No law on ‘red-tagging’, making it a crime is impossible
January 31, 2024
National Security Council (NSC) Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya has reiterated that the so-called “red-tagging” is not a crime contrary to political and ideological discourses by communist terrorist groups (CTGs) just to vilify the government, most especially the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC).
Speaking during Wednesday’s virtual press conference dubbed “FAQcheck: Nothing but the truth” hosted by the NTF-ELCAC media bureau, the Integrated Communications Operations Center (ICOC), Malaya tackled the issue to set the record straight that red-tagging is not a government policy and there is no chance of it becoming law for offenders to be prosecuted.
“The NTF-ELCAC wishes to convey (this) to the United Nations Special Rapporteur (Irene Khan) who is currently visiting the country that there is no such government policy as red-tagging under the Marcos administration. In fact, the Marcos administration has not issued any law, rule, executive order or policy instrument that implements red-tagging or even uses the word red-tagging,” the official said.
Commenting on the issue, ICOC Director-designate and NTF-ELCAC spokesperson Joel Sy Egco said the red-tagging is not only the trademark but also a “defense mechanism” used by the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army -National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF).
Malaya said Khan’s visit is an opportunity for her, in particular, and the UN body she represents, in general, to get the facts straight from all sides about the red-tagging issue.
Khan’s 10-day itinerary includes meetings with government officials from the NTF-ELCAC, the Department of Justice (DOJ), lawmakers, Local Government Units (LGUs), activist groups, and even militant personalities aligned to CTGs, among others.
For the nth time, Malaya reminded the enemies and critics of the state that the word red-tagging has no factual basis and no legal and binding nor is it considered a crime under Philippine laws.
Although several cases related to red-tagging were filed against certain government officials, these were all dismissed by the courts for lack of probable cause.
“In the case of Zarate vs. Aquino, the Supreme Court of the Philippines dismissed several petitions for writ of amparo and habeas data and ruled that the mere labeling of a group as a communist front organization is not, and I repeat, not an actual threat to one’s right to life, liberty or security,” Malaya explained.
More so, he further explained, that the SC ruled that “the mere filing of legal suits or cases against persons suspected of being a member of a communist front organization is also not an actual threat to one’s right to life, liberty, and security.”
“Sa madaling salita, and ating mga hukuman na at no less than ‘yung ating kataas-taasang hukuman ang nagsabi na ‘yung red-tagging ay hindi krimen…And is therefore part of the democratic process,” Malaya said.
At this juncture, Malaya has turned the tables to the CPP-NPA-NDF over the controversy they created.
“Now, who’s responsible for this? Ang responsable po dito ay CPP front organizations. What they called red-tagging is actually truth-telling,” he said.
He said the CPP founding chairman, the late Joma Sison, was the original red-tagger when he identified font organizations like Bayan, Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas (KMP), Gabriela, League of Filipino Students (LFS), Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT), among others, as forces fighting for National Democratic Revolution with the CPP-NPA-NDF.
“The CTGs have been pushing to make this red-tagging a crime in order for them to continue to repress any dissent or opposition to their plot to violently overthrow our democratic way of life and change the democratic system with the communist system through a national democratic revolution or armed struggle,” Malaya said.
He said that these glaring facts have been guiding every Filipino who has the duty to expose who the CPP-NPA-NDF members are and who are their front organizations to protect the rights of the general public, the Filipino children and their families, the Indigenous Peoples, and their communities from the lies, deception, and exploitation of the CTGs.
Malaya said the government is confident that UN Rapporteur Khan would be able to check and verify for herself on the ground the vibrant democratic processes of freedom of expression and opinion in our country.
NTF-ELCAC MEDIA BUREAU
Ref: Joel M. Sy Egco