Red-tagging not a crime in a democracy

Two badges of a functioning democracy are the exercise of free speech and the existence of press freedom.

Limited only by statutory restrictions on libel, obscenity, privacy, intellectual property rights, and national security, free speech and press freedom keep democracy alive and kicking in the Philippines.

The antithesis of democracy is communism. This godless ideology pretends to be a form of democracy, but is actually a totalitarian system that has no tolerance for free speech and press freedom, as well as any form of dissent among the people.

It has long been the desire and objective of the Communist Party of the Philippines, its armed wing called the New People’s Army, and its political bureau called the National Democratic Front (which is anything except democratic) to overthrow the duly-constituted government of the Republic of the Philippines.

The CPP-NPA-NDF, as the troika is commonly referred to in the media, has no regard for popular sovereignty, democratic institutions, and human rights.

As every student of Constitutional Law is aware, the State, like its citizens, has the inherent right to defend its existence. That is why the State, through Congress, enacts laws that prohibit treason, rebellion, insurrection, sedition, and similar crimes against the very existence of the government.

From the foregoing premises, it logically follows that every freedom-loving Filipino has the right, the duty even, to protect democracy against communists and all those opposed to democracy.

That right and duty necessarily include publicly expressing one’s indignation at anybody who is a communist or supports or sympathizes with communism.

For the record, the CPP-NPA-NDF troika also operates through front organizations such as party-list groups; press and lawyers associations; student and workers organizations; and “coalitions” of personalities troublesome and noisy enough to destabilize the government.

Communist sympathizers belong to the same category. They may not be manifest members of communist groups, but judging from their public acts and statements, it is almost as if they want the communists to succeed in destabilizing the government.

The big irony is that communists and their sympathizers, who want to install a totalitarian government intolerant of fundamental freedoms, exploit the rights of free speech, press freedom, and freedom of assembly to instigate public hatred for the duly-constituted government of the country.

Because of their clever exploitation of those fundamental rights, communists and their sympathizers can get away with calling the President of the Philippines a dictator, a crook, and a top violator of human rights in the country.

That marked advantage enjoyed by the communists and their sympathizers began to wither away under the administration of the staunchly anti-communist President Rodrigo Duterte, when anti-red government officials, political celebrities, and media practitioners began calling communists and communist sympathizers what they really are — reds or red sympathizers.

Instinctively, communists and communist sympathizers started making an issue out of it, to the extent of brainwashing the public that it is wrong to engage in what came to be called “red-tagging.”
Despite their angry reaction, communists and their sympathizers failed to show how and why red-tagging is unacceptable.

Truth to tell, they have no valid reason to protest red-tagging.

Quite frankly, red-tagging is not a crime. As pointed out above, every freedom-loving Filipino has the right and the duty to express his indignation at anybody who is a communist, or supports or sympathizes with communism.

Thus, even if a law is enacted outlawing red-tagging, that law is unconstitutional because it abridges free speech and press freedom.

The communists’ excuse that red-tagging exposes the person tagged as a communist to death threats from the military establishment is hogwash. Under the Constitution, it will take more than that imagined fear to validly curtail free speech.

As Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla aptly pointed out, red-tagging is a part of democracy. “If critics of the government can dish it out, then they should be able to take it, too.”

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