The National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) is confident that the partylist group will be disqualified to run for next year’s congressional elections.
Despite Gabriela Women’s Party’s (GWP) filing of its certificate of candidacy (COC) with the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) on Monday, National Security Adviser and NTF-ELCAC Vice-Chairman Sec. Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. said that the evidence in support of the disqualification case filed against Gabriela before the COMELEC is solid.
At the virtual presscon of the NTF-ELCAC on Monday, the NSA chief added, “dapat silang madisqualify dahil talagang tumatanggap sila ng pondo sa abroad. At marami sa miyembro ng Gabriela ang napupunta sa frontlines at nagiging NPA.”
Esperon however admitted that because the Philippines is a democratic country and abides by the principles of due process, the partylist can still file for its candidacy until the COMELEC decides to finally disqualify Gabriela to run for congress.
“Yung pagpa-file nila ng candidacy ay karapatan nila iyon, dahil wala pa namang desisyon… In fact, meron pang mga partylist ang nag-aapply sa Comelec ngayon na hindi pa napaprocess. Ang alam ko… they may file their candidacies pending their registration as partylist… this is all part of democracy,” he added.
He said that the NTF-ELCAC has done its part and the ball now is with the Comelec to disqualify Gabriela which is part of the so-called Makabayan bloc in the lower house, along with Bayan Muna, Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), Kabataan, and Anakpawis.
“Natapos na nating ang ating gawain, ibinigay na natin ang ebidensya. Hintayin natin ang Comelec magdecide. Now kung magfile sila ng candidacy that is perfectly alright with us, habang wala pang desisyon,” Esperon said.
Meanwhile, Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson on Social Media and Sectoral Concern, did not mince any words in denouncing the Gabriela Partylist for its misrepresentations and vowed that the government will do everything in its powers to continue to protect the youth from the evils of the Communist Party of the Philippines – New People’s Army – National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
“A lot of our youth have died as NPAs. But before that, they joined Gabriela. I’m sure under the democratic process, they could file their candidacy. But the NTF-ELCAC will make sure that the CPP-NPA-NDF operatives will not go back to Congress because that is where they could harm our most vulnerable sector,” Badoy said.
While NSA Deputy Dir. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., for his part, confirmed that both Gabriela and Gabriela Youth are part of the armed rebellion of the CPP-NPA-NDF. “Ang linaw-linaw ng participation ng Gabriela at Gabriela Youth sa armed rebellion. Ang dami na nating videos. At madami na tayong former rebels na nagsasabi na from Gabriela ay naging NPA sila. At yung iba hindi nga nila alam kung kailan sila nagtransition to NPA from Gabriela. Yung mga nacapture natin ang sinsabi nila ay Gabriela sila, pero they were with the NPAs. So, napakalinaw ng participation ng Gabriela dito sa armed struggle. Palagay ko na din naman, ay malinaw na sa mga taumbayan yung mga bagay na ito. Kaya hindi na pwede yung stand na apathy,” Parlade said.
It can be recalled that last August, the NTF-ELCAC filed a petition with the Comelec contending that Gabriela willfully violated Section 2, Paragraph 5, Article 9 (C) of the Philippine Constitution by unlawfully receiving financial contributions from a foreign government and non-government organizations (NGOs), acts that are considered the interference of domestic affairs and inimical to Philippine sovereignty.
According to the petition, based on the report by the international accounting firm Mazars, Gabriela received funds not only from the Belgian government but also from Viva Salud VZW, a Belgian-accredited non-government organization (NGO) and another European group.
Viva Salud from Belgium sent P1.8 M in March 2019, while fund transfers ranging from P1 to P2 M were made by the INTL FCstone Ltd. of London from September 2015 to March 2019.
Esperon said that during the same period mentioned, then GWP Representative Emerenciana de Jesus who was also the chairperson of Gabriela, Inc. from 2013-2015, contributed a total of P930,000 to Gabriela during the 2019 national and local elections.