A group composed of former cadres of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) said no one is funding the organization.
The Abante Sentrong Alyansa ng mga Mamamayan para sa Bayan (SAMBAYANAN) denied the accusations of active members of CPP-NPA and its legal front organizations that they are being funded by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to enter the party-list system.
The groups added that the insurgency task force’s 2022 budget for Barangay Development Program will be “used for the delivery of necessary services to long-neglected communities”, not for Sambayanan’s gain.
The Commission on Elections (Comelec) has twice denied Sambayanan’s petition to seek a seat in Congress.
Abante Sambayanan, an alternative people’s alliance consisting of former high-ranking officials of the CPP-NPA-National Democratic Front (NDF) and led by first nominee Jeffrey “Ka Eric” Celiz, obtained a temporary restraining order against Comelec, according to the group’s Facebook post on Wednesday.
The Supreme Court on Dec. 29 ordered the Comelec to temporarily refrain from implementing its October 5 orders that rejected the registration of Abante Sambayanan and Ayuda sa May Kapansanan and its resolution dated December 1 denying the two groups’ motions for reconsideration.
So far, 166 groups are confirmed as official party-list candidates for the May 9, 2022 polls.
“Prinsipyo at paninindigan lamang ang puhunan ng Sambayanan. Nais naming maglingkod sa mamamayan sa paraang hindi marahas, sa paraang hindi mapanlinlang o mapangmalupit (The Sambayanan is investing on principle and commitment. We want to serve the people in a non-violent way, which is not deceptive and cruel),” the group statement read.
They admit feeling dejected over Comelec’s decision to reject them anew.
“Para na ring sinasabi nila (Comelec) na mali na kami ay nakipagtulungan sa gobyerno, na maling kami ay nagbalik-loob (The Comelec seems to be telling us it was a wrong decision to return to the fold of the law and we should not cooperate with the government),” it added.
Despite the Comelec’s move, Abante Sambayanan said it will will continue its advocacies against communist insurgency and the “senseless armed revolution.”
“Buo ang paninindigan ng Sambayanan, may party-list man o wala, may NTF-ELCAC man o wala, na maglingkod sa sambayanang Pilipino, para sa ating pinapangarap na mapayapa, masagana at maunlad na bansa (Sambayanan remains committed, with or without a party-list, with or without NTF-ELCAC, to serve the Filipino people, for our dream of a peaceful, prosperous, and developed country),” the group said.
Prior to its push to join the party-list system, the Abante Sambayanan has been supporting the government’s whole-of-nation approach to end 52 years of atrocities, violence, and recruitment of minors by the CPP-NPA-NDF and its front organizations.
The CPP-NPA is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines.
The Anti-Terrorism Council also formally designated the NDF as a terrorist organization on June 23, 2021, citing it as “an integral and separate part” of the CPP-NPA that was created in April 1973.
On Dec. 4, 2018, the NTF-ELCAC was created by virtue of Executive Order 70, tasked to “provide an efficient mechanism and structure for the implementation of the whole-of-nation approach to aid in the realization of collective aspirations for inclusive and sustainable peace.”