Bill criminalizing red-tagging 'worrisome,' 'dangerous' to PH — NTF-ELCAC spox

Bill criminalizing red-tagging 'worrisome,' 'dangerous' to PH — NTF-ELCAC spox

MANILA, Philippines — The bill in the Senate that seeks to criminalize red-tagging activities is “worrisome” and “very dangerous” to the country as it can be used as a “weapon” to “silence” those who want to expose the legal fronts of the communist rebels, an official of the government’s anti-insurgency task force said Wednesday.

National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Lorraine Badoy said this after minority senators called for the passage of Senate Bill 2121 or the proposed “Act Defining and Penalizing Red-Tagging” after condemning the alleged red-tagging of Senate workers’ union by Director-General Alex Monteagudo of the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA).

“It’s really worrisome that our senators, senators themselves are using a word (red-tagging) that our Supreme Court, the highest court of the land, has already said doesn’t exist. There is no such thing,” she said in a press conference.

“This is a weapon used by the CPP-NPA-NDF (Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front) to silence those who blow the cover of their legal fronts,” she added.

Badoy and other NTF-ELCAC officials, particularly spokesman Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., have relentlessly tagged several organizations, lawmakers, and even celebrities as affiliates of communist rebels.

Badoy, who is also an undersecretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, stood by the claim of Monteagudo tagging the Sandigan ng mga Empleyadong Nagkakaisa sa Adhikain ng Demokratikong Organisasyon (SENADO), as a front for communist rebels.

Senado is an affiliate of red-tagged government workers’ union Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (Courage).

Monteagudo, in sharing a graphic on Facebook on Monday, alleged that SENADO “serves as the eyes and ears of the CPP-NPA-NDF to hijack government plans and programs.”

The Senate union has slammed Monteagudo’s allegations as “baseless and malicious” and should be retracted.

“We demand NICA Director General Monteagudo to take down his post and apologize to all officials and employees of the Senate for his disrespect and profanity directed to the institution that is the stalwart of democracy and human rights,” it said.

Senate President Vicente Sotto III said the employees suspected of being “tentacles” of CPP-NPA-NDF.