KARAPATAN welcomes recent SC decision citing dangerous implications of redtagging

KARAPATAN views the recently published Supreme Court En Banc decision partially granting the writ of amparo of activist Siegfred Deduro as an important legal decision recognizing the dangerous consequences of red-tagging, vilification, and labelling.

These dangerous practices of State security forces have long threatened the lives, security and liberty of scores of human rights activists, political dissenters and ordinary Filipinos – many of them have been victims of extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances, torture, illegal or arbitrary arrests and detention and many other forms of grave human rights violations – which include human rights workers of KARAPATAN.

Redtagging, which precedes these acts, lays the pretext for these dire violations committed with impunity, as State forces make no distinction between civilians and combatants in its counter-insurgency campaign.

Siegfred Deduro and many activists in the Visayas have endured the consequences of these acts. Before other activists Zara Alvarez, Jory Porquia, Bernardino Patigas Sr., Atty. Benjamin Ramos, among others, were killed, they were subjected to redtagging and other threats.

Through the years, numerous United Nations human rights mechanisms – from UN Special Rapporteurs Philip Alston, Agnes Callamard, Michel Forst, Mary Lawlor, Clement Voule, Ian Fry, Irene Khan and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet – have independently observed and made recommendations that this practice of redtagging should stop.

But the hubris of Marcos Jr. and Duterte’s security forces, especially led by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), have facilitated not only the TF’s rampant and unmitigated fabrication of lies in attempts to quell dissent, but have also driven the rampant and unmitigated attacks on individuals and organizations.

The NTF-ELCAC and its functionaries have also repeatedly blocked all efforts to push for the enactment of proposed legislation criminalizing redtagging and protecting human rights defenders.

Marcos Jr.’s own National Security Policy, implemented by the NTF-ELCAC, contains language institutionalizing redtagging as policy of the current regime.

We support Siegfred Deduro’s plea for legal protection via the granting of the privilege of the writ of amparo. We also hope that this Supreme Court decision should prod the enactment of pending bills on the criminalization of redtagging and the protection of human rights defenders be passed.

We strongly demand justice for all victims of redtagging and all human rights and international humanitarian violations. We denounce and call for the abolition of the NTF-ELCAC, as the most notorious red-tagging machinery of the Marcos-Duterte administration. #