Some Makabayan solons ‘disappointed’ with ‘terror-tagging spree‘ at Senate | Inquirer News

Some Makabayan solons ‘disappointed’ with ‘terror-tagging spree‘ at Senate

/ 07:13 AM November 04, 2020

MANILA, Philippines — Some members of the Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives were disappointed with the Senate hearing on the recent red-tagging of some celebrities and lawmakers.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate called the Senate hearing became a “platform for more red-tagging” and looked like a “forum” of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) and the Anti-Terror Council.

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“It appears now that those responsible and enablers of this witch hunt do not want to end red-tagging and terrorist-tagging but essentially just to find ways on how the NTF-ELCAC and other government offices can get away with it without presenting any type of credible evidence,” Zarate said in a statement.

“At the expense of tax-payers money in these times of calamities aggravated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Senate was clearly again used as a venue spreading lies and disinformation by compromised witnesses and self-proclaimed paid military assets whose statements obviously would not hold in court. Such a waste of time and tax-payers money,” he added.

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Zarate added that his party list would rather attend to “more important matters like relief missions and consultations with our constituencies than to participate in such a calumnious show.”

Meanwhile, ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro called the hearing a “terror-tagging spree for the NTF-ELCAC.”

“It is to no surprise that what came out of the Senate Committee hearing investigating the issue of red-tagging certain celebrities, personalities, institutions, and organizations were more terror-tagging and baseless accusations against me and fellow Makabayan lawmakers,” Castro said in a separate statement.

“They are using this Senate hearing to justify the general’s pork under the NTF-ELCAC and push back from the backlash they got from red-tagging celebrities, personalities, institutions and organizations,” she added.

Castro said the military officers present in the hearing only repeated their “script” even if the Makabayan lawmakers had already belied their claims.

“This administration continues to terror-tag and criminalize anyone who choose to defend their rights and calls for legitimate demands for justice, basic social services as terrorists,” Castro said.

“The Duterte administration should realize that as they continue to red-tag anyone and everyone who exercises their basic democratic freedoms, they are only further exposing themselves as the true terrorists of this country using the people’s money to curtail the people’s rights,” she added.

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Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Elago, meanwhile, said she was “disappointed and enraged” by the events in the hearing, echoing her colleagues that the hearing was only used “as a platform of high-ranking military men and the NTF-ELCAC to spread false information and lies.”

“The hearing to supposedly address red-tagging was once again used to red-tag government critics and the Makabayan bloc. National Security Adviser Esperon even denied the red-tagging and accused the victims of red-tagging as the ones who actually red-tag themselves,” Elago said.

“It is nothing but insensitive and a grave disservice to the Filipinos that two days after the country was badly hit by Rolly, the NTF-ELCAC and the military officials wasted people’s time and money for a hearing to accuse legitimate youth and peoples’ organizations as legal fronts of communist groups,” she added.

The Makabayan bloc opted not to attend the hearing and only sent a representative,  lawyer Maneeka Asistol Sarza. Despite their absence, the lawmakers expressed hope that the Senate hearing on the alleged red-tagging of military officials would not be used to defame members of progressive organizations.

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TAGS: Makabayan bloc, red-tagging, Senate hearing, terror-tagging
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