an independent foreign policy. Toledo IV, file
Moro group to military: Rallies part of democracy, not 'Red October'
( - September 28, 2018 - 11:30am

MANILA, Philippines — The military is spreading rumors by linking Lumad rights organizations to the supposed "Red October" plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte, a Moro activist group said.

In a statement, Suara Bangsamoro said rallies are a legitimate expression of democratic rights.

It also said the supposed plot "is plain gimmickry devised to create an imaginary threat to divert the public's attention away from burning issues of inflation and worsening economic situation" and that protests and mobilizations are a legitimate exercise of democratic rights.

Eastern Mindanao Command: Mobilizations part of ouster plans

Suara Bangsamoro was responding to a statement by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Eastern Mindanao Command that communist rebels "through their front organizations are carrying special lumad/IP campaign narratives such as 'Bakwit Lumad,' Attack on IP schools, and 'Lakbay Lumad'."

Eastmincom said the campaign is meant "to foment continuing unrest by way of agitation among the urban poor and rural peasant communities" and lead to the overthrow of the government.

Citing military intelligence, Eastmincom said communists "will mobilize different groups and sectors in the different regions to oust [President Rodrigo Duterte.]"

It said that the mobilizations will include "hyping the issue of alleged extrajudicial killings, attack on lumad communities, and human rights violations."

READ: Datu in Uson video tagged in Lumad killings, IP group points out

The military also said that "high-ranking [Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army] personalities" were captured in General Santos City in July while planning "the mobilization of their masses and implement their plans to oust [Duterte]."

Eastmincom said the mobilizations would be done on "red letter dates" like September 21—the commemoration of ousted dictator Ferdinand Marcos' martial law declaration—and Peasant Week on the third week of October.

The supposed attempt to overthrow the government on September 21 did not happen although there were rallies to mark the declaration of martial law.

Suara Bangsamoro: Supposed 'front' groups were once Palace guests  

"Mobilizations and protests are exercises of democratic rights of the people guaranteed by the Constitution. Because of the negligence of the Duterte government to address intense militarization, human rights violations, joblessness, soaring prices of goods and worsening poverty, the people of Mindanao are taking the streets to protest," Suara Bangsamoro said.

"General Madrigal, have you forgotten that just two years ago, the Lumad organizations that you are branding as CPP front groups are the same organizations that President Duterte entertained in Malacañang as his special guests?" Suara Bangsamoro said, addressing Lt. Gen. Benjamin Madrigal, Jr., Eastmincom chief. 

"In the same year, the Lakbayan of the Mindanaoans rallied in Manila in support of president's call for independent foreign policy," the group said. Activists were injured in a scuffle with police at an October 2016 rally against alleged US intervention in the Philippines.

RELATED: No progress on cases vs cops a year after US Embassy dispersal

"Instead of prioritizing the welfare of  the impoverished, the government would rather focus its resources on throwing the underserved such as the Lumad, in the line of fire," the group said as it stated that the "Red October" plot does not exist.

"It is a psywar tactic by the government to silence critics and discourage citizens from airing out their grievances against the administration," the group said.

Groups whom President Duterte, and later the military, tagged in a supposed conspiracy have disavowed the supposed plot.

As It Happens
LATEST UPDATE: June 29, 2019 - 2:18pm

Vice President Leni Robredo says a supposed 'Red October' plot by an alleged communist-led conspiracy with opposition groups are "laughable if they were not dangerous."

She says the "attempt to delegitimize various opposition groups and personalities to an alleged extra-constitutional 'plot' are alarming," she says in a statement.

"Baseless allegations that link my involvement in legitimate opposition activities with illegal actions, particularly when they come from high ranking military officials, undermine not just the opposition but also our democracy," she says.

The military had earlier claimed that communist rebels are planning to destabilize the Duterte administration next month as part of international celebrations for communism and Marxism. 

Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade, Armed Forces deputy chief for operations, claimed that the "Red October" plot remains even if a plan to oust Duterte by September 21 failed to materialize.

June 29, 2019 - 2:18pm

Rights workers hit the dismissal of petitions for protection against alleged state harassment.

“The dismissal of our petitions for the writ of amparo and habeas data is a gross disservice to all the human rights defenders of Karapatan who have been killed and to those who continue to remain in the line of fire. In doing so, the appellate court has refused protection for defenders at risk. This is tantamount to complicity on the attacks perpetrated against us,” says Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay.

The groups will continue to exhaust all legal processes to appeal and overturn the decision, Palabay adds.

October 5, 2018 - 8:40am

Filmmakers and members of the film community are expected to hold a press conference on Friday afternoon in relation to a statement signed and circulated on Facebook on Thursday denouncing "red-tagging" by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, which has been saying that viewings of films about martial law under Marcos are being used to recruit students to join the supposed "Red October" plot.

The press conference will be at Cinema Adarna in UP Diliman.

Universities that the AFP said are being used as recruitment venues for activism and for the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army have already denied the allegations and have denounced the military for the claim, which the AFP has admitted includes unverified information.

October 4, 2018 - 4:00pm

More than 300 filmmakers, media workers, cultural workers and members of the film and artistic community have so far put their names on a statement to protest the Armed Forces of the Philippines "essentially [accusing] us and the organizations that sponsor film screenings on martial law of recruiting for the New People’s Army."

The AFP, through Brig. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr, claims communist rebels have been recruiting students in at least 18 universities by showing them films on martial law during the Marcos administration to supposedly influence them into rebelling against the government.

"This is red-baiting and slander of the worst kind. It impinges on our right to freedom of expression, speech and assembly, and endangers us and our audience, especially in the context of the Duterte regime’s murderous anti-war and counter-insurgency campaigns and the president’s recent pronouncement that 'rebels' are now targets for 'neutralization' or can be arrested without warrant, despite constitutional guarantees against it," the manifesto, which has been spreading on Facebook, reads.

"Our film screenings provide an invaluable service to the youth, the students and the general audience, especially since our education system has largely failed in informing them about the systemic atrocities that happened during the martial law era," they say.

"The screenings hope to provide them with knowledge and insight into that dark chapter in our history, especially since many of the actual perpetrators and beneficiaries of that fascist dictatorship have fully rehabilitated themselves back into mainstream politics and into positions of power," they also say.

October 4, 2018 - 1:26pm

Emilio Aguinaldo College in Manila "vehemently denies" that it is being used for recruitment of students to the Communist Party of the Philippines as the Armed Forces of the Philippines claimed on Wednesday.

It says neither the school nor its students have any "record of participation in any partisan political activity," adding the school is more engaged in outreach and community programs.

"Absent any proof or actual basis, the statement by the AFP should be rectified immediately," lawyer Joseph Noel Estrada, EAC legal counsel, says in a press statement.

"[T]he college adheres to peaceful and non-violent means of expressing grievances and, more importantly, to democracy," he says, adding the school will not allow itself to be used for subversive activities.

EAC, which has campuses in Manila and in Cavite, follows similar statements from De La Salle University, the University of Santo Tomas and the University of Makati denying allegations made by the AFP that their campuses are being used as recruitment areas for the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army.

The AFP claims films about abuses during martial law during the Marcos administration are being used to influence students to rebel against the government as part of a supposed "Red October" plot to oust President Rodrigo Duterte from office.

The CPP has repeatedly disavowed the supposed plot, which initially allegedly also involved the pro-military Magdalo group and the Liberal Party.

The AFP and the Department of the Interior and Local Government have both said Magdalo and LP are not involved.

October 3, 2018 - 9:13am

The government should charge supposed and unnamed Liberal Party members it says are part of a supposedly communist-led conspiracy to overthrow the government, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon of the LP says.

In a press statement, Drilon points out Gen. Carlito Galvez, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff, has already said neither the LP no Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV are involved in the supposed "Red October" plot.

"I challenge Malacañang, particularly presidential spokesman Harry Roque to file charges against LP members who are allegedly in cahoots with the communists to overthrow the government," Drilon says.

In response to Galvez' statement, Roque said: "It could be true that there is no formal memorandum of agreement between the party itself and the CPP-NPA. It does not prevent leading personalities with the Liberal Party from having such collusion."

Roque also insisted that Trillanes is involved because the senator "has repeatedly called for the ouster of the president... [H]e has actually verbalized time and again he should step down. He should removed from office, he should be sent to jail."

Drilon says Wednesday: "Let me borrow Secretary Roque’s own words. We should not take Roque seriously."

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