‘Anti-communist task force has no credibility to destroy’ – rights lawyer

“Release your incontrovertible evidence in public.”


MANILA – Human rights lawyer Maria Sol Taule told the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy to release to the public their evidence on a purported intelligence report implicating her to be behind a so-called committee that aims to spread lies against the government’s counterinsurgency arm.

Dubbed as “Oplan Delta”, Badoy alleged that they have received an intelligence report, saying that activist Nathaniel Santiago was also behind this plan, where they will “create the most outrageous lies with the goal of inflicting the most damage on the spokesperson assigned to that committee in a bid to destroy our credibility.”

“Badoy thinks she can conveniently turn tables by shifting the burden of proof on everyone she red tags based on her sloppy ‘intel’ work, make believe stories and grand hallucinations of things that neither happened nor existed,” Taule said, adding that she “should not flatter herself because no one needs to discredit the NTF-ELCAC which has no credibility to begin with.”

The human rights lawyer said Badoy has consistently red-tagged her and groups that are critical of President Duterte even without concrete and credible evidence.

“Like previous cases of documented violations, this practically makes us open targets of arbitrary arrests, planting of evidence, filing of fabricated criminal charges and worst, killings,” Taule said.

Meanwhile, Karapatan decried the red-tagging of Taule, who happens to be their legal counsel, as well as Santiago, Makabayan secretary general.

Karapatan said that NTF-ELCAC is “better known for the lies and fabrications it has concocted and kept on recycling to vilify and demonize Karapatan and others advocating truth and are critical of the Duterte government.”

Under the Duterte administration, the government has presented the likes of the “Red October” plot and a matrix – both alleging that critics and progressives are working on overthrowing the president. These were later proven to be unfounded.

“Not so curiously, its so-called ‘intelligence’ report stupidly tagged Karapatan as a ‘party-list group.’ That alone speaks of the level of intelligence and information trustworthiness that the NTF-ELCAC has — NADA,” the group said.

This, they added, “is another preparation of the public’s mind for such gross violations of the rights of social activists, human rights defenders, peace advocates, public interest lawyers, media people and elements of the Church protecting their flock — such as extra-judicial killings, arrests, torture and detention, enforced disappearance and so many others,”

Santiago on the other hand said that he will consult with the lawyers of Makabayan Coalition and the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers for legal actions against Badoy and officials of the NTF-ELCAC.

He also said that his house was ransacked twice, on Mayo 30, 2019 and on Enero 26, 2020; his laptop and cellphones were stolen. He suspects that state agents were the culprits.

“I am the secretary general of Bayan Muna and Makabayan for the last 20 years,” Santiago said.

Various groups have been calling for the abolition of the NTF-ELCAC as it uses government resources to heighten hate speech against activists and dissenters. Progressives have long pointed out that red-tagging leads to graver rights abuses, as seen in the case of slain activist Zara Alvarez.

Meanwhile, Taule vowed to continue her work as an activist and human rights lawyer with utmost fervor even with imminent threats and harassment coming from no less than the government.

“No amount of threats and harassment from the NTF-ELCAC or Duterte will stop me,” Taule said. (JJE, RTS) (https://www.bulatlat.com)

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