Human rights lawyer and former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares questioned the credibility of self-proclaimed ex-rebel Jeffrey Celiz or “Ka Eric,” the star witness of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).

Celiz earlier tagged progressive groups and lawmakers as being part of the armed communist movement in the country.

Colmenares, however, accused Celiz of making false claims before the Senate panel investigating red-tagging issues.

The former lawmaker previously flagged several inconsistencies in the witness’ statements during the November 3 Senate hearing and his past pronouncements before the media about his background.

Stressing that Celiz cannot claim to be a long-time member of the NPA while he was serving in a government post in Iloilo City until 2016, Colmenares said: “Member ka ng NPA, syempre low-profile ka dapat di ba? Pero dito high profile. Bakit ginagawa ni Mr. Celiz ito, eh National Operations Command siya?”

Celiz, who was previously included in President Rodrigo Duterte’s narco list in 2016, was “lying” in his statements in exchange for protection from the government regarding his alleged drug links, Colmenares claimed.

“Ang interpretasyon namin, hindi siya asset. Tingin namin nagsisinungaling siya na asset siya. Talagang na-involve siya sa drug list dahil may basis ang President doon sa pag-involve niya sa drug list,” he continued.

“Pagkatapos niyang ma-involve doon, saka lang siya pumunta sa military at nagsabing puwede ba proteksyunan niyo ako sa tokhang pero magte-testify ako kung sino ang gusto ninyong itestify ko,” he added.

“That goes into the motive, Mr. Chair. But that is our interpretation, and it’s up to the Senate to interpret that,” Colmenares said, pointing out that the military’s allegations that Makabayan bloc lawmakers are members of the CPP are baseless and repetitive.

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