De Lima seeks Senate probe into red-tagging of UP alumni

Published February 3, 2021, 5:42 PM

by Hannah Torregoza 

Detained Senator Leila de Lima has called on the Senate to investigate the recent red-tagging of University of the Philippines (UP) alumni by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) following the unilateral abrogation of the UP-Department of National Defense (DND) agreement.

Senator Leila de Lima (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

De Lima, in filing Senate Resolution No 628, said it was imperative for Congress to look into instances of red-tagging against members of the UP community and other law-abiding citizens against the government’s attempts to justify the Duterte administration’s campaign against militant groups.

The senator lamented how the AFP continues to make false or misleading statements and sweeping generalizations against respectable citizens to support their pre-formed conclusions against perceived enemies of the state.

“These instances of red-tagging and spreading of misinformation are no longer uncommon as it forms part of the Duterte administration’s strategy to end the decades-old communist insurgency in the Philippines,” De Lima noted in the explanatory note of her resolution.

“In recent months, these red-tagging campaigns have gone on to target peasant leaders, indigenous peoples, activists and human rights defenders, among others,” she pointed out.

Following the release of error-riddled list of alleged NPA members by the AFP Information Exchange on Facebook last Jan. 22, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana relieved MGen. Alex Luna from his post as Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, J2, effective last Jan. 28.

The post, which has already been taken down, featured at least eight individuals who are either journalists, former government officials, lawyers, teachers or entertainment personalities and were not proven to be associated with any communist group.

The former justice secretary said it is important to introduce safeguards that would protect, promote and guarantee the enjoyment of academic freedom in higher institutions of learning as enshrined in the Constitution.

“This exercise by the AFP is tantamount to grasping at straws and distracts the public from other more pressing issues, such as the government’s plan to resuscitate our economy and the national COVID-19 vaccination program,” she said.

 
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