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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Supreme Court defines red-tagging as threat that could warrant protection

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The Supreme Court (SC) has ruled that red-tagging, vilification, labeling, and guilt by association all threaten a person’s right to life, liberty, or security.

Therefore, the High Court held that these could justify the issuance of a writ of amparo, whose privileges can include a permanent protection order.

This is based on the SC’s en banc decision penned by Associate Justice Rodil V. Zalameda, which granted the writ of amparo in favor of former Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Siegfred D. Deduro.

The High Tribunal found prima facie (on first appearance) evidence in Deduro’s petition warranting the issuance of a writ of amparo.

“Labeling a person ‘red’ often comes with frequent surveillance, direct harassment, and in some instances, eventual death. As being associated with communists or terrorists makes the red-tagged person a target of vigilantes, paramilitary groups, or even State agents, it is easy to understand why a person may fear that being red-tagged puts their life and security at risk,” the SC wrote.

Makabayan Bloc member, ACT Teachers party-list Rep. France Castro, has since lauded the landmark decision.

“We commend the Supreme Court for this courageous decision that protects the rights of activists, human rights defenders, and ordinary citizens from harassment, intimidation, and violence,” Castro said.

Castro urged the government to immediately act to stop the red-tagging of individuals and organizations, appealing to the House of Representatives to take concrete steps by passing House Bill 1152

“The struggle for human rights and justice is far from over, but this decision is a significant step forward. We will continue to fight for a society that values human life, dignity, and freedom,” Castro said

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