IBP calls out military’s ‘ridiculous red-tagging’ of lawyers

26-Jan-2021 Intellasia | PhilStar | 6:52 AM Print This Post

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines called out the military for its “ridiculous” of linking of lawyers to communist rebels as it urged the government to set policies against the dangerous practice of red-tagging.

IBP National President Domingo Egon Cayosa in a statement on Monday denounced the inclusion of lawyers Roan Libarios, Alexander Padilla and Rafael Aquino on the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ list of supposed University of the Philippines student who joined the New People’s Army who were killed or captured.

“The named lawyers are not members of the [NPA]. They were never captured. They are very much alive, not dead. They are responsible and respected Filipino lawyers who serve well our country in various capacities and meaningfully contribute to nation building,” Cayosa added.

Libarios is a former president of the IBP, while Padilla has served the government in various capacities such as health undersecretary and president of the state insurer. Aquino meanwhile practices private law and volunteers for the Free Legal Assistance Group.

More than 20 names were included in the erroneous list published by the Armed Forces of the Philippines Information Exchange that has since been taken down. The military had also apologised for releasing it and promised an investigation on how the list was published in the first place.

Cayosa said: “IBP calls out misleading claims not only for the sake of its members but for all victims of similar red-tagging.”

He stressed that the red-tagging not only comprises security and safety of those wrongfully accused but also brings unwarranted risks even to their families and friends. “More importantly, red-tagging is unfair, illegal and disregards due process and the rule of law,” he continued.

The IBP president pointed out that if lawyers and people with stature can be put at risk by red-tagging, ordinary citizens who do not have the means to clear their names are left even more vulnerable. “They are unduly threatened, attacked, or even killed by the misguided and unscrupulous,” Cayosa said.

Set policies against red-tagging

The IBP called on the government to “right the wrong and set firm policies against red-tagging.”

“False and reckless publications, shortcuts and questionable means destroy the very rights, public interests, or principles that we all seek to protect. They weaken the state that we claim to defend,” Cayosa added.

The Senate has held a legislative inquiry into red-tagging of personalities, including celebrities and elected congressmen. During the hearings, lawmakers have also discussed penalising red-tagging, though senators were wary of restricting freedom of speech.

The Senate committee on national defense and security, which led the hearings, have yet to release its panel report.



Category: Philippines

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