MANILA — The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) on Saturday urged authorities to make a clear set of guidelines that would prevent red-tagging.
This, after remarks of Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., an official of the government's National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), supposedly red-tagging celebrities such as Liza Soberano and Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray over their recent comments supporting women's rights.
CHR Commissioner Gwendolyn Pimentel-Gana maintained that a legal process should be followed before branding people as affiliates of communist insurgents.
“They should come up with guidelines to these people on the ground… And they should wait for the legal means whereby they can prove that the organization or individual is a communist or doing insurgent acts against the government,” Gana said in an interview on ANC.
“I think what is very alarming here is the fact that he is a person in authority, Gen. Parlade. He comes in a position… whereby he can actually order actions against them by this mere statement,” she added.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Friday denounced the military official’s controversial remarks, saying it has gone out of hand.
Lorenzana added that officials should not loosely tag anyone as a local terrorist without any proof.
The commissioner earlier blasted the military official’s remarks, saying his accusations were “tantamount to harassment and red-tagging.”
Authorities, she said, should focus on promoting human rights instead of instilling fear and distrust among Filipinos.
She also pointed out that high-ranking officials such as Parlade should be careful and prudent enough when it comes to linking organizations to rebel activity.
“Has there been proof given that Gabriela is an underground organization or a front of an underground organization? I think that is a perfect example of red-tagging. You jump into conclusions and just name an organization or a person that you’re part of this movement,” she said.
Following the incident, Lorenzana said Friday he would call a meeting with Parlade and the NTF-ELCAC to address the issue of red-tagging.
Several public officials have also condemned Parlade, saying his remarks were uncalled for.