Ibon sues Parlade, Badoy, Esperon for red-tagging activists
MANILA, Philippines — Local think-tank Ibon Foundation has sued top officials of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) for its red-tagging activities.
In its 29-page complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman on Monday, Ibon Foundation accused Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Deputy Chief of Staff for civilian operations Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, and National Security Adviser Germogenes Esperon Jr. for violating Section 19 of Republic Act No. 6770 or The Ombudsman Act of 1989 as they committed “unreasonable, unfair, oppressive or discriminatory” acts.
According to Ibon, Parlade, Esperon, and Badoy have repeatedly labeled the organization as a legal front of communist rebels in separate occasions. The three are ex-officio members of NTF-ELCAC.
Named petitioners in the complaint are Ibon, Ibon Executive Director Jose Africa, and Ibon Board of Trustees chairperson Bishop Solito Toquero.
“Respondents’ repeated slanders against IBON bear the hallmarks of oppression. Not only were their acts devoid of any basis in truth, they were also devoid of any basis in any colorable authority,” the Ibon petition stated.
“They used their positions of authority and influence over public sentiment to discredit IBON as ‘communist-terrorists’ without even any semblance of due process,” it also said.
Hopes of a lasting peace were high when President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016, with some of the known leftist leaders given positions in his administration. However, things turned awry after both camps accused each other of violating the ceasefire agreement.
Subsequently, the government launched a localized anti-insurgency platform thereby also implicating some non-government organizations for allegedly helping the communist cause.
Esperon, Parlade, and Badoy have openly linked members of left-wing groups and party-list organizations to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA), and its political arm the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP).
Parlade and Badoy appeared in a press briefing in March 2019 at Malacañang, saying they have asked the European Union to cease funding various organizations – including Ibon – that have helped the cause of communist rebels.
The military official also alleged that Ibon was responsible for crafting textbooks that were instrumental in radicalizing students in alternative learning institutions, especially those catering to Lumad youths. The groups, however, denied the accusations saying that Lumad students are not leaning towards violence because they resent it.
INQUIRER.net tried reaching out to Parlade for his comment but he has yet to reply as of this writing.
Badoy, on the other hand, recently earned criticism for persistently linking Ibon to CPP in a television news show even if the prevailing topic at the time topic was about the figures presented to justify Duterte’s legacy.
Ibon Foundation emphasized that they are registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission. It also asserted that the goals of the NTF-ELCAC, which was created by Duterte’s Executive Order No. 70, is not consistent with the constitutional provisions on democracy and free speech.
“In sum, the draconian impulses of Respondents are highly incompatible with the democratic aspirations of the Constitution – aspirations that are likewise expected from public officers, who are tasked not to enforce their individual prejudices, but to give life to the letter as well as intent of the basic law of the land,” Ibon said in its complaint.
“Respondents’ transgressions, thus, do not only demonstrate their utter failure to observe the prescribed norms and ethical standards for public officials, they are also administratively punishable,” it added.
Edited by KGA
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