PNP disavows tarp outside Capas station red-tagging Bayan Muna rep

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
PNP disavows tarp outside Capas station red-tagging Bayan Muna rep
Undated photo shows a poster outside the Capas Municipal Police Station in Tarlac red-tagging House Deputy Speaker Carlos Zarate.
Bayan Muna Party-list

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine National Police on Monday said it had nothing to with a tarapulin hung outside a police station in Tarlac that accused a sitting congressman of communist ties, saying it cannot keep an eye on people putting streamers up on its wall.

In a letter of complaint furnished to the Civil Service Commission and the Office of the Ombudsman, Bayan Muna legal counsel Ericson dela Cruz cited the case of local police from Capas who allegedly placed a tarpaulin in front of their headquarters red-tagging Zarate and linking him to the communist armed struggle.

Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said he "strongly denounced the continuing red-tagging by police elements who are unlawfully engaged in partisan political acts."

In a statement sent to reporters, the PNP referred to "the tarpaulin displayed in front of the Capas Municipal Police Station in Tarlac that prompted Bayan Muna party-list Representative Carlos Zarate to release a statement."

"The Police Station is located inside the Capas LGU compound that’s making it difficult to monitor the movement of people," the PNP said. 

"The police has no control [over] those who are responsible [for] mounting the said tarpaulin especially [since] it was placed on the outer portion of the gated police station."

Zarate also called on the Comelec as well as the PNP to investigate the matter and put a stop to such practices. A copy of the letter was also sent to the local chief of police.

Police Gen. Dionardo Carlos, PNP chief, reiterated that the national police organization does not allow its personnel to use its facilities for political or social statements or towards disrespecting anyone. 

"The PNP vows to investigate the matter as it attempts to tarnish the reputation of the police organization," he said. "Rest assured, our main goal is to promote peace and order to the communities we serve."

READ: Labeling dissent as rebellion 'institutionalized, normalized' in Philippines — UN report

Carlos said nothing about the practice of red-tagging or the fact that other police stations and accounts online have shared and even produced red-tagging content. 

The PNP has a well-documented history of baselessly accusing activists of being affiliated with armed rebels, despite some content being against the PNP's own social media rules. 

Past chiefs of police have spoken out against the practice, saying it is "unauthorized" among members of the national police. But to this day, no police officers have been held accountable for red-tagging. 

The Commission on Human Rights has warned that the practice of red-tagging, which has increased in 2020, "violates the constitutional guarantee of presumption of innocence and may have serious implications on the security and movement of individuals and groups involved."

— with a report from James Relativo




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