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Bayan Muna condemns Duterte admin’s ‘malicious Red-tagging’

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Bayan Muna partylist Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate on Friday condemned the Duterte administration’s move to designate as “terrorists” at least 600 individuals allegedly connected with the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA), including Bayan Muna president and former Rep. Satur Ocampo.

“This is clearly part of the state’s vilification campaign that the Duterte administration is continuing and raising to a new level,” the Makabayan lawmaker said in a statement.

“It is straight out of the bag off tricks of the past regimes, like the dictator Marcos and the hated Macapagal-Arroyo regimes that also tried and failed to suppress and eliminate their principled and organized critics and the opposition,” he added.

Others named in the list were Bayan Muna officer Vicente Ladlad and staff Brenda Biernes, as well as Anakpawis partylist chairman Randall Echanis and former Selda officer Eliza Lubi.

The list also includes personalities like UN Special Rapporteur Victoria Tauli-Corpus and indigenous peoples’ rights advocate Beverly Longid and lawyer Jose Molintas.

“The allegations in this malicious court petition are utterly false. Instead, of recognizing the legitimacy of the causes espouse by revolutionary groups and legal democratic organizations, the Duterte administration is pursuing even further the militarist line of terrorist-tagging,” Zarate said.

“In fact, the reverse is true: the state, then and even now, unleashes terrorism to quell the growing peoples’ dissent against widespread poverty, unemployment and human rights violations,” he added.

“Many will see this as nothing but a calculated and vicious harassment suit against critics of the Duterte administration, like how it launched multi-pronged assaults on independent institutions headed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno and even Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales,” Zarate said.

“Yet, instead of being cowed, our colleagues and the other individuals listed in the DOJ suit should now have to fight back even more vigorously against these increasing tyrranical moves of the present administration. The vast majority of the Filipino people must now strive even harder and boldly to defend their rights and resist an unfolding dictatorship,” he said.