Fact checks on public officials

FALSE: Makabayan lawmakers are communist guerillas’ urban operatives

Rappler.com
FALSE: Makabayan lawmakers are communist guerillas’ urban operatives
Makabayan is a political coalition accredited by the Commission on Elections. The Party-List System Act excludes any organization which ‘advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal.’
At a glance
  • Claim: The members of Makabayan, a bloc of progressive party-list representatives, are urban operatives of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines (CPP-NPA-NDFP).
  • Rating: FALSE
  • The facts: Makabayan is a political coalition accredited by the Commission on Elections. Its member organizations have been allowed to participate in the party list for several elections already because they meet the criteria under Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-List System Act. Section 6.2 of this law excludes any organization which “advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal.”
  • Why we fact-checked this: In a statement against the passage of House Bill No. 10576 or the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act, Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy claimed that the “authors,” namely the Makabayan bloc, are urban operatives of the CPP-NPA-NDF. Red-tagging has resulted in filing charges, detention, and killings of activists. The post has earned 2,100 reactions, 145 comments, and 380 shares, as of January 20. 
Complete details

On January 20, Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy released a statement on her Facebook page against the passage of House Bill No. 10576 or the Human Rights Defenders Protection Act. She said, “The authors of this bill are urban operatives of the CPP NPA NDF – members of the sarcastically named Makabayan Bloc.”

As of writing, the post has 2,100 reactions, 145 comments, and 380 shares.

The claim is false.

The Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) is a political coalition of progressive party-list groups and individuals launched on April 16, 2009. It is accredited by the Commission on Elections (Comelec). 

Its member organizations are registered under the country’s Republic Act 7941 or the Party-List System Act. They have participated in several elections, some since 2001 and some starting 2010. It has fielded senatorial and some local candidates and joined the slate of mainstream political parties.

Section 6.2 of the Party-List System Act excludes any organization that “advocates violence or unlawful means to seek its goal.” The group leaders have consistently denied links with the communist rebels, saying complaints filed against them on that ground were fabricated.

Makabayan has six representations in the 18th Congress: Bayan Muna Representatives Carlos Isagani Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, and Eufemia Cullamat, Gabriela Representative Arlene Brosas, Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago, and Act Teachers Representative France Castro.

The coalition is also endorsing two senatorial candidates: former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares and labor leader Elmer Labog.

Contrary to Badoy’s claim, urban operatives of the NPA are known as Special Partisan Units (SPARU), not Makabayan, based on statements from communist rebels and military reports.

Comelec dismissed a disqualification bid against members of Makabayan bloc for having “no leg to stand on.” On April 26, 2019, petitioner Angela Aguilar alleged that party-list groups belonging to the Makabayan bloc have links with the CPP-NPA. The commission also noted the complainant’s “lack of genuine interest” to pursue the case for failure to attend the hearings.

The Department of Justice also dismissed kidnapping charges filed by the police against Elago for allegedly recruiting Alicia Lucena to become part of the CPP-NPA-NDFP.

Comelec has yet to rule on the disqualification case filed by NTF-ELCAC against Gabriela and Kabataan for the 2022 elections based on the same allegations. – Sherwin de Vera/Rappler.com

Sherwin de Vera is a Luzon-based journalist and an awardee of the Aries Rufo Journalism Fellowship.

Keep us aware of suspicious Facebook pages, groups, accounts, websites, articles, or photos in your network by contacting us at factcheck@rappler.com. Let us battle disinformation one Fact Check at a time.

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