Members and supporters of senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares and Makabayan partylist groups received death threats, harassed and labeled as communists and supporters of New People’s Army (NPA). The Makabayan bloc has been critical of the Duterte administration.
By RONALYN V. OLEA
Election watchdog Kontra Daya received reports of death threats, harassment and red tagging of Makabayan party list groups and their supporters from all over the country.
Makabayan bloc is composed of partylist groups Bayan Muna, Gabriela Women’s Party, Kabataan Partylist, ACT Teachers Partylist and Anakpawis.
In Caloocan City, Makabayan volunteer Manuel Ferrer received death threats and was tagged as a supporter of the New People’s Amy (NPA).
In Baybay, Leyte, voters were told that the vote receipts can reveal those who voted for the progressive partylist groups. Supporters were threatened they could be tailed to their homes and become targets of the Synchronized Enhanced Management Police Operations (SEMPO), which was responsible for the death of 14 people in Negros last month.
In Quirino, Isabela and Cagayan Valley provinces, Makabayan coordinators received death threats from four cellphone numbers: 0975-9366202, 0945-2934843, 0933-1836156 and 0997-5497428, according to a report by Northern Dispatch.
Agnes Mesina, regional coordinator and national council member of Makabayan, said their leaders and members received messages threatening them not to vote or something bad would happen to them and their family.
Rowena Hidalgo, Makabayan coordinator in Quirino, received this message from 09350682166, “Sika met Rowena ti ammum mailasat mu dagita aramid mu nga maka-NPA? Agbaliw kan habang nasapa pay ta litagen daka man inya man nga banda dita quirino.” (You Rowena, are you thinking that you can survive your pro-NPA activities? You should change while you have time because we can kill you anywhere in Quirino.)
The municipal coordinator of Neri Colemenares and Anakpawis party-list in Lallo, Cagayan received a letter warning him of his support for the group along with a live bullet.
Three days before the elections, Ted Lazaro, deputy campaign officer of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Quezon City and Makabayan coordinator, received in his home a funeral flower arrangement. On the same evening, May 10, plastic containing blood was thrown at his house in barangay Sta Lucia, District 5, Quezon City.
At the Bambang East Elementary School in Nueva Vizcaya, suspected intelligence officers were reportedly taking photos of precincts as voters cast their votes.
Elements of the Philippine National Police (PNP) were seen distributing copies of their newsletter, tagging Makabayan party-list groups as communist fronts at Geronimo Elementary School in Sampaloc, Manila.
Similar incidents of distribution of materials red-tagging progressive partylists were documented in Siquijor, Palawan and Cebu, according to Kontra Daya.
Leaflets urging voters not to vote for Makabayan party-list groups were also distributed in Tamauini and the cities of Ilagan and Santiago in Isabela, Tuguegarao City in Cagayan, and the towns of Solano and Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya, according to a report by Northern Dispatch.
In Baguio City, police station 5 shared a false information on its Facebook account about the supposed disqualification of Makabayan party-lists. Baguio Pulisya Singko posted an image masquerading as a news that said the Commission on Elections disqualified Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela, Act Teachers and Kabataan party-lists for the 2019 elections for allegedly destabilizing the government, Northern Dispatch reported.
Also in Baguio City, people’s organization Tontongan Ti Umili reported that non-commissioned military police are spotted roving the vicinity of Fort Del Pilar Elementary School before noon. The group said that although the school is inside the Philippine Military Academy, police and military forces are expected to be 50 meters away from the polling center.
Anakpawis Regional Coordinator Isabelo Adviento said that elements of the 17th Infantry Battalion of the Philippine Army openly campaigned against Neri Colmenares and party-list members of Makabayan.
Poll watchers of senatorial aspirant Neri Colmenares and Anakpawis Partylist were barred from entering the precinct in Brgy. Centro Norte, Sto. Nino, Cagayan Valley. (With reports from Sherwin de Vera of Northern Dispatch)