National Youth Commission Chair Ronald Cardema, who has proposed that students that are “anti-government” should have their scholarships revoked, was formerly a vocal youth activist who sided with communist rebels.
This was revealed in an opinion piece published on Manila Bulletin last January, which Atty. Jesus Falcis shared on Facebook.
In 2006, Cardema released an open letter in which he said his uncle Noel Capulong Sr., who was deputy regional…
Columnist Tony Cruz said that Cardema circulated an open letter in 2006 saying that he was concerned with the atrocities against members of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) being committed by the military and the police during the administration of Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
Cruz said that online news agency Bulatlat.com was able to interview him that time, during which he related to reporter Alexander Martin Remollino the details of the letter.
Cardema, a former cadet at the Philippine Military Academy, said that law enforcement officials killed his uncle Noel Capulong Sr., a deputy regional coordinator of BAYAN Southern Tagalog.
When asked his opinion on the various protests against Arroyo, which include those staged by the Magdalo group of Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, he said:
“Technically these are beyond the boundaries of the Constitution, but we all know that what they are fighting for, their views, their idealism, are correct. The Constitution does not provide for these types of action, but we have seen that they didn’t do that to demand money or whatever: they were demanding benefits not only for themselves but also for their foot soldiers.”
He then went on to praise Trillanes, then a lieutenant, as among “the best of the best.”
“They were the really battle-tested ones: most of them are Marines, Scout Rangers, Special Forces – they are the ones who lay their lives on the line in the battlefield, and they really realized the problems,” Cardema said.
Furthermore, he said that Arroyo’s “all-out war” against communists will never work because their ideas will only “make a greater dent on the conscious of the people.”
More than a decade later, Cruz lamented that Cardema has turned his back against the people he defended before and chose to ignore the wrongful acts Duterte, Arroyo and their allies have been committing against Filipinos.
“Cardema eggs youth leaders from the Sangguniang Kabataan to fight fellow youth who happen to belong to what he views as ‘leftist groups.’ Yes, the same groups his murdered uncle Noel Capulong Sr. belonged to,” Cruz said.
Gloria Arroyo’s Oplan Bantay Laya
A New York Times report in 2006 stated that Arroyo invested approximately P1 billion or $18.7 million to finance her “all-out war” against rebels, particularly members of the NPA.
Veteran journalist Carlos Conde wrote that the number of NPA members that time range from 7,000 to 10,000, a huge group which Arroyo was determined to wipe out.
According to CPP leader Jose Maria Sison, this campaign called Oplan Bantay Laya or Operation Bantay Laya was implemented in 2002.
Sison said that the campaign resulted in the displacement of hundreds of poor Filipinos belonging to minority groups and the killings of over 680 unarmed activists.
In 2017, the National Democratic Front of the Philippines published photos and names of their peace consultants who were either abducted or have disappeared during Arroyo’s counterinsurgency operations.
“Among the thousands of victims of enforced disappearance in the Philippines under various regimes were the National Democratic Front peace consultants who were abducted when the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo regime stalled the peace negotiations between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP),” the organization said. —Artwork by Uela Altar-Badayos