Apr 29, 2021 @ 11:16

Guevarra: Duterte’s prerogative to certify bill criminalizing red-tagging as urgent

It’s President Duterte’s prerogative to certify as urgent a bill criminalizing red-tagging in the country, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra on Thursday admitted.

“The proponent of any legislative act may ask for priority consideration of his/her bill if he/she believes in its urgency. On the other hand, the Chief Executive has the discretion whether or not to certify any bill as urgent, depending on the exigencies and priorities laid out in the administration’s legislative agenda,” Guevarra said.

Just the other day, Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon urged President Rodrigo Duterte to certify the bill criminalizing “red-tagging” as urgent.

“With the opinion of the Secretary of Justice, we urge President Duterte to certify as urgent the passage of Senate Bill 2121 which we filed to punish red-tagging by state agents,” Drilon said.

Guevarra previously said that Congress should pass a law criminalizing red-tagging, which progressive groups and individuals have been opposing, claiming this was endangering their lives and their family members.

He made the statement Tuesday after Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez proposed that the National Bureau of Investigation to probe the alleged red-tagging of community pantry organizers.

“I will discuss the matter with the NBI ASAP. It would be best, however, that the Congress enact a law clearly defining and expressly penalizing what is loosely called today as red-tagging,” Guevarra said.

Rodriguez lamented the closure of several community pantries in the country due to fear of red-tagging.

Some of the community pantries that closed due to said red-tagging are from his city, said Rodriguez.

“There is a need to look into the red-tagging activities and put a stop to it if it results in good ideas like community pantries are being forced to close down,” Rodriguez said.

“Now therefore be it resolved, by the House of Representatives to direct the Commission on Human Rights and the National Bureau of Investigation to investigate the red-tagging of organizers of community pantries,” he added

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