A Catholic prelate saw a glimmer of hope after two former spokespersons of the government’s anti-communist task force were reprimanded for “red-tagging”.
“We hope to have more signs of hope that we will feel protected in speaking out the truth and to call to task those in power so that they won’t be abusive and just perform their mandates,” said Bishop Gerardo Alminaza of San Carlos, who himself was a victim of red-tagging.
“The effect of red tagging is really to silence and make the world small for those striving to correct what is wrong in society. So this is a positive step,” he said.
The Ombudsman has found former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) officials Antonio Parlade Jr. and Lorraine Badoy guilty of red-tagging a human rights lawyers’ group and their members.
In an Aug. 9 decision, the Ombudsman found Parlade and Badoy “guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service” for making statements linking a human rights lawyers’ group to communist rebels.
The bishop hopes that no more individuals, whether activists or not, will be put in danger due to red-tagging.
“We expect more and continued assurance to our people, who are advocating for social changes and improving the lives in the Philippines,” he added.