April 28, 2022
After the red-tagging craze by public officials and some candidates against progressive partylists’ and opposition candidates’ gatherings and rallies, the Malacañang Palace thru the Presidential Communications Operations Office warned voters from electing “Left-leaning” bets in its statement dated April 25, 2022.
“The Duterte government’s desperation to maintain power can be seen through the persecution of its so-called ‘enemies’—the unjust imprisonment of Anakpawis nominee Isabelo Adviento, the non-stop red-tagging of the entire opposition bloc, and many others”, said Council for People’s Development and Governance (CPDG) spokesperson Liza Maza.
In the statement, PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar said that the palace “leaves it to the citizenry” if they want to elect “communist-influenced” officials.
“While phrased as if it follows the basics of democracy, it is obviously a threat considering the policies in place that persecute individuals and organizations according to their political beliefs”, Maza pointed out.
To put this into context, the Supreme Court En Banc Session decided to reject all motions for reconsideration on the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 commonly referred to as the Anti-Terror Law or ATL today due to “lack of substantial issues”. Civil society representing various sectors including the religious among Catholics, Protestants and ecumenical groups, individuals, the academe, as well as international human rights bodies have expressed fear or warned over the potential abuse of the law, especially that it is being used to silence critics.
“The ATL is dangerous and it will only take another Duterte or its hand-picked successor for this draconian law to be implemented in full swing. It is not only a threat to civil and political liberties but to the lives of many persecuted groups and individuals,” Maza emphasized.
Civil society and people’s organizations have long criticized the ATL,the Executive Order No. 70 and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict or NTF-ELCAC for being a menace to democracy due to the worrisome trend of arrests, killings, and other violations against government critics, activists, and development workers.
CPDG appeals to the next administration to pass the Comprehensive Anti-Discrimination Bill (CADB) and the Human Rights Defenders Bill (HRD Bill) which can provide safeguards against the ATL.
“CADB and the HRD Bill can address the many layers of division, discrimination, and political persecution in the country We hope that the next President and the incoming 19th Congress will support and prioritize these legislations and eventually repeal the ATL and other anti-democratic policies,” Maza ended. #