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Palace bucks Lacson proposal to criminalize red-tagging

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President Rodrigo Duterte just laughed at Senator Panfilo Lacson’s earlier statement that the state should consider criminalizing red-tagging.

In his online program, “Counterpoint,” Presidential Legal Adviser Salvador Panelo said the President has likened Lacson’s proposal to efforts to penalize individuals who are giving distinctive description to a person.

“The President laughed. According to the President, if you will allow Lacson’s proposal to criminalize name-calling, if you call a person fascist, will this be considered a criminal act, just like those who are calling a person a narcissist, the yellow or dilawans,” Panelo noted.

Lacson, who chairs the Senate national defense and security committee, said that red-tagging, or the branding of government critics as communists, or enemies of the state, could be declared a criminal act.

Panelo also supported the position of Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III that individuals can instead file a case against those involved in red-tagging.

“If you are offended by the name-calling, file a case of libel,” Panelo added.

At the same time, Panelo maintained that being a communist is not a crime.

“First being a communist is not a crime, so what’s wrong when you are tagged as a communist,” he said.

Panelo also acknowledged the sincerity of Lacson.

“You know, Ping Lacson is always sincere in his actions, let us credit him for that,” Panelo added.

On the other hand, he criticized members of the Makabayan bloc after denying their connection to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

“They kept on reacting if being classified as communist, or in support of the CPP-NPA but they also refused to condemn them, so there is a reason for tagging you or classifying you as a communist,” he said.

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