Senate workers’ union exploring legal actions after being linked to Reds
MANILA, Philippines — The Senate workers’ union is exploring possible legal courses of action against the government’s intelligence agency chief who accused them of having connections with the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).
“Pinaguusapan na po ng aming mga opisyales yung course of action na pwedeng gawin dun sa malicious labelling or yung pagre-Red-tag sa amin. Medyo malawak ‘yung avenues. Hindi lang sa usapin ng korte. Pwedeng i-explore ‘yung pagdulog sa United Nations [Human Rights Council],” Rosel Eugenio, president of the Sandigan ng mga Empleyadong Nagkakaisa sa Adhikain ng Demokratikong Organisasyon (Senado), said in an online press conference Friday.
(Our officials are looking for a course of action that we can initiate against this malicious labeling and Red-tagging of our organization. There are a lot of avenues for redress, not only through the courts. We can raise our concerns before the United Nations Human Rights Council.)
“Wala kaming choice kundi harapin ito…Kaya yung mga alternative courses of actions na ito, mga legal courses of actions, ay kinokonsiderang malaki ng Senado,” she added.
(We have no choice but to face this. That’s why these alternative courses of actions, as well as legal courses of actions, are really being considered by Senado.)
National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Director-General Alex Monteagudo posted on Facebook claiming that Senado — an affiliate of Red-tagged government workers’ union Courage — has been “the eyes and the ears” in the Senate of the CPP, the NPA, and the National Democratic Front.
But Eugenio said NICA has yet to present concrete proof to back up the accusation against the union.
“Nauuna yung label. Nauuna ang branding, nauuna yung pagta-tagging sayo…Meron naman proseso. May mga proseso ito pero hindi nga ganon, hindi gano’n ang kanilang proseso. Ang proseso ay mauna na ikaw ay i-Red-tag,” she added.
(The label comes first, the branding, the tagging. There’s a process to this but that’s not what happened. Their process was to Red-tag us first.)
Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III, who attended the press conference and was asked regarding possible legal actions the union can consider, said Senado can file administrative cases like abuse of authority since Red-tagging is not currently considered a crime under the country’s laws.
Pimentel, a former Senate president, and a lawyer, underscored the timeliness of opening up discussions on Senate Bill No. 2121 seeking to criminalize Red-tagging, which was filed by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon. The measure earned support from the workers’ union.
“Naninindigan kami na dapat ipasa ang SB 2121…dahil malaki ng pinsala ang dulot nito sa hanay ng mga kawani at iba pang sektor,” Eugenio said.
(We maintain that SB 2021 should be passed because Red-tagging has a huge impact on our sector and other sectors.)
The senator also called on NICA to present evidence, saying he could not understand why Senado is being accused of being the “eyes and ears” of the CPP when Senate documents are already accessible to the public.
“Ilabas nila yung ebidensiya nila hindi lang yung mere label. At saka diyan sa Senado, legislative work diyan. Halos lahat ng dokumento diyan public documents. Mase-search nang lahat ‘yan. Hindi na kailangan ng eyes and ears diyan kasi public documents ‘yan,” Pimentel said.
(They should show evidence not just a mere label. Also, there in the Senate, it’s legislative work. Almost all of the documents there are public documents. You can search it online. There’s no need to embed eyes and ears there because documents are public.)
“Hindi ko naintindihan kung anong use nila, kung anong use ng mga communist agents diyan to get information from an institution na public documents lahat,” he added.
(I don’t understand what’s the use of communist agents tasked to get information from an institution where documents are public.)
Senado had already slammed as “baseless and malicious” allegations made by Monteagudo.
The minority bloc in the Senate had also condemned the Red-tagging of the union, saying such claims are “dangerous.”
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