Lacson ‘seriously considering’ making red-tagging a crime

Senator Panfilo Lacson said Wednesday he is “seriously considering” filing bills to make a amid the Senate’s inquiry on alleged red-tagging of government’s critics.

“I am seriously considering the recommendation to criminalize red-tagging as long as such legislation will not infringe on the bill of rights involving freedom of speech and expression,” Lacson said.

Lacson led the Senate inquiries which probed the alleged red-tagging by military officials against organizations, particularly on Makabayan bloc House members.

Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros said she would evaluate the need for a law that would criminalize red-tagging.

“I have to study that, kung necessary ba ‘yon to provide for that by law. Kasi the constitutional provisions alone should suffice yung freedom of conscience, freedom of association,” Hontiveros told reporters in an online interview.

(I have to study that if a law providing for that would be necessary. Because Constitutional provisions alone should suffice, the freedom of conscience, freedom of association.)

Earlier, Senate President Vicente Sotto recommended the filing of libel cases instead of making red-tagging a crime.

“If we criminalize red-tagging, we have to criminalize narcissistic-tagging and fascist-tagging, while it falls in the category of libel,” he said.

Making red-tagging a crime ‘difficult’

“E ‘di file-an na lang ng [Just file] libel. I think that should be food for thought for those who are offended by being called ‘Reds,’” Sotto said.

“You may think about that instead of having Congress discuss and then file a bill criminalizing red-tagging, which at this point would be very difficult to do,” he added.

Meanwhile, Lacson scolded the Makabayan bloc after Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate called the Senate inquiry a “venue of witch hunting.”

“Just because the Makabayan bloc cannot have it themselves, in spite of all the time and space that the committee had given them, not to mention the fact that I was even defending them at least a couple of times, they still have the temerity to accuse the senate of with hunting,” Lacson.

“Looking for a scapegoat in the committee for their failure to address squarely the allegations of the former [New People’s Army] rebels could only indicate their inadequacy during the hearings,” he added.