Makabayan bloc prepares cases against Red-taggers

This article is available in Pilipino

The Makabayan bloc announced on May 9 that it is preparing to file charges against those behind the Red-tagging that violated the rights of many leaders and activists in recent years. They acknowledged the Supreme Court decision which declared Red-tagging, villification and guilt by association threats to the life, liberty and security of its target, and as such a writ of amparo can be granted to its victims. The definition is part of the decision that granted a writ of amparo to former Bayan Muna representative Siegfried Deduro. It overturned the prior decision of the Iloilo City lower court that dismissed his petition.

The list of activists and individuals red-tagged by state armed forces who have suffered surveillance, harassment, intimidation, abduction and attempted assassination is long. Many were also abducted and never surfaced, and were outright murdered.

Makabayan’s first call is to dismantle the NTF-Elcac, the agency that leads red-tagging against national-democratic organizations and its members, progressive individuals and institutions, critics of the state and even ordinary people.

Former Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate says the Supreme Court’s declaration is like “rain in the middle of a drought.” He recalled the many individuals who filed petitions for the writ of amparo and were murdered by armed state agents. Among them is Zara Alvares, health activist from Negros island, who filed a petition for a writ of amparo. The court initially dismissed her petition. She was murdered while her appeal was being heard.

The Kabataan Partylist (KPL) is also preparing charges against Red-taggers targetting the youth. Red-tagging against KPL members and leaders were systematic and widespread in the university and high school forums launched by the military and NTF-Elcac. Its representative Raoul Manuel recalled the cases of red-tagging victims who were killed by soldiers, such as Chad Booc and Jurain Ngujo. A separate case against Red-taggers will be filed in behalf those abducted by the military, such as Jhed Tamano and Jonila Castro, Dyan Gumanao and Armand Dayoha, Eco Dangla and Jak Tiong, as well as activists Bazoo de Jesus and Dexter Capuyan who until now have not yet been surfaced.

Who are the top Red-taggers in the country?

Battalions and other military units of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Philippine National Police, as well as officers of the NTF-Elcac and the Anti-Terrorism Council, are primary Red-taggers. They have long been practicing Red-tagging but accelerated during the former Duterte regime until the current Marcos regime.

Some of the worst Red-taggers are senior officials and allies of Duterte, including Hermogenes Esperon Jr, Colonel Harold Cabunoc, Mocha Uson, Lorraine Badoy, Jeffrey Celiz, Apollo Quiboloy, Salvador Panelo, and many others.

The defamation by Duterte himself and his children Sara and Paolo are also brazen. During the 2022 election, then presidential candidate Panfilo Lacson and one of the representatives of Cavite, Jesus Remulla, also used this tactic.

Various military units conduct countless activities, forums and defamation dissemination and Red-tagging in the countryside. Even during the pandemic, these units, especially in Mindanao, were busy red-tagging, harassing and disbanding legitimate farmers’ organizations. These same military units launched various “youth summits” in universities and peasant communities that were always anchored in the defamation of progressive institutions and open rural mass organizations.

These units work in tandem with traitors to the people such as Noel Legaspi, Joy Saguin, Kate Raca, Arian Ramos and several others who are actively collaborating with the NTF-Elcac and the likes of Bato de la Rosa in the Senate.

There are also many Red-taggers in the barrio level up to the municipality. These include the likes of Rico Maca, Indigenous People Mandatory Representative of Surigao del Sur, local government officials and captains and members of barangay councils who openly collaborate with the military to oppress their constituents and deny AFP crimes in their respective areas.

In the social media realm, there are many accounts whose sole purpose is to red-tag, defame and spread disinformation against progressive organizations and individuals. There are paid and unpaid individuals who hide under fake names (trolls) who actively and consciously spread such disinformation.

AB: Makabayan bloc prepares cases against Red-taggers