Senate President Vicente Sotto III. Senate PRIB file photo
MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Senate employees suspected of being "tentacles" of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) will be investigated following the claim of the chief of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) that communist rebels are embedded inside in the Senate.
Sotto, however, also said that he is now inclined to support the initiative to criminalize red-tagging after NICA Director General Alex Monteagudo posted on Facebook that the Senate workers' union has been "the eyes and the ears" of the CPP, the New People's Army, and the National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
The Senate president earlier said Monteagudo may have just been "misinformed."
"He sent word saying they are just telling our people that the CPP has tentacles even in the halls of the Senate [through] COURAGE, a CTG [communist terrorist group] organization," Sotto told reporters in a Viber message Wednesday.
"I said I want NICA to give me the names of the employees and I will have them investigated," the Senate President added.
Sotto said NICA has yet to provide him the names but noted the identities will remain confidential once they are submitted to him.
The Senate workers' union, the Sandigan ng mga Empleyadong Nagkakaisa sa Adhikain ng Demokratikong Organisasyon (Senado), has already slammed as "baseless and malicious" allegations made by Monteagudo.
Minority senators also condemned the red-tagging of the union, saying such claims are "dangerous."
"We strongly condemn the red-tagging of the union of Senate employees and we vehemently denounce government officials who continue to label, brand, vilify, and harass individuals and organizations such as Senado as state enemies and subversives," they said in a joint statement.
"We have been in the Senate long enough and we can attest that the Senado union never acted as the 'eyes and ears of the CPP-NPA-NDF in the Senate to hijack plans and programs of the government,'" the senators added.
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