By SHERWIN DE VERA
BAGUIO CITY — Members of the first and only youth party-list in the House of Representatives urged the Commission on Election and the Commission on Human Rights in Region 1 for a dialogue on the red-tagging incidents perpetrated by the Philippine National Police against their organization.
“We are requesting your good office for a dialogue at any available time concerning which possible legal actions our organization could take against San Fernando [City Police Station] and La Union [Police Provincial Office],” said the letter.
It was signed by Florence Kang, Vice President for Luzon and fifth nominee of Kabataan Party-list (KPL) and submitted to both offices on Mar 21.
The complaint stemmed from a Facebook meme posted by San Fernando CPS official page on Feb 28 with a heading “MGA PAALALA PARA MAKAIWAS SA PANGHIHIKAYAT NG TERORISTANG CPP-NPA-NDF.” It bears the KPL logo and picture of KPL Representative Sarah Jane Elago.
A reminder “Pumili ng Kaibigan at Organisasyon na makakatulong. Hindi katulad ng aktibista na gagawin ka lang KOMUNISTA” was also written in the meme.
The post was shared on Mar 1 by the official Facebook Pages of La Union Provincial Police Office and La Union PPO Pacdaar (announcement). As of this posting, the meme is still on the wall of San Fernando CPS and La Union PPO Pacdaar.
KPL also expressed alarm, pointing out that the relentless red-tagging of their organization and leaders “may bring harm to our membership as well as tarnish our organization’s reputation.”
In an interview, Kang said that despite the vilification campaign targeting their group, their membership remains to increase with more volunteers for the campaign joining. But explained that they still have to conduct a more thorough evaluation on the impact of red-tagging and other attacks to their members.
“What the PNP is doing is actually campaigning against KPL and other progressive groups which is in violation of election rules,” said the KPL nominee.
He added that just before the interview, another member sent a link of another meme posted on Mar 21 by Santiago [Municipal Police Station] in Ilocos Sur that implicates their sitting representative and KPL to the communist rebels.
“We continue to collect reports and evidence, as well as consult our legal team on the possible criminal and administrative cases that we can file against the perpetrators,” he said.
According to him, it will be better if the commission will look into the case in a wider perspective that includes the use of red-tagging to deny them of votes for the mid-term elections.
“We will continue to campaign and advance our platform. With its heart and mind ready to serve another fruitful years in and out of congress, the youth party will not waiver from its cause and from its commitment to the youth and the people,” he said.
Last month, the group also seek a dialogue with the Department of Education and the Commission on Higher Education after the 81st Infantry Battalion accused them of being part of the CPP-NPA in their schools hopping lectures. # nordis.net