MANILA - The Commission on Human Rights on Tuesday warned government against red-tagging individuals as it "endangers lives."
CHR spokesperson Jacqueline de Guia made the remark after President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday "identified" opposition lawmakers as "legal fronts" of communist rebels.
"The CHR does not delve into who is a communist or not. Ang sa amin lang is just we would like (We would just like) to caution government against making sweeping generalizations because it endangers lives," she told ANC's Headstart.
"They should observe the principle of distinction in doing red-tagging because clearly there must be a delineation between those who think different against government and those who have taken up arms against government."
There is "nothing wrong" in having a left-leaning ideology if it does not translate into violence, De Guia said.
"If they are using legal means such as joining partylists then clearly that is not taking up arms against the government," she said.
"The freedom of belief is absolute as long as they do not take up violence."
Duterte had made the pronouncement after the death of the daughter of Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat in a supposed military encounter with the New People's Army in Surigao del Sur on Saturday.
The CHR will look into the legitimacy of the operation and whether principles of International Humanitarian Law were observed, De Guia said.
The rights body earlier condemned the military's decision to pose with the body of Jevilyn Cullamat.
"Regardless of what troop they belong to, sa'min (for us) it’s a human being, let’s not add ignominy, let’s not use it as propaganda," De Guia said.