SENATE President Vicente Sotto 3rd said he was “inclined” to support a proposal to criminalize red-tagging after the security sector — without proof — accused the Senate employees’ union of having links with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) Director General Alex Paul Monteagudo tagged the Sandigan ng mga Empleyadong Nagkakaisa sa Adhikain ng Demokratikong Organisasyon (Senado) as the “eyes and ears” of the CPP at the Senate.|
“These are dangerous allegations to make,” the Senate minority bloc said in a joint statement as it called for the immediate passage of Senate Bill 2121 or the proposed “Act Defining and Penalizing Red-Tagging.”
Senado President Rosel Eugenio in a separate statement denied Monteagudo’s claim.
Asked whether he would call for an investigation on Monteagudo’s claim, Sotto said, “He sent word saying they are just telling our people that the CPP has tentacles even in the halls of the Senate through COURAGE, a communist terrorist group”.
“I said I want NICA to give me the names of the employees and I will have them investigated,” the Senate chief said in a statement.
Monteagudo has yet to furnish Sotto a list of alleged CPP sympathizers among Senado members.
“Because of this, I am now inclined to support the criminalizing of red-tagging,” Sotto said.
Sen. Panfilo Lacson, chairman of the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, partially supported Monteagudo’s claim because he knows that Senado has been “infiltrated” by left-leaning groups.
“I will agree with NICA director general Monteagudo but not totally. Not all the members of the Senate employees’ union are the ‘eyes and ears’ of Courage” he said.
“The lack of general condemnation and a law which penalizes red-tagging as a crime embolden these government officials and only normalize this prevailing culture of red-tagging,” the minority group said.
“We vehemently denounce government officials who continue to label, brand, vilify, and harass individuals and organizations such as Senado as state enemies and subversives,” said Senators Franklin Drilon, Ana Theresia Hontiveros, Leila de Lima and Francis Pangilinan.
The minority senators added that through Senado, three collective negotiations agreements had been negotiated on behalf of the Senate employees with previous Senate presidents, including Drilon, who led the chamber for over eight years.
They stressed that Senado is a legitimate union of employees in the Senate. It upholds the interest and welfare of Senate employees, not of any other group.
“We believe that the passage of this bill will serve as a deterrent against red-tagging. We should punish irresponsible officials who act as enablers of red-tagging,” they added.