Why red-tagging is wrong
OUR Constitution guarantees freedom of political beliefs, that no man shall be detained, more so murdered solely by reason of his political beliefs and aspirations. Thus, a person being a communist or an organization being a communist front is not per se illegal, as long as the person or the organization so identified espouses their political beliefs through peaceful and lawful means.
Even under the repealed anti-subversion law, mere membership in the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is not punishable. There must be a specific intent to further the unlawful goals of the organization (i.e., to overthrow the government through violent means), which must be shown by overt acts and therefore proof of direct participation in the organization’s unlawful activities and not just mere adherence to the organization’s illegal objectives.
If there is evidence then that persons or organizations President Duterte has identified as communists are involved in illegal activities, then by all means, file cases against them in court. What is definitely wrong with red-tagging is prejudging or assuming without proof that persons or organizations so identified are ipso facto already involved in illegal activities.
Despite his denials, Mr. Duterte has precisely red-tagged those persons and organizations he has identified as communists, as he has accused them to be in conspiracy with the CPP or the New People’s Army in the latter’s illegal activities.
Severo Brillantes, [email protected]
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