DOJ takes down report uploaded on website that red-tagged lawmakers

(Philstar.com) – October 21, 2020 – 5:43pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Justice has taken down from its website the report that falsely tagged incumbent minority lawmakers as representing party-lists created by the Communist Party of the Philippines.

“I have given instructions for the removal of ‘The [Philippine] Human Rights Situationer’ from the DOJ website a few weeks ago,” Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra told reporters Wednesday.

“If it’s still up there, we’ll take it down immediately,” he added.

As of writing time, the link to the report cannot be accessed from the website.

Part of the said report read: “In Congress, three resolutions were filed by known [Communist Party of the Philippines]-created party-lists, namely, Bayan Muna, Anakpawis, Gabriela and the Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) calling for the abolition of E.O. 70.”

The DOJ earlier said that the report was collated by the Department of Foreign Affairs, while information came from different Philippine government agencies. It was uploaded on its website upon request of the DFA to disseminate the report.

DOJ review

The DOJ promised lawmakers at the House of Representatives that it will review the said report that was uploaded on its website during the department’s budget hearing.

Rep. Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna) took exception to the report, as he told the DOJ officials: “We are not created by the CPP. Bayan Muna, ACT teachers, Gabriela—we are legally-registered party… We are duly elected by our constituencies.”

The lawmaker asked if red-tagging has become a policy of the department, the very agency where groups run to file criminal complaints and seek legal remedies.

Zarate pressed: “Does this mean that the department now would ignore complaints against red-tagging, and even crackdown since according to this framework that you also uploaded in your website, which you are also a part of, we are created by the CPP-[New Peoples Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines]?” 

Guevarra then said: “As far as the Department of Justice is concerned, we do not have such policy as red-tagging or something like that.” — Kristine Joy Patag

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