Press Release
March 9, 2021


Mr. President, wala na sana akong intensyon na mag-intervene sa committee report ni Sen. Ping sa usapin ng red tagging at ng dulong kaliwa. Sen Ping and I - while we agree on many things - have some differing perspectives on the State's counter-insurgency agenda.

Ngunit, hindi ko po mapalagpas ang nangyari noong weekend. Nine activists were found dead during the raids on March 7 conducted jointly by the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Ito ay dalawang araw lang ang nakakalipas matapos sabihin ng Presidente, "I've told the military and the police, that if they find themselves in an armed encounter with the communist rebels, kill them, make sure you really kill them, and finish them off if they are alive." Ano po ba ang nais mangyari ng ating Presidente sa ating kapulisan at militar, state assassins? I have spoken against the killing of the AFP by police forces in Jolo. I called for an investigation of the PDEA-PNP shootout in Commonwealth. Hindi pwedeng hindi ako magsalita rin sa karahasan laban sa mga aktibista.

Mr. President, almost all the labor leaders in Davao City affiliated with SENTRO, a partner federation of my party Akbayan, were red tagged. In a meeting called by a Barangay Chairman with Coca-Cola workers, SENTRO and its labor organizers were identified as legal fronts of the NPA. Sabi ni General Parlade, sa article nila sa Manila Times, "if you are not guilty, chill ka Lang." These people are NOT guilty, Mr. President. The people killed over the weekend were all non-combatants. Ano po ba ito, dragnet na halong kalamay nalang lahat?

Sabi sa Committee Report ng good Chairperson, there are legal recourses available in our current laws for those red-tagged. How do they avail of these recourses if they are dead, Mr. President? How do they hold the State to account if they are felled by the State? For the record at salamat po, Mr. President.

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