NUPL files complaint vs 3 NTF-ELCAC execs for red-tagging
MANILA, Philippines — The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) has accused three government officials who are part of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) of grave misconduct and grave abuse of authority and other violations for red-tagging the lawyers’ group.
In a complaint filed before the Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday, NUPL said the officials were being impleaded for the practice of tagging progressive organizations and their members as “communist terrorists” or “fronts” of the CPP-NPA, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines, which, NUPL said, “in itself constitutes serious threats to their lives, liberty and security.”
Named respondents were National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, who is the vice-chairperson of the NTF-ELCAC; Southern Luzon Command chief Lieutenant General Antonio Parlade Jr, the spokesperson of the task force; and Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy.
In its complaint, the NUPL said the respondents must be held administratively liable for grave misconduct as they acted in a “dishonest, malicious, and oppressive manner.”
“It cannot be disputed that the respondents acted deliberately and with [a] clear intent to persecute and publicly vilify NUPL and its members. In fact, the respondents’ actions showcase malice,” the group said.
NUPL said that the respondents have also abused the offices they hold and have taken advantage of the positions “by persecuting and espousing lies and unfounded accusations and false attributions” against the lawyers’ group and its members.
“In their avowed and consuming goal of implementing a counter-insurgency program, respondents have waged a smear campaign and engaged in acts of harassment and persecution against activists, advocacy groups, and members of civil society exercising their constitutional rights, the NUPL included,” it added.
The group added that the respondents also acted in breach of libel laws and violated ethical standards set by Republic Act No. 6713.
“Respondents are, in fact, and in law, guilty of grave misconduct, oppression, and conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the public service,” the NUPL said.
The actions of the respondents, NUPL said, violate the group’s rights to life, liberty and security, even the exercise of their profession.
The NUPL has asked the Ombudsman to investigate the respondents for their said violations and suspend them pending the probe.
It likewise asked the Ombudsman to dismiss the respondents from service after proper proceedings. [ac]
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