Bishop Victor Bendico, engaged in the Social Action Commission to help the poor and promote justice and peace, was tagged as a supporter of the communists which the Roman Catholic Diocese of Baguio vehemently denied. They also condemned the “red-tagging” of individuals on social media.
In a statement, the diocese of Baguio denied the accusations posted in Facebook that Bendico is a communist advocate, saying that Bendico didn’t even know this group nor deal with them.
“The Diocese of Baguio promotes and advocates justice and peace, integral human development and charity, above all, through the fulfilment of her priestly, prophetic and kingly mission or roles based on Catholic Doctrines and Social Teachings but never on ideologies that sow disunity and sabotage peace,” the diocese said.
Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, spokesperson for the government’s anti-terrorism task force, also accused Sr. Mary John Mananzan of St. Scholastica’s College of being a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front, which she classified as a terrorist group.
A Benedictine Order member and currently national chair of Gabriela, Mananzan has been vocal against extrajudicial killings, attacks on press freedom, and other acts of violence during the leadership of President Duterte.
The United Nation report said that red-tagging or labelling activists as rebels or enemies of the state has been “persistent and powerful threat to civil society and freedom of expression.”
The Commission on Human Rights also said that red-tagging is a “serious concern” that should not be taken lightly.