The National Intelligence Coordinating Agency has accused some government workers, including those belonging to the COURAGE labor group, of being members or supporters of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
In a radio interview, NICA director-general Alex Monteagudo said government agencies have been infiltrated by the CPP.
“We know who they are, that they are even party members, supporters of the CPP. But we also want them to know that we know,” Monteagudo said.
“They know that we know, that the security forces know who they are and we are watching them,” he added.
Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite, a former national president of the Confederation for Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees (COURAGE), said the “baseless” accusation has a “chilling effect” for labor groups and unions of government employees.
“This is not new. They’ve been making that false accusation since time immemorial, without any iota of evidence. COURAGE was established in 1986 and has remained at the forefront of pushing for the rights of government workers,” Gaite told Manila Standard in an interview.
“This is tantamount to a witch hunt. As long as you are critical of the government or you have a position that is contrary to that of the government, you can be easily red-tagged,” he added.
Monteagudo claimed communist supporters have been entrenched in various state agencies even before President Rodrigo Duterte took office in 2016.
“Reds have already infiltrated the government with their 52 years of existence. Almost all government agencies have been infiltrated in those 52 years,” the NICA chief said.
“Their primary function is to recruit more, to influence, to agitate and to indoctrinate and to act as eyes and ears of the CPP,” he added.
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra allayed fears over the perceived “vagueness” in the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, saying this has been sufficiently addressed in the implementing rules and regulation crafted by the inter-agency group led by the DOJ.
“Ambiguity in the law itself… has been given remedy by the IRR that was crafted by an inter-agency group led by the DOJ,” Guevarra said in a media briefing.
“We are hoping that with the IRR, the vagueness in the provisions of the law have been somehow remedied. We will leave it to the SC (Supreme Court) to resolve if the alleged vagueness has actually been remedied by the IRR,” he added.
The Justice Secretary made the statement after lawyers of the petitioners seeking to nullify the anti-terrorism law told justices of the Supreme Court during the oral arguments Tuesday about the vagueness of the definition of terrorism under the ATA.
The petitioners said the law deprives the people’s constitutional rights under the 1987 Constitution or in violation of the country’s international obligations.
The SC will resume its oral arguments on Tuesday next week on 37 petitions that challenged the constitutionality of RA 11479.
Former Vice President Jejomar Binay said the provisions of the law unless struck down by judicial intervention, could result in a democracy mangled beyond repair.
“They institutionalize curtailment of certain rights and legitimize draconian measures against citizens,” he said.
Binay, a human rights lawyer, said the wide discretion given to law enforcers who will implement ATA is like giving them a free pass to continue with their wanton ways, unbothered by accountability.
“Their personnel have been planting evidence and filing false charges against innocent civilians since time immemorial. They habitually abuse their authority over common citizens and have been involved in criminal activities. Of late, they have displayed an arrogant distaste for facts, denouncing groups and individuals as terrorists without offering proof or on the basis of wrong information. Publicly, they make veiled threats of inflicting physical harm,” he added.
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