Armed Forces of the Philippines spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo
MANILA —The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Friday said it respects the views of some progressive groups of an alleged crackdown by government security forces, noting everyone is entitled to their own opinions.
“Though the AFP takes exception to charges of ‘crackdown’ or ‘attacks on progressive groups’ and of ‘planting of evidence’ by some individuals, their freedom to express their views is a constitutionally vested right that the AFP respects, upholds, and defends,” AFP spokesperson, Marine Brig. Gen. Edgard Arevalo said in a press statement.
Arevalo made the statement in reaction to the recent move of 64 members of the House of Representatives, condemning the government’s alleged crackdown against progressive groups.
“But we as protector of the people and securer of the State has to pursue that duty likewise mandated to us by the Constitution,” Arevalo said.
He added the AFP cannot simply ignore while some minors are being recruited into the armed struggle of the New People’s Army (NPA).
“We cannot, in conscience, claim to have lived by our solemn oaths sitting on swivel chairs while groups hiding in the cloak of ‘progressive groups’ are clandestinely planning and arming to slay democracy and supplant it with the communist terrorist rule,” he said.
He also said the recent arrests made by authorities of members of progressive groups in Bacolod City and Manila are lawful, citing the search warrants by issued by trial courts.
Aside from the several firearms and explosives, the operation also resulted in the rescue of 13 minors allegedly being trained for deployment to the boondocks as NPA fighters and cadres.
“The presence of 32 firearms, 130 rounds of ammunition, and five pieces of explosives were too glaring to ignore and too many to claim to be ‘planted’,” Arevalo said.
Arevalo added that if the kidnapping of minors is to be filed against the arrested individuals, the AFP will not be surprised if these progressive groups will claim that the 13 children who were rescued were “planted” by the law enforcers.
“Amidst this glaring CTG [communist terrorist group] propaganda, we invite well-meaning individuals and groups to sit down with us. We intend to discuss what we have been saying all along about CTG infiltration of left-leaning organizations that are wittingly or unwittingly being used as conduits in the transfer of funds from foreign funding agencies to the CTG,” he said.
The Communist Party of the Philippines, along with its armed wing, the NPA, is listed as a terrorist organization by the United States, European Union, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines. (PNA)