Makabayan bloc to file case vs. AFP for 'red-tagging' Rep. Castro

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 3) The left-leaning Makabayan bloc is planning to file a case against military officials for accusing ACT Teachers Partylist Representative France Castro of being a member of the New People's Army (NPA).

Anakpawis Partylist Representative Ariel Casilao said they plan to file the case before the Office of the Ombudsman.

"We will file a case sa (before the) Ombudsman for the military. This statement, this very dangerous and baseless statement, hindi pe-pwedeng palampasin ito eh (it cannot be disregarded)," Casilao said.

Castro, meanwhile, condemned Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff General Carlito Galvez's claim that she's an NPA member, saying the allegation puts her life in danger because the military goes after those whom they suspect to have communist links.

"Kinukundena ko ang statement na ito ni Galvez dahil ito ay magbibigay ng danger sa aking buhay," Castro said.

"Hindi ako miyembro ng NPA, Galvez, nililinaw ko lang sayo. Kung may mangyari sa akin, I will hold you accountable," the lawmaker added.

(Translation: I'm condemning Galvez's statement because it endangers my life. I am not an NPA member, Galvez. I'm clarifying it for you. I will hold you accountable if something happened to me.)

Martial law extension

The Makabayan bloc is also opposing AFP's recommendation to extend martial law in mindanao for another year.

Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Carlos Isagani Zarate warned that putting the military in control of Mindanao much longer will lead to more human rights abuses.

Extending martial law anew might embolden the AFP to ask President Rodrigo Duterte to widen its scope nationwide, Zarate warned.

"Malinaw na itong panukala na i-extend na naman ang martial law sa Mindanao, ito ay magbubunsod ng mas marami pang paglabag sa karapatang pantao. At sa katunayan, kung papabayaan natin ang militar at pulis, hindi na lang Mindanao ang gusto nilang ilagay sa batas militar kundi ang buong bansa na," Zarate said.

(Translation: It's clear that this recommendation to extend martial law in Mindanao will create more human rights violations. In fact, if we allow the military and police, they would place not only Mindanao, but the entire country under martial law.)

He cited the recent detention of Castro and former congressman Satur Ocampo for alleged kidnapping and human trafficking as proof that the military is abusing martial law.

Castro, Ocampo and 16 others were detained in Davao del Norte last week after 14 minors were found in their convoy. The activists denied the allegation, saying they were rescuing the minors from alleged military harassment. The police, however, claimed the children were taken without their parents' consent.