Senate nat’l defense committee gives Colmenares time to air side on ‘red-tagging’ issue

Published November 3, 2020, 8:16 PM

by Mario Casayuran

The Senate national defense committee will give time for former Representative Neri Colmenares to give his side on the issue of “red-tagging” of entertainment celebrities and militant organizations.

Neri Colmenares

Colmenares wanted to appear in the next public hearing without the presence of those in the military sector, according to Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, committee chairman.

He was absent in today’s public hearing that lasted for more than five hours.

Lacson said progressive militant groups – Bayan Muna, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, Kabataan, Gabriela –did not confirm their attendance for still unknown reason.

When asked by Lacson, former General Hermogenes Esperon, national security adviser and Director-General of the National Security Council (NSC), said he would attend the next hearing as he is now a civilian.

Colmenares had crossed swords with Lt. General Antonio Parlade Jr., spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), who was being blamed for “red-tagging’’ entertainment celebrity Liza Soberano, former Miss 2018 Universe Catriona Gray and movie actress Angel Locsin.

Locsin is a niece of Neri Colmenares.

Lacson said his committee also sent an open invitation last week to the representatives of the Makabayang Koalisyon ng Mamamayan (Makabayan) bloc of the House of Representatives to attend the public hearing.

The letter, according to Lacson, was coursed through the Speaker of the House, considering that his Senate committee could not issue the said invitation directly to individual party-list representatives in view of the inter-parliamentary courtesy existing between the two chambers.