‘In the meantime’: Baguio court stops cops from Red-tagging youth groups
MANILA, Philippines — The Baguio City Regional Trial Court has – “in the meantime” – stopped the Cordillera police from Red-tagging members of youth activist organizations.
In an order dated March 25, 2021, Baguio City Regional Trial Court Branch 3 Judge Emmanuel Cacho Rasing said the Police Regional Office Cordillera (PRO-COR), including all Philippine National Police units, groups, stations, officers under it, shall “make no social media or tarpaulin postings, or public postings by any other means branding/tagging herein petitioners and the organizations they belong to as stated communists-terrorist, New People’s Army/Communist Party of the Philippines front organization, and other similar content.”
“In the meantime, and also as agreed at the hearing on March 24, 2021, without necessarily admitting responsibility for those already posted or publicized, respondent Police Regional Office Cordillera, including all PNP units, groups, stations, officers, and offices under it shall henceforth make no social media or tarpaulin postings, or public postings by any other means, branding/tagging herein petitioners and the organizations they belong to as stated in the petition, as communists-terrorists,” the court order also stated.
The court likewise issued a writ of amparo ordering the PRO-COR through its director, Police Brig. Gen. R’win S. Pagkalinawan, to file “a verified written return” or an explanation about the police’s Red-tagging of youth activist groups together with supporting affidavits.
A Writ of Amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty, and security has been violated or under threat while the writ of habeas data is a remedy available to any person whose right to privacy in life, liberty or security has been violated or under threat by the unlawful gathering of information about the person, his or her family, and home.
The case stemmed from the petition filed by Christian Dave “Happy” Ruz of Kabataan Party List Baguio; Deanna Louisse Montenegro of the National Union of Students of the Philippines-Cordillera (NUSP-Cordillera); Leandro Enrico Ponce, chair of the University of the Philippines Baguio University Student Council; and Keidy Transfiguracion of the Cordilleran Youth Center.
Montenegro said they have been the subject of several online posts accusing them of “recruiting communists” in the city.
“It is outrageous to think that as we struggle to sustain lives and livelihoods in this pandemic, and thousands of students struggle through the hurdles of distance learning. The Anti-Terrorism Law and NTF-ELCAC are being enforced and strengthened to silence the youth’s genuine concerns, while thousands sink deeper into poverty and education is a growing privilege. It is both a pathetic move and a waste of time,” Montenegro said.
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