NTF-Elcac: Comparing ATC reso to red-tagging waters down gravity of terrorism
MANILA, Philippines — The National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) on Monday dismissed comparisons between “red-tagging” and the Anti-Terrorists Council’s (ATC) designation of 29 individuals as “terrorists,” saying that it “waters down” the gravity of terrorism.
“When you say it’s red-tag, winater-down niya eh, ‘yung (it waters down the) gravity of the offense,” newly-appointed spokesperson of the NTF-Elcac and director of the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples Cordillera, Marlon Bosantog, said in a press briefing on Monday.
“We’re talking about terrorism in itself, its boundaries transcends ideologies,” he added.
This came after the ATC identified 19 alleged leaders of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA), along with another 10 alleged members of the Abu Sayyaf Group as “terrorists,” without providing any supporting proof on May 13.
Bosantog explained that designation is different to “red-tagging” because it is “very specific.”
“It does not [just] pertain to ideological perception or being a part of an ideological society, but it’s more of the actions,” said Bosantog.
Bosantog further explained that the designation was done under the premise of due process given that the ATC was passed by Congress, and that the designees have remedies available to them.
“Kahit nga yung decision ng ATC [even the decision of ATC], can actually be questioned before the Supreme Court,” Bosantag said.
“Because the Supreme Court has overarching power when it comes to actions by the executive department. So they can actually review the actions of the ATC,” he added.
Meanwhile, in the same press briefing, NTF-Elcac spokesperson for social media affairs Lorraine Marie Badoy reiterated that there is no such thing as “red-tagging” under the Philippine law.
“In fact red-tagging is an invention of the CPP-NPA-NDF [Communist Part of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front] that they use to silence those who speak the truth about them,” she said.
Badoy’s claim, however, has already been debunked by Rappler’s fact-checking team on January 12, 2021.
According to the online news portal, the term has already been used in journals and newspapers even before the CPP was founded in 1968.
The CPP itself has also already slammed the designation, saying that the resolutions are clear signs that the the Anti-Terrorism Law is being used as an “oppressive weapon used by tyrants to perpetuate their rule.”