Gov’t responding to criticisms, including red-tagging, is essence of democracy
MANILA, Philippines — Responding to criticisms including red tagging is an essence of democracy, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said before the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC) in Geneva.
Red tagging is associating an individual or organization as a supporter or connected to the communist movement. These red-tagged individuals or groups are often government critics, activists, even lawyers and judges, and sometimes members of the media.
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR), in a statement last April, said: The prevalence of red-tagging in recent years has resulted in attacks against the lives, liberty, and security of groups and organizations, especially those working in defense of the rights of vulnerable and marginalized sectors.”
“Those at the receiving end of red-tagging are usually those vocal critics of the government, thereby making it easy to label them as so-called ‘enemies of the State,'” the CHR said.
At the UNHRC in Geneva, Remulla was asked about red-tagging and the danger it poses to those who are red-tagged.
Remulla said the government is only responding to criticisms, but some individuals or organizations called it red tagging.
“So, when people are criticized for being critics, or when people are criticized for helping the wrong people, why is red-tagging the issue? It is because it is the defense of the left to protect the left in our country. If you can dish it out, you should be able to take it. That, for me, is probably the essence of democracy,” he added.
Recently, a Manila court judge has been red-tagged following her decision denying the government’s petition to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as a terrorist organization.
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