By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — The minority bloc on Wednesday condemned the red-tagging of Senate employees union as they denounced government officials who continue to label, brand, vilify and harass individuals and organization such as SENADO as state enemies and subversives.
In a joint statement issued by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, Senators Risa Hontiveros, Leila De Lima and Francis Pangilinan, it said that they can attest that the SENADO union never acted as “eyes and ears of the CPP-NPA-NDF in the Senate to hijack plans and programs of the government.”
“We strongly condemn the red-tagging of the union of Senate employees and we vehemently denounce government officials who continue to label, brand, vilify, and harass individuals and organizations such as SENADO as state enemies and subversives,” they said.
They said that these are dangerous allegations to make.
“Hindi lang ito pag-atake at paninira nang walang batayan sa mga empleyado, kundi mismong sa institusyon ng Senado na kanilang kinakatawan,” they said.
The statement said that the Sandigan ng mga Empleyadong Nagkakaisa sa Adhikain ng Demokratikong Organisasyon or SENADO is a legitimate union of employees in the Senate.
Through SENADO, it said, three Collective Negotiations Agreement (CNA) had been negotiated on behalf of the Senate employees with previous senate presidents, including Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon, who led the chamber for over eight years.
“SENADO union upholds the interest and welfare of Senate employees, not of any other groups,” they said.
The statement said that like COVID-19, we must prevent red-tagging from further spreading. “Thus, we find it unfortunate and utterly deplorable that there are officials who resort to red-tagging.”
“National Intelligence Coordinating Agency director-general Alex Paul Monteagudo and Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy’s malicious attacks on our employees must not be taken lightly,” it said.
They added:”The lack of general condemnation and a law which penalizes red-tagging as a crime embolden these government officials and only normalize this prevailing culture of red-tagging.”
“Hence, the Senate Minority calls for the immediate passage of Senate Bill 2121 or the proposed “Act Defining and Penalizing Red-Tagging”. We believe that the passage of this bill will serve as a deterrent against red-tagging. We should punish irresponsible officials who act as enablers of red-tagging,” they said. (AI/MTVN)