Ex-NPA rebels sue Sison, Elago for trafficking, child abuse
By Lade Jean Kabagani / Philippine News Agency
STOP CTG ATROCITIES. Former New People’s Army member Jeffrey ‘Ka Eric’ Celiz file criminal cases against Communist Party of the Philippines founding chair Jose Maria Sison, Kabataan party-list Representative Sarah Elago and other leaders of terrorist organizations before the Department of Justice on Friday (Oct. 1, 2021). Celiz and other fellow former cadres want Sison and his cohorts charged for violations of Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act. (Contributed photo)
(Erratum: An Oct. 1 Twitter post of PNA on the filing of cases by former CPP-NPA cadres before the Department of Justice against CPP founder Jose Maria Sison and Kabataan party-list Rep. Sarah Elago erroneously identified the latter as an Anakbayan party-list representative. A correction has been posted. We apologize for the error. — The Editors)
MANILA – Former high-ranking officials of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People's Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) will be relentless in putting an end to deceptive practices and atrocities of the communist terrorist groups (CTGs).
On Friday, former NPA members, including Jeffrey Celiz (Ka Eric), Joy James “Ka Amihan” Saguino, Daniel “Ka Steven" Castillo, Lady Desiree "Ka Shane" Miranda, Julius "Ka Virgo" Acyatan, and Kurt Russel "Ka Ugnay" Sosa filed criminal cases against CPP founding chair Jose Maria "Joma" Sison, Kabataan party-list Representative Sarah Elago, and other CTG leaders before the Department of Justice (DOJ).
They were joined by Luisa Espina, whose daughter, Louvaine Erika, was recruited by militant group Anakbayan in 2016 when she was only 16 years old.
They want Sison and his cohorts charged for violations of the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Act and the Special Protection of Children Against Abuse, Exploitation and Discrimination Act.
Saguino said there is a need to halt the CTGs' massive recruitment and radicalization of minors and other vulnerable sectors of the society, such as indigenous people, into joining the "senseless" armed revolution.
"Lubhang karima-rimarim 'yung mga nagiging karanasan ng mga kabataan gaya ko, gaya ng iba pang kasama ko ngayon dito, na mga dating NPA din na nagmula rin sa mga front organizations ng Anakbayan, ng League of Filipino Students (LFS) atsaka ng Kabataan party-list, sa pagsali sa armadong pakikibaka (Youth like me, and like other former NPA rebels here, who were former members of the communist front organizations of Anakbayan, League of Filipino Students and Kabataan party-list, had horrible experiences in joining the armed revolution)," he said in an interview.
Saguino said they will not stop until they "unmask the true colors" of the CPP-NPA-NDF and its legal front organizations.
"Unti-unti na nating nahuhubaran ang totoong kulay nung mga nagpapanggap na legal na organisasyon na wala namang ibang ginawa kundi pabagsakin yung gobyerno, linlangin ang mga kabataan at sirain ang mga pamilya (We are now slowly unmasking the true colors of those pretending to be legal organizations but have done nothing but to overthrow the government, deceive the youth, and destroy families)," he added, noting that the CPP-NPA front groups have been actively campaigning for the armed revolution "at the expense of the youth's future and better life”.
Saguino bared one of the most challenging parts of filing criminal cases is how to clearly correlate the link between the legal front organizations to the CPP-NPA-NDF.
"Iyon po ang naging isang matagumpay na naging hakbang ngayon ng gobyerno para mas pa-igtingin ang kampanya para mamulat 'yung taumbayan laban sa mga makakaliwang grupo (That's one of the triumphant steps of our government, to be able to promote a more aggressive campaign of awakening the people against leftist groups)," he said.
'Tell the truth'
Castillo, also a former member of Anakbayan, slammed Elago and other members of the Makabayan Bloc for continuing to deny their ties with CTGs.
"Isang napakalaking kasinungalingan na sabihing walang link o walang relasyon 'yung Kabataan party-list, Anakbayan at LFS sa recruitment ng CPP-NPA-NDF dahil ako mismo ay nanggaling sa Anakbayan at 'yung Anakbayan talaga ang nagsilbing tulay para maging NPA ako (It is a big lie to say that the Kabataan party-list, Anakbayan and LFS are not connected or linked to the recruitment process of the CPP-NPA-NDF, because I myself, came from Anakbayan and Anakbayan served as a bridge for me to become an NPA member," Castillo said.
Fueled by disturbing social issues, Castillo said he decided to move to the mountains to join the armed struggle.
"Kung titingnan natin, nakakapukaw talaga ng damdamin at makaka-udyok talaga sa mga kabataan na sumama sa armadong pakikibaka (If we will look at it, it is really provoking and tempting for the youth to join the armed struggle)," he said.
After serving the NPA's Guerilla Front 55, operating in the boundaries of Bukidnon province and Davao City, Castillo returned to the fold of the law and is now helping the government expose the deceptions committed by the CPP-NPA-NDF and allied groups.
"Kung gusto talaga natin makamit ang pagbabago, hindi natin kailangan idaan sa marahas na pamamaraan (If we really want change, we don’t have to go through violence)," he said.
Castillo reminded the youth to become vigilant against the massive recruitment of the CPP-NPA's front organizations.
"Hindi na kailangang gumamit ng marahas na pamamaraan para lang sa ating mga ipinaglalaban. Maraming tamang avenues para sa mga hinaing na nais nating iparating (We don't need to choose violent methods to push what we are fighting for. There are many right avenues to convey our grievances)," he said.
Saguino said the Sentrong Alyansa ng mga Mamamayan para sa Bayan, a multi-sectoral organization primarily composed of former rebels, Hands Off Our Children, and other anti-communist civic organizations, are committed to helping the next administration fight CTGs.
"Handa kaming makipagtulungan sa kung sinomang presidente ang maluklok for next year's elections para maipagpatuloy 'yung paglaban namin para sa katotohan, para patuloy na sagipin ang mga kabataang na-recruit ng NPA at maibalik sa mga magulang ang mga nawawalang nilang anak (We are ready to work with whoever the next President will be, to continue our fight for the truth, to continue rescuing the youth recruited by the NPA, and to help parents get back their missing children)," he said.
He said they will not stop even if the next administration will not be as aggressive as the Duterte government in fighting CTGs.
The Philippines' Anti-Terrorism Council has designated the CPP, NPA, and NDF as terrorist groups.
The European Union, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the Philippines also listed the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization. (PNA)