MANILA – An official of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC) on Monday said there is a huge difference between designation and red-tagging.
National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) Regional Director for Caraga, lawyer Marlon Bosantog, in an online press conference on May 17, made this comment after hearing claims that the designation of the terrorist list is only glorified red-tagging.
"I would like to make comment dun sa (regarding the) concept (that) designation is a glorified red-tagging, in context, sinasabi nilang (they are saying that in) red-tagging, parang (if seems) you associate this person with the communist ideology but the designation is quite different because it's very specific, you are saying that this person is related to activities of terrorism, it does not pertain to ideology perception or ideology but it's more of the actions and these actions are backed up by testimonies, affidavit or pieces of evidence that were the product by the intelligence community or other people that came (to) verify as to why this person should be designated," said Bosantog, NTF ELCAC Legal Cooperation Cluster spokesperson, said during an online press conference.
He said comparing designation to red-tagging is like watering down the gravity of terrorism as an offense.
"We're concerned here on terrorism itself, its boundaries transcends ideologies, so it is done under the premise of due process, number one we have the ATC(Anti-Terrorism Council), it was passed by Congress, they have remedies available to them, kahit yung decision ng (even the decision of the) ATC can actually be questioned before the Supreme Court,” he added.
The Supreme Court, he said, has overarching power when it comes to actions by Executive Department, so they can actually review the actions of the ATC. So for me, we have (processes) open, the people designated have remedies.
Republic Act 11479 defines terrorists as persons who engage in acts intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person or endangers a person's life; cause extensive damage or destruction to a government or public facility, public place, or private property; and cause extensive interference with, damage or destruction to critical infrastructure.
It also defines terrorists as those who develop, manufacture, possess, acquire, transport, supply, or use weapons, explosives or biological, nuclear, radiological, or chemical weapons and release dangerous substances causing fire, floods, or explosions.
The ATC has formally designated Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) founder Jose Maria Sison and 18 others, as well as 10 members of the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) and other extremist groups as “terrorists”.
Signed by the council’s chairperson, Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea, and vice-chairperson Hermogenes Esperon, on April 20, the ATC designated the “central committee members of the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army also known as Bagong Hukbong Bayan (CPP/NPA) as terrorists, which was designated under ATC Resolution No. 12 (2020) released on May 13. (PNA)