Members of the Senate minority bloc on Wednesday, April 7, condemned the red-tagging of the union of Senate employees, saying such action is also an attack against the Senate as an institution.
As far as Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Risa Hontiveros, Leila de Lima and Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan are concerned, the Sandigan ng mga Empleyadong Nagkakaisa sa Adhikain ng Demokratikong Organisasyon or SENADO is a legitimate union of employees in the Senate.
Through SENADO, they said three Collective Negotiations Agreement (CNA) had been negotiated on behalf of the Senate employees with previous presidents, including Drilon, who led the chamber for over eight years.
The minority bloc senators said accusing the Senate of the Philippines as being “manned” by the Communist Party of the Philippines/New Peoples’ Army and the National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF) through the SENADO union is “a dangerous allegation.”
“We strongly condemn the red-tagging of the union of Senate employees and we vehemently denounce government officials who continue to label, brand, vilify and harass individuals and organizations such as SENADO as state enemies and subversives,” the Senate bloc said in their joint statement.
“We have been in the Senate long enough and we can attest that the SENADO union never acted as the ‘eyes and ears’ of the CPP-NPA-NDF in the Senate to hijack plans and programs of the government. These are dangerous allegations to make,” they added.
Besides, they said the SENADO union upholds the interest and welfare of Senate employees, not of any other group.
“National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) director general Alex Paul Monteagudo and Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy’s malicious attacks on our employees must not be taken lightly,” they also said.
At the same time, the minority bloc pushed for the immediate passage into law of Senate Bill No. 2121 or the proposed law defining and penalizing red-tagging.
They said the lack of general condemnation and a law that penalizes red-tagging as a crime is encouraging government officials to normalize red-tagging activities.
“Like COVID-19, we must prevent red-tagging from further spreading. Thus, we find it unfortunate and utterly deplorable that there are officials who resort to red-tagging,” they said.
“We believe passage of this bill will serve as a deterrent against red-tagging. We should punish irresponsible officials who act as enablers of red-tagging,” the minority bloc reiterated.