Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has filed a bill seeking to criminalize red-tagging.
Senate Bill 2121, or an Act Defining and Penalizing the Crime of Red-Tagging, “seeks to fix the legal gaps, address impunity, and institutionalize a system of accountability by criminalizing red-tagging and providing for penalties as deterrence thereto.”
The crime was described as “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 a law enforcement agent, paramilitary, or military personnel.”
If found guilty, the offender could spend up to 10 years behind prison bars and/or get disqualified from holding public office.
Late last year, Senate President Vicente Sotto III said President Rodrigo Duterte “laughed” at such proposal. “I told the president last night of the idea of some to criminalize red-tagging, he laughed! Napakalabo! It’s like criminalizing name-calling. Paano ‘yung sinasabihan ng fascist? Narcissist? Hindi bawal? ‘Yun yellow? Bawal din?” said Sotto, suggesting that they consider filing libel cases instead.
In February, the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification, and Reconciliation stated in a committee report that it found no need for a new law in line with it as “recourse is already provided under the Revised Penal Code, Civil Code, special laws, and other judicial remedies.”
Other officials like Senator Kiko Pangilinan and Senator Risa Hontiveros have previously expressed their support for the idea.
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