MANILA, Philippines – Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has filed a measure that seeks to make ‘red-tagging’ punishable by up to 10-years in prison.
Senate Bill 2121 or an “Act Defining and Penalizing Red-Tagging,” which Drilon filed on Wednesday, seeks to criminalize red-tagging and provide for penalties as deterrence “in order to fix the legal gaps, address impunity and institutionalize a system of accountability.”
It also seeks to disqualify persons convicted of this crime from holding public office.
The bill defines red-tagging as the act of “labeling, vilifying, branding, naming, accusing, harassing, persecuting, stereotyping, or caricaturing individuals, groups, or organizations as state enemies, left-leaning, subversives, communists, or terrorists as part of a counter-insurgency or anti-terrorism strategy or program, by any state actor, such as law enforcement agent, paramilitary, or military personnel.”
“Any person found guilty of red-tagging shall be imprisoned for 10 years and shall suffer the accessory penalty of perpetual absolute disqualification to hold public office,” the measure stated.
“The passage of this bill will reverse the increasingly institutionalization and normalization of human rights violations and put a stop on the attacks against the members of the legal profession,” Drilon said in the bill’s explanatory note.
The senator said libel, or grave threats, is not appropriate when a state agent vilifies a person as an enemy of the state, thereby impinging an individual’s basic rights.
“It has resulted in serious human rights violations such as harassments, arbitrary arrests, detentions, and enforced disappearances. In some instances, being red-tagged is a prelude to death,” he said.
“The measure will likewise serve as a reminder to the government of its primary duty under the Constitution to serve and protect the people,” he added.