Some cops still red-tagging on social media despite PNP chief’s warning – Zarate
MANILA, Philippines – Some police officers were apparently ignoring the warning of Gen. Archie Gamboa, the chief of the Philippine National Police, as they continued to red-tag activities in their posts on Facebook, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said in a statement issued on Wednesday.
“Gen. Gamboa was already quoted warning police officers that they may be charged if they violate the organization’s social media protocols, but, it seems his warning only fell on deaf ears or deliberately ignored by his subordinates,” Zarate said.
“For instance, in the Caraga regional police office, their red-tagging posts and harassment of activists continue, as can be seen from their recent Facebook posts,” he added.
Rep. Carlos Zarate’s question on Wednesday came after Gamboa warned that police officers who violate PNP’s social media protocols may be charged, in the wake of the defacement of a photo of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) secretary-general, Renato Reyes.
Zarate asked the police chief to hold officers accountable for posting content linking activists including himself, Reyes, Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares, and others to the communist armed movement.
Bayan Muna showed several photos to INQUIRER.net — screenshots of posts from police offices within the Caraga Police Regional Office 13 (PRO-13) — where faces of Zarate and other members of the Makabayan bloc were used as an example of activists supposedly lured into terrorism.
Other photos centered on the Makabayan bloc’s stand against the controversial Anti-Terrorism Bill. While some of the posts were dated even before Reyes took a stand against the defacement, and before Gamboa reiterated the social media protocols, some of the posts were new.
One particular post from supposedly the Butuan City Police Station showed Zarate and other Makabayan bloc lawmakers with horns — just like Reyes — was made on Wednesday, two days after Gamboa’s reminder.
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Zarate said that the erring officers, whom he said disobeyed Gamboa’s orders, should be suspended or even demoted.
“Aside from violating social media protocols, this actions of PNP Caraga is clear disobedience of the PNP Chief’s warning that warrants, at the very least, suspension, even demotion, from office of Brig. Gen. Joselito Esquivel,” he noted.
INQUIRER.net asked Esquivel, chief of PRO-13, to air his side on the issue, but he has yet to reply as of posting time.
Zarate also asked whether public funds are being spent for such posts. He also reasoned out that such red-tagging incidents are the reason why Makabayan bloc members were wary of the Anti-Terror Bill, insisting that they were not part of such armed movements.
“These kind of officers prove our point that the terror bill being pushed by the Duterte administration would definitely be abused. Ngayon pa nga lang na wala pa ang batas na yan ay todo na ang harassment at red-tagging, paano pa kaya kapag nailusot na nila ang new terror bill?” he asked.
[Even without that law, the harassment and red-tagging are going on in full blast, what more if the new terror bill pushes through.]
“Worse, it appears that taxpayers’ money is even being used to monitor and malign Filipino taxpayers themselves,” he added.
Earlier, the Commission on Human Rights reminded PRO-13 that social media, more so for people in the government, must only be used to share accurate information, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.
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