Research group IBON Foundation on Monday filed an administrative complaint against government officials before the Office of the Ombudsman for their “malicious” red-tagging of activists.
Sonny Africa, the foundation’s executive director, said the complaint is the first “landmark” case of red-tagging filed against the government.
Africa, along with board trustees chairperson Bishop Solito Toquero, sued Southern Luzon Command chief Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., former Armed Forces of the Philippines deputy chief of staff for civil military operations; Presidential Communications and Operations Office Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, urging Ombudsman Samuel Martires to hold them culpable for malicious abuse of authority and negligent performance of duties as public officials.
The complainants called on the Ombudsman to hold the accused liable for gross disregard of public interest; unprofessional, unjust and insincere; politically biased, unresponsive to the public, distorting nationalism and patriotism, and undemocratic.
They anchored their complaint on the Ombudsman Act of 1989 or Republic Act No. 6770, and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees or Republic Act No. 6713.
Earlier, they requested the Commission on Human Rights to look into the supposed violations of the involved government officials.
According to Africa, Badoy IBON a communist front on the “One News” program “The Chiefs” in January 2019 after their research head Rosario Guzman double-checked the PCOO’s “Duterte Legacy” information materials.
While in Australia in February 2019, Parlade hit IBON for alleged terrorist financing.
Parlade, along with Badoy, earned the wrath of IBON and other activist groups when they, during a Palace media briefing in February last year, also vilified IBON and “fabricated reports” for the United Nations and European Union, and “[radicalizing] students as young as seven years old to eventually become [Communist] cadres.”
In March 2019, Esperon tagged IBON as one of the non-government organizations backed by the Belgian government that “act as legal fronts for the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army.”
The group slammed the respondents AFP and National Security Council for supposed refusal to provide it with pieces with evidence.
In the complaint, IBON underscored how the government’s crackdown on progressive groups heightened following the issuance of Executive Order 70 in December 2018 creating the National Task Force to End Local Communism and Armed Conflict with the respondents as ex-officio members.
The group accused NTF-ELCAC of launching “a rabid vilification campaign against members of civil society by arbitrarily and unjustly branding them as fronts of the CPP-NPA, which President Rodrigo Duterte declared as “terrorists.”
“Its researches enjoy a reputation of being independent, evidence-based and credible. It is because of this reputation that its researches on social justice, real economic development, environmental sustainability, and democracy, among many others, are widely used by various non-government and people’s organizations in pursuit of their own advocacy work,” the complaint read.