Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has filed a bill to criminalize “red-tagging”, a tactic used by state forces to accuse activists, journalists, academics, lawyers, judges, labor leaders and some celebrities as being members or backers of the Communist Party of the Philippines or the New People’s Army.
According to Senate Bill No. 2121, “Act Defining and Penalizing Red-Tagging”, the act carries the penalty of up to 10 years imprisonment, perpetual disqualification from holding public office and aims to curb “the increasing institutionalization and normalization of human rights violations.” It also hopes to “fix legal gaps, address impunity and institutionalize a system of accountability.”
Drilon has pointed out that red-tagging had reached “unprecedented” levels and that this has “threatened the very life, liberty and security of the vilified men and women.”
The senator has even described the act as a “prelude to death.”
Among the measure’s supporters, National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers chief Edre Olalia, said: “Once passed into law, [it] will most probably deter the unscrupulous hate speech by state forces against its own citizens and also make more effective…the legal remedies against these dangerous vilification of practically everybody the ‘wayward elements’ victimize.”
Photo by Angie de Silva/Rappler