MANILA - The electoral bids of some party-list groups were negatively affected after some nominees were tagged as communists, left-leaning Bayan Muna representatives said Tuesday.
Bayan Muna is the lone Makabayan bloc party-list expected to secure 3 seats in the House of Representatives, while its allied Gabriela, Kabataan, and Alliance of Concerned Teachers are expected to each get one seat.
Workers' and peasants' group Anakpawis, which had garnered enough votes in previous elections to get a seat in the chamber, is expected to fail this time given low votes, according to data from the Commission on Elections (Comelec).
"It actually hurt our campaigns because government agencies were being used to red-tag, to red-bait the Makabayan bloc," Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate told ANC's Early Edition.
The Anakpawis campaign was hardest hit because the bulk of its constituencies are in provinces where the group had a hard time campaigning, especially in Mindanao, he said.
"Sa Mindanao nahihirapan din sa campaign because of martial law.
Intense 'yung militarization especially in the Caraga region," he said.
Mindanao has been under martial law since firefights erupted between state forces and terrorists in Marawi City in May 2017.
Bayan Muna nominee Ferdinand Gaite labelled the alleged actions as illegal campaigning.
"They were using government resources, government influence, government time to campaign for their candidates," Gaite said.
A week before the elections, several red-tagged groups sought protection from the Supreme Court, arguing that being labelled as communists imposed threats against their lives, liberty and security.
Police and military personnel have earlier denied involvement in the alleged red-tagging of party-list nominees.
"These cowardly practices have been the old dirty tactics of local communist groups to create animosity in our peaceful society and later on blame the government, particularly the Armed Forces," the Army said in a statement in February.
In a separate statement, Police Regional Office 10 spokesperson Police Lt. Col. Surki Sereñas said the Philippine National Police (PNP) had nothing to do with the supposed distribution of the red-tag list.
"For legal reasons, the PNP will never publish a 'list' without proof. This is certainly not a PNP's list and will support and defend the rights of everyone on the list to seek rectification and disprove their communist affiliation," he said.