Zarate says relatives, not NPA, funded son’s studies abroad

Xave Gregorio ( – December 22, 2020 – 4:00pm

MANILA, Philippines — Rep. Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna party-list) refuted Tuesday President Rodrigo Duterte’s claim that the New People’s Army funded the studies of his son in Poland, saying that relatives abroad mainly supported his son’s education.

“His tuition, board and other expenses were mainly sponsored by relatives residing abroad,” Zarate said in a message to reporters.

He added that he and his wife also supported their son, Xandro, “within [their] means of income.”

“The expenses for his studies and upkeep came from honest and legitimate sources,” he said.

Zarate confirmed that his son went to Poland to study philosophy at The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, but returned to the Philippines in July 2019 to finish his studies at a local school.

Duterte once again went off-topic during his weekly address on the coronavirus pandemic and spent a good portion of it lashing out at Zarate and divulging that he has been digging up documents on the leftist lawmaker who has been repeatedly, yet baselessly, linked with the communist rebellion.

The president questioned how Xandro’s studies abroad were financed and suggested, without providing evidence, that Zarate used funds collected by the NPA to send Xandro to school abroad.

Duterte also hurled a string of insults at Zarate before inviting him to a meeting. The lawmaker said he agrees to meet the president if it is “for the benefit of the people.”

The president heads the controversial anti-communist task force that has been on a dangerous red-tagging offensive targeting individuals critical of the government, including Zarate and his fellow lawmakers part of the leftist Makabayan bloc in Congress.

In October, Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade, spokesperson for the task force, admitted that the Makabayan bloc is under surveillance, even if no court has allowed them to do so.

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