The Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives on Tuesday maintained that the Senate should not be made a venue to spur further "red-tagging" remarks against activists and other progressive individuals and organizations that will only endanger their safety.
The group made the remark as they informed Senator Panfilo Lacson of their non-appearance to Tuesday's Senate panel hearing on red-tagging, red-baiting of celebrities, personalities, institutions, and organizations.
In their letter to Lacson, who leads the probe, the lawmakers insisted that no form of "red-tagging" or misinformation would taint their credibility as legitimate representatives of marginalized sectors who have a track record of carrying their interests and advocacy in Congress.
"Umaasa kami na hindi ninyo pahihintulutang magamit ang inyong Komite at ang Senado bilang lunsaran ng red tagging o terrorist tagging, isang polisiya na makailang- beses nang napatunayan ng United Nations Special Rapporteurs na nagbibigay-daan sa pulitikal na pamamaslang sa pamamagitan ng extra-judicial killing o EJK, sa gawa-gawang kaso, at iba pang paglabag sa karapatang pantao," they said.
"Hindi dapat magamit ang Senado sa paninirang puri na sa kabuuan ay nagsasapanganib sa buhay at kaligtasan ng mga lider at miyembro ng mga progresibong organisasyon," they added.
In their absence in the Senate hearing, the bloc was represented by Atty. Maneeka Sarza, who said congressmen are currently on their respective relief missions for the victims of Super Typhoon Rolly.
The Makabayan lawmakers themselves also called on the government in their letter to Lacson to focus its attention in helping the victims of the recent typhoon.
"Nararapat na ituon nating lahat ang atensyon sa pagtugon sa mga kagyat na pangangailangan ng ating mga kababayang biktima ng pandemya at kalamidad, hindi sa pulitikal na pananakot at pagpapalaganap ng kasinungalingan," they said.
National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. recently revealed that the Makabayan bloc, along with former Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares, are under surveillance supposedly for being "card-bearing" members of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
In response, the Makabayan bloc condemned Parlade's alleged red-tagging and surmised that it was the NTF-ELCAC's way of "hitting back" at them for exposing the P19.1-billion "generals' pork" under the task force's budget for 2021. —KBK, GMA News