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Makabayan denies funding rebellion

Clearly alluded to by President Duterte’s accusation that some party list groups have been funneling government funds to the New People’s Army, the Makabayan legislative bloc declared it does not use its funds to finance the NPA’s rebellion against government.

Sought by the House media to clear the air on Duterte’s charges, Makabayan leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said the two organizations have “always been transparent in our funds” ever since they joined the party list elections in 2001.

“We are not funding the New People’s Army,” stated Zarate during an impromptu press conference. He decried as “dangerous” the alleged vilification campaigned aimed at their group, saying that this reminds him of the days during the Arroyo administration.

“It has been the same during the Arroyo administration, where we have been vilified. This is dangerous because this vilification led to many of our members being killed,” said Zarate.

In a talk with soldiers assigned with the 1st Infantry Division in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur, Duterte accused party list groups of financing NPA activities with money received from the government.

“That’s why I will no longer allow party list in Congress. If it is not being represented by a family. Those party-lists, 200,000 is just a small amount, the communists are with them, too,” Duterte said in Cebuano.

However, the Chief Executive did not identify which partylist groups are guilty of his accusation.

Apparently feeling alluded to because of its links with personalities aligned with the NPA and the National Democratic Front, Zarate readily agreed to an interview with members of the House media.

“During the time that we had PDAF (Priority Development Assistance Fund) we have used it for NPA – the no permanent address people. These are the homeless whom we provided care for thru health facilities, as well as education in schools,” said Zarate. (Ben R. Rosario)