Sen. Drilon wants 10-year imprisonment for red-tagging

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 25 2021 02:16 PM | Updated as of Mar 25 2021 07:21 PM

Sen. Drilon wants 10-year imprisonment for red-tagging 1
Health workers and advocates hold a protest against the alleged worsening attacks, red-tagging, and smear campaigns against health professionals, outside the Department of National Defense (DND) headquarters in Quezon City on May 31, 2019. Jire Carreon, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA (UPDATE) - Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has filed a measure that seeks a 10-year imprisonment for any state agent who would be convicted of “red-tagging.”

Under Senate Bill 2121 or the proposed “Act Defining and Penalizing Red-tagging” that Drilon filed on Wednesday, the convict will also be disqualified from holding any public office.

“The passage of this bill will reverse the ‘increasingly institutionalization and normalization of human rights violations’ and put a stop on the attacks against the members of the legal profession,” Drilon said in the bill’s explanatory note.

“The measure will likewise serve as a reminder to the government of its primary duty under the Constitution to serve and protect the people,” he added.

The bill classifies red-tagging as “labeling, vilifying, branding, naming, accusing, harassing, persecuting, stereotyping, or caricaturing individuals, groups, or organizations as state enemies, left-leaning, subversives, communists, or terrorists as part of a counter-insurgency or anti-terrorism strategy or program, by any state actor, such as law enforcement agent, paramilitary, or military personnel.”

Drilon said a statute of this kind is needed since libel and grave threats charges are not appropriate when a state agent is affecting an individual’s basic rights.

“It has resulted in serious human rights violations such as harassments, arbitrary arrests, detentions, and enforced disappearances… In some instances, being red-tagged is a prelude to death,” he said.

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Drilon and other members of the Senate earlier filed and adopted Senate Resolution 691 which strongly condemns the “killing of and acts of violence against judges, prosecutors and lawyers.”

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