True mark of Elections 2022: Red-tagging the Marcos-Duterte tandem’s opposition and violence against the people who fight against Marcos-Arroyo-Duterte faction’s dominion
Cronies and puppets of the US-Duterte regime’s attacks against all their political rivals are of the dirtiest kind. To ensure the seat of power for the Marcos-Duterte tandem, the Marcos-Arroyo-Duterte faction touts the red-tagging of their opponents in the upcoming May 2022 elections. Because the revolutionary movement stands as the beacon of struggle against the bureaucrat capitalists’ avarice, they are attempting to connect all their political opponents to progressive groups and the CPP-NPA-NDF – from Leni Robredo, candidate for presidency, to candidates vying for local positions.
By this tactic, firstly, they appear to criminalize affiliation to legitimate progressive organizations in an attempt to weed out popular support and isolate these organizations. Secondly, this spells danger as the people’s experiences show that baseless red-tagging is as good as a death warrant. The public fully knows that for the bloodhound AFP-PNP and its agents, malicious red-tags are enough basis for individuals to be targeted by their threats and killings.
In Bikol, one such example is the fear of incumbent Catanduanes Vice Governor Shirley Abundo, gubernatorial candidate under the banner of Aksyon Demokratiko, of the implications of her being affiliated to the progressive organization Gabriela. Despite the fact that even according to the reactionary government’s own laws, it is not illegal nor of violation of any law if she is indeed a member or an ally of the said legitimate group. Because of the actual experience of the region, bespeaking the military and police’s utter disregard of rights in their killing frenzy, electoral candidates such as Abundo are forced to distance themselves lest they be targeted and met with violations of their human rights.
Incumbent Sorsogon Vice Governor Manuel “Wowo” Fortes, running for a congress seat for 2nd district Sorsogon under Lacson’s Nacionalista Party Coalition, rival party of the Marcos-Duterte faction, also suffer from harassment and intimidation of connections to the revolutionary movement. Even supposed Duterte allies such as incumbent Cawayan Mayor Edgar Condor, who is running for another term as mayor under PDP-Laban, fell victim to the incessant red-tagging in Masbate.
Other candidates running in opposition of the current administration also face various forms of intimidation. Some of them are Bernie Patiag, candidate for councilor for the town of Talisay, Camarines Norte under the Aksyon Demokratiko party and Jun Alegre, independent candidate for provincial board member for Albay’s 2nd district. Both of them are members of the press who are currently experiencing intimidation and threats against their safety and livelihood from the hands of their political opponents.
What is laughable is that in their frantic bid to whitewash their schemes, the police and military sells the ridiculous narrative that progressive organizations and the revolutionary movement are behind the threats and red-tagging. Who in their right minds would believe that individuals and organizations would red-tag themselves and knowingly put their own safety in the mercy of the savage military and police?
It is undeniable that the Duterte faction’s indiscriminate branding of all its political opponents and even some of its allies gives it reason to eliminate all hindrances to its continual domination. This is no different from the attacks, bastardization of rights and assassination of all red-tagged ordinary citizens who denounce US-Duterte regime’s anti-people policies. This is the reality of the many progressive leaders arrested, charged with trumped-up cases, imprisoned or killed in Bikol.
However, red-tagging victims must not cower in fear but instead must awaken to the fact that the US-Duterte regime does nothing except kill and remove all obstacles to his desire to remain in power. Those who sincerely want to serve the people must realize the need to oust Duterte and make him accountable for his thousands of crimes against the people. Even those who are allies of the Duterte faction must understand that blindly following the tyrant will not guarantee their safety. The dictator is ready to destroy and betray anyone. These Duterte allies must sever their ties from the MAD faction and join the ranks of the Filipino people.
The reactionaries have long been trying to smear the people’s struggle. But it never succeeds as the masses only hold on tighter to their own strength as their weapon to finally save themselves from the quandary of poverty. For the people who struggle, the color red is the color of hope. This is the only color they yearn to see in the east where the sun shall rise as they attain genuine victory.