MANILA – Lawyers from the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL) complained Sunday of new incidents of red-tagging in Tacloban and General Santos City.
Edre Olalia, NUPL president, said posters linking progressive groups to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), National Democratic Front (NDF) and New People’s Army (NPA) were posted outside the venue of an assembly of Union of People’s Lawyers (UPLM) in General Santos City on Friday.
Groups tagged were left-leaning organizations Bayan, Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers’ Party-list, Kabataan, and Gabriela as well as rights group Karapatan and labor organizations Kilusang Mayo Uno, and Migrante International.
All of them were tagged as “persona non grata sa Soccsksargen” and “allies” of the CPP, NDF, and NPA.
Olalia was a guest speaker at the event together with retired Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio.
On Saturday, another poster with Olalia’s and Colmenares’ names and photos was placed outside an NUPL event in Tacloban City where both of them were speakers. The poster bore the caption: “Neri Colmenares, Edre Olalia tuta (lapdog) ni Joma Sison.”
Another poster called on the NUPL not to be used by the CPP-NPA-NDF.
“These vicious, unrelenting though ridiculous but dangerous vilification is precisely what the Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC and the UN Human Rights Council have separately pointed out and continue to warn against,” Olalia said in a statement.
He warned these incidents will have an effect on the International Criminal Court Office of the Prosecutor’s findings on the preliminary examination of the alleged extrajudicial killings in the Philippine government’s war on drugs which the ICC Prosecutor earlier said they will try to finish by 2020, as well as the Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights’ comprehensive report to the United Nations Human Rights Council in June 2020.
“Meantime, we are studying and preparing more surgical legal and metalegal recourses to abate these orchestrated red-tagging charades. We continue to just do our work in the service of the poor, oppressed and persecuted,” Olalia said.
“We will not be distracted nor slowed down. Thank you for the cute and flattering pictures though,” he added.
The NUPL, Gabriela, and Karapatan have previously sought protection from the Supreme Court against alleged threats to their member’s lives and security allegedly from state agents but the Court of Appeals dismissed their twin writ of amparo petitions citing lack of evidence to link high-ranking government officials to supposed threats and incidents of red-tagging.