CHR lauds DOJ chief’s remarks vs red-tagging | Inquirer News
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CHR lauds DOJ chief’s remarks vs red-tagging

/ 05:46 AM June 19, 2022
CHR executive director Jacqueline de Guia. STORY: CHR lauds DOJ chief’s remarks vs red-tagging

Commission on Human Rights executive director Jacqueline de Guia. (Image from CHR.)

MANILA, Philippines — Labeling certain groups and individuals of being allied or sympathetic to communist rebels, or red-tagging, by public officials themselves runs against their responsibilities to promote the universal and constitutional rights of Filipinos, the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said on Saturday.

Jacqueline de Guia, executive director of the CHR, welcomed the opposition of outgoing Department of Justice (DOJ) Secretary Menardo Guevarra to the red-tagging by certain officials, especially those from the government’s anti-communist task force.

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“CHR has constantly stressed the grave harm brought about by Red-tagging on the lives and liberties of civilians, human rights advocates, and civil society organizations among others who are merely exercising their right to free expression,” De Guia said in a statement.

Red-tagging has become a practice, mostly by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), in “identifying” certain groups and persons of being a part of the New People’s Army or sympathizing with them.

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Many of the red-tagged individuals had either been persecuted, prosecuted, and attacked or killed by government security forces or state-sponsored groups.

Lorraine Badoy, spokesperson for the NTF-Elcac, also an undersecretary of the Presidential Communications Operations Office, had been engaged in this practice, which has resulted in a pile of complaints against her at the Office of the Ombudsman by those whom she had Red-tagged.

“Resorting to Red-tagging, especially if coming from public servants, contradicts the obligation of duty bearers to protect and promote the universal and constitutional rights of the people,” De Guia pointed out.

Incoming National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos, under Executive Order No. 70 which formed the NTF-Elcac, will sit as vice chairperson of the task force. However, she wants to put a stop to red-tagging, noting that labeling people would lead to nothing.

This development was hailed by the International Coalition for Human Rights in the Philippines (ICHRP), which said that ending Red-tagging “is a great first move.”

“Indeed, Red-tagging achieves nothing in terms of attaining peace, but only attempts to intimidate and silence critics and puts more and more people in danger,” the ICHRP said in a statement.

The coalition expects Carlos, who is set to assume as vice chair of the NTF-Elcac, to have it abolished.

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The ICHRP is also calling on Carlos to push for the repeal of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Law of 2020, as well as push the bill that classifies Red-tagging as a human rights violation with accompanying punishment.

“We agree with Dr. Carlos that human security is the road to Philippine national security and that this must be the top priority,” the ICHRP noted.

De Guia, meanwhile, also lauded Guevarra for his “clarification” in asserting respect for holding peaceful assemblies and exercising one’s rights for freedom of expression, which again run contrary to the leadership of the Philippine National Police’s stand to disallow protest rallies during the inauguration of President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

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Red-tagging puts lives in danger, file cases instead, Guevarra says

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TAGS: Jacqueline de Guia, Menardo Guevarra, red-tagging
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