Zarate backs Lacson in seeking to criminalize red-tagging
MANILA, Philippines — Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate backed Senator Panfilo Lacson who earlier said he is “seriously considering” proposals to make red-tagging a crime in the country.
“I agree with Sen. Lacson in criminalizing red-tagging, in particular for government officials and employees who use government funds and resources to vilify and attack progressives, artists, critics of the administration, the political opposition and even ordinary people just for espousing their beliefs,” Zarate said in a statement.
Zarate said government funds should be used to improve the lives of the people and “not to attack them with premeditated disinformation schemes, malicious innuendos, hearsays and fake news.”
In particular, Zarate hit the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) which has been making headlines amid the recent surge in red-tagging cases.
“That is why we moved to defund the NTF-ELCAC and re-align the use of its nearly P20 billion budget to rebuild the lives devastated by the calamities and pandemic,” Zarate said.
“The NTF-ELCAC is just spewing lies using every platform available to them, without any credible, competent and admissible evidence that will stand in court,” he added.
Lacson on Wednesday said he is “seriously considering” proposals to make red-tagging a crime after he led a Senate inquiry into the alleged propensity of military officers to tag critics as communists.
Lacson has led a series of hearings which looked into the alleged red-tagging by military officials against organizations, particularly lawmakers belonging to the Makabayan congressional bloc, which Zarate is a part of.
“I am seriously considering the recommendation to criminalize red-tagging as long as such legislation will not infringe on the bill of rights involving freedom of speech and expression,” Lacson, chair of the Senate defense panel, said in a message to reporters.
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