AFP Interfers With Elections and Red-Tags Partylists
The national democratic youth partylist, Kabataan, has decried the dangerous practice of “red-tagging” by the Armed Forces of the Philippines:
Kabataan Partylist condemned the intensified red-tagging and smear campaign being conducted by military operatives, most notably in the provinces, a few weeks before the upcoming elections.
Organizers in several regional chapters including Baguio City obtained printed materials tagging the youth partylist as a front of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army. These materials were distributed by “men in plain clothes with notable similar military haircuts” and signed by a so-called “P4P Movement,” a group closely associated with intelligence officers of the military, according to Cielo Marie Bayson, Kabataan Partylist Baguio City Coordinator.
The said group was also reported to be distributing similar flyers that vilify Makabayan senatorial candidate Teddy Casiño.
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the continued vilification of progressive partylists and candidates, particularly Kabataan, by suspected elements of the military. This shows that despite touted reforms in the military, the mercenary culture remains in their ranks,” said Kabataan Partylist President Terry Ridon.
“Red-tagging progressive partylists is an old trick of military lapdogs to discredit genuine representatives of the marginalized and underrepresented like Kabataan. Clearly, backward elements in the Armed Forces of the Philippines have yet to understand that being progressive does not equate to being a rebel; that legal democratic organizations are far different from armed rebel groups,” Ridon added.
The youth leader noted that in past elections, such smear campaign was also conducted by the AFP, resulting to several human rights violations against members and volunteers. “The military not only distributes black propaganda, but literally conducts a terror campaign in the countryside to force our countrymen not to vote for partylists that genuinely represent them,” Ridon added.
“Even if the Aquino administration masquerades as a pro-peace and humanitarian government, it is continuously using dirty tactics such as red-tagging to vilify staunch critics of the government and strong opponents of the administration ticket like Teddy Casiño,” Ridon said.
“Despite the military’s intensified smear campaign against Kabataan, we firmly believe that the public knows better. Our track record of service for the youth and the Filipino people disproves any false claims floated by military henchmen,” Ridon ended.