The National Task Force to End Local Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) said there is solid ground to disqualify the Gabriela Women’s Party to run in the 2022 polls.
The party-list group filed its certificate of candidacy (COC) with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) on Monday.
At the virtual press conference of the NTF-ELCAC, National Security Adviser and NTF-ELCAC Vice-Chairman Secretary Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said the evidence in support of the disqualification case filed against Gabriela before the Comelec is solid.
“They should be disqualified because they are actually receiving funding abroad. And many of Gabriela’s members go to the frontlines and become NPA (New People’s Army) members,” Esperon said partly in Filipino.
However, Esperon the Philippines is a democratic country and abides by the principles of due process, so the party-list can still file for its candidacy until the Comelec decides to disqualify Gabriela to run for Congress.
“The filing of their candidacy is their right because there is no decision yet.. In fact, there are still party-lists who are now applying to the Comelec who have not been processed. What I know they may file their candidacies pending their registration as party-list… this is all part of democracy,” he added partly in Filipino.
He said 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.
Meanwhile, Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, NTF-ELCAC spokesperson on Social Media and Sectoral Concern, did not mince any words in denouncing the Gabriela Party-list for its misrepresentations.
She said the government will do everything in its power to continue to protect the youth from the evils of the Communist Party of the Philippines – NPA – 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.
NSA Deputy Director General Antonio Parlade Jr., for his part, confirmed that both Gabriela and Gabriela Youth are part of the armed rebellion of the CPP-NPA-NDF.
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 interference on 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 million in March 2019, while fund transfers ranging from P1 to P2 million were made by the INTL FCstone Ltd. of London from September 2015 to March 2019.
Esperon said during the same period mentioned, then GWP Representative Emerenciana de Jesus who was also the chairperson of Gabriela, Inc. from 2013 to 2015, contributed a total of P930,000 to Gabriela during the 2019 national and local elections.