Supreme Court: Red-tagging threatens one's right to life, security

Supreme Court: Red-tagging threatens one’s right to life, security

/ 06:52 PM May 08, 2024

MANILA CITY, Philippines — The practice of red-baiting or red-tagging is connected to the use of threats and intimidation, putting the labeled individual at risk of enforced disappearance or extrajudicial killing, the Supreme Court said Wednesday.

In this situation, the Supreme Court said in a 39-page decision that a writ of amparo becomes necessary.

A writ of amparo is a remedy available to any person whose right to life, liberty, and security has been violated or is threatened with violation by an unlawful act or omission of a public official or employee or of a private individual.


The Supreme Court’s pronouncement was contained in its ruling on the case of Siegfred Deduro, an activist and vice-president for the Visayas for both Bayan Muna party-list group and the Makabayan Coalition.

Deduro filed a petition for a writ of amparo before the Iloilo Regional Trial Court alleging that he was red-tagged by the military, accusing him of being a ranking member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA).

He said that on June 19, 2020, during the Iloilo Provincial Peace and Order Council meeting, the military gave a presentation where he was identified as a member of the CPP-NPA.

He added that his photos were also included in posters alongside those of other activists, human rights lawyers, and members of non-government organizations.

Included in the posters were Zara Alvarez and Jose Porquia, who were both killed in 2020.

READ: ‘Undas’ 2021: Red-tagging as death warrant


He said his photo also appeared in another tarpaulin beside human rights lawyer Benjamin Ramos and Hon. Bernardino Patigas. Both Ramos and Patigas were killed in 2018 and 2019, respectively.

However, the Iloilo Court dismissed his petition, finding his allegations of red-tagging insufficient to be considered a threat to his life, liberty, and property. The case was elevated to the Supreme Court.

In the decision written by Associate Justice Rodil Zalameda, the SC required the Iloilo court to conduct a summary hearing.

The SC said, “Requirement of a supporting affidavit should not be read as an absolute one that necessarily leads to the dismissal of the petition if not strictly followed.”

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The SC reminded judges to “be mindful, and especially cognizant, of the different power dynamics in their assessment of an actual or future threat to a petitioner’s life, security, or liberty, as well as in their evaluation of the existence of substantial evidence to support a grant of the privilege of a writ of amparo.”

“A stubborn refusal to acknowledge this reality leads to denial of protection to those who are vulnerable,” it added.

TAGS: red-tagging, Supreme Court, writ of amparo

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