Reina Mae, Catriona, Liza,and that thing called red-tagging

Published October 23, 2020, 4:30 PM

by Rj Nieto


RJ Nieto
RJ Nieto

We have all been made aware of the situation of Reina Mae Nasino, the grieving mother who, in November, 2019, was arrested in the office of Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) for alleged possession of guns and an explosive.

Aside from the Nasino issue, we also learned that AFP warned celebrities Liza Soberano and Catriona Gray against joining Gabriela. This warning was met with a swift rebuke from Soberano and Gray supporters, including Soberano’s manager Ogie Diaz.

Bayan and Gabriela

As expected, various camps raised the red-tagging issue again, and this red-tagging thing is getting really tiring.

In a 1987 speech, CPP-NPA-NDF founder Jose Maria Sison cited Bayan and Gabriela as a complement to the Communist Party’s armed revolution when he said:

“It is true that [the working class], especially the only party which represents it (the Communist Party) cannot win the Philippine revolution all by itself. At any rate, even while there are forces of armed revolution, there are the legal democratic forces in the Philippines. The biggest of these is Bagong Alyansang Makabayan or BAYAN, in short… Its biggest component organizations are Kilusang Mayo Uno (KMU), which is the labor center; Pambansang Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP); Gabriela, the women alliance…”

(I uploaded footage of this speech on the Thinking Pinoy Facebook page.)

Moreover, in its latest assembly in June, 2019, the International League of People’s Struggle (ILPS) own website lists both Gabriela, and Bayan as members. Jose Maria Sison is ILPS chairman emeritus.

Would Gabriela and Bayan associate themselves to CPP-NPA-NDF founder Sison for nothing?

Gabriela and Bayan may label themselves any way they want but as they say, “if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.”

If Gabriela and Bayan take issue with AFP’s view that they support the communist insurgency, then they should have, at the least, dissociated themselves from the communist insurgency’s founder.

But they didn’t, so now what?

Nasino and Bayan

Given Bayan’s history, Nasino must be aware that (1) her presence at a Bayan office; (2) her active and passionate membership in Bayan; and (3) Bayan’s clear links to NPA head Jose Maria Sison, exposes her to the risk of getting into trouble, to say the least.

Despite her pregnancy, Nasino decided against erring on the side of caution and still proceeded with her Bayan-related affairs. True enough, she was caught in possession of arms and an explosive inside a Bayan office.

I sympathize with the death of her child, but this unfortunate development does not in any way diminish the interests of Philippine society as a whole. Given the legitimate charges against her, it is well within the state’s right to exercise police power, which the Supreme Court in Gerochi v. DoE defines as “the power of the state to promote public welfare by restraining and regulating the use of liberty.”

Law enforcement restricted Nasino’s movements in light of the charges against her that the courts find credible. The restriction has nothing to do with the death of her child or with her activism. The restrictions were put in place because she the courts deem her to be a threat to public safety.

I don’t know about you but I’d rather be safe than sorry.

If Nasino got caught for jaywalking then yes, the police presence at her child’s funeral was overkill. But no, she was arrested for having firearms and a grenade.

That’s a whole world of a difference.

Soberano, Gray, and Gabriela

Soberano’s and Gray’s support of women’s rights should be encouraged. However, both celebrities should be mindful of the unintended consequences of their decisions.

Despite suspicions that government’s anti-communist task force (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson may not be the sharpest tool in the shed, AFP’s warning is precisely what it is: Just a warning.

Celebrities raise the profile of organizations they associate with. Raise awareness about women’s rights is well and good but both may not have realized that their association with Gabriela may result in the promotion of Gabriela’s and Sison’s shared interests.

Would Soberano’s and Gray’s pro-women advocacy fall apart if they avoided Gabriela? I do not think so.

Even I commend Gabriela’s crusade for women’s rights, but it does not in any way diminish suspicion arising from its association with Sison.

And we all know what Sison ultimately desires, right?

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