Senate probe abets red-tagging vs. activists, Makabayan bloc claims

Published November 26, 2020, 2:29 PM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza 

Makabayan lawmakers are disappointed that the Senate probe on the supposed red-tagging operations of government security officials appears to have  further abetted red-tagging against activists.

(MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

“Ako ang impression ko sa Senate hearing na ito pagpapalala pa ng red-tagging sa mga katulad namin na aktibista. Hindi kino-consider dito ang mga naging epekto ng red-tagging. ‘Yung mga activities at gawain ay nire-redtag pa,” ACT Teachers partylist Rep. France Castro told the reporters during a press conference. 

(My impression on the Senate hearing is that it has further worsened the red-tagging of the activists like us. The effect of the red-tagging has not been considered. Our activities have been red-tagged.)

Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said they attended the Senate hearing because they thought that Senate would help grant justice to those who were killed or those who were harassed after experiencing red-tagging  from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), and other agencies of the government. 

“Dapat magpaliwanag ang mga ahente ng gubyerno sa kanilang papel sa nagaganap na malawakang red-tagging at terrorist-tagging na nagreresulta sa pagsampa ng mga gawa-gawang kaso, pagpapakulong, hanggang sa pagpaslang ng mga aktibista at kritiko ng gubyerno,” he said, reading the statement of the Makabayan bloc on the accusations hurled by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. against them that they were acting as acting as legal fronts of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

“Sa kasamaang palad, tila higit na interesado ang komite na gamitin ang hearing bilang karagdagang plataporma para sa red-tagging,” Zarate laments. 

(Unfortunately, the {Senate]  committee is more interested in using the hearing as  additional platform for red-tagging.) 

Esperon, vice chairman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), said the Makabayan bloc  “cannot deny their complicity in the armed struggle” and “responsibility for the recruitment of our youth by the NPA.”

“Aming pinabulaanan ang bawat isa sa mga paratang ng NTF-ELCAC. Hindi communist-terrorist front organizations ang aming mga partylist. Hindi kami kasapi ng CPP, at lalong hindi mga high-ranking officials nito,” Zarate said. 

(We belied all the allegations of the NTF-ELCAC. Our partylists are  not  communist-terrorist front organizations. We are not members of the CPP, and more so, not its high-ranking officials.)

“Hindi gawain ng aming organisasyon ang magrekluta ng CPP-NPA. Hindi kami nagbibigay ng anumang materyal o pinansyal na suporta sa kanila,” he added. 

(Our organization is not recruiting CPP-NPA. We are not giving material or financial support to them.)

He noted that the government security officials’ witnesses have failed to substantiate their allegations against them.

Esperon’s “enemies of state” tag also did not sit well with the Makabayan bloc. He earlier said that security sector considers those who have joined the NPA as enemies of the state.

‘Kinukundena natin ang statement ni Esperon about enemies of the state. Hindi Filipino ang kalaban, dito ang mga enemies of state na tinuturing nyo ay mga mamamayan na nagpapahagyag ng kailang saloobin, nagpapahayag ng kanilang gustong mangyari para sa pagbabago ng ating lipunan, hindi enemies of the state,” Castro said. 

(We condemn the statement of Esperon about the enemies of the state. Filipinos are not the enemies of state, what you are considering enemies of state are those people who are expressing their sentiment, their aspiration for a better, changed society, they should not be called as enemies of the state.)  

 
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