Calida red-tags Colmenares, others in front of SC
Solicitor General Jose Calida on Tuesday Red-tagged former Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares and other progressive groups right in front of the Supreme Court and implied that petitioners contesting the antiterror law were “complicit” for their supposed failure to condemn the actions of suspected terrorists.
At the resumption of oral arguments on petitions opposing the terror law, the government’s primary counsel said campaign materials for Colmenares, women’s group Gabriela and Bayan Muna were found during a police raid last month on a supposed “armory” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) in Santa Rosa City, Laguna province.
The “armory” Calida was referring to was an old house that a supposed trade union leader had previously rented out. The militant labor group Kilusang Mayo Uno had claimed that the guns and explosives seized during the police operation were “planted.”
“It is no secret that the CPP-NPA (New People’s Army) always resort to acts of terror in its bid to seize control of the government through armed struggle,” Calida told the magistrates during the online court proceedings.
In response, Colmenares, one of the petitioners seeking to invalidate Republic Act No. 11479, or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, called Calida’s attempt to link him to the communist insurgents “really uncalled for.”
“Even if it is true that campaign paraphernalia with my name and other candidates [were] found [during the raid], that does not constitute a crime,” said Colmenares, also one of the lawyers representing the 37 groups of petitioners.
“I do not see the reason why my name … [should be] mentioned. Red-tagging in ordinary times may be considered a libelous statement. But now, Red-tagging is a deadly offense. It is a threat to life, liberty and security,” he said.
“I really feel that this mentioning of names is really uncalled for when [Calida] wants to establish the evilness of terrorism because we have no relations at all to terrorism,” Colmenares added.
—WITH A REPORT FROM DONA Z. PAZZIBUGAN INQ
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