Sotto sees veto on any bill criminalizing red-tagging

President Rodrigo Duterte will just exercise his veto powers on any bill criminalizing red-tagging.

This was the belief of Senate President Vicente Sotto III as his latest meeting with the Chief Executive focused on ending the decades-long insurgency problem in the country.

In a radio interview Sunday, Sotto told legislators and luminaries can try to push for the proposal to criminalize red-tagging only after Duterte’s administration.

Any bill that will push for the criminalization of red-tagging will also get a slim chance in the Senate.

“Walang pag-asa… Malabong malabo. Una sa lahat mahihirapan sa amin (ipasa ‘yan.) Mahirap i-define at sasabihin class legislation ‘yan,” he said.

“Pangalawa, pumasa man sa amin yan, ang opinion ko 100 percent ibi-veto ng Presidente ‘yan. Maghintay na lang sila ng ibang presidente,” he added.

Sotto insisted that criminalizing red-tagging will be “unfair” to those who were called “fascists” or those who were name-called.

Approving this bill will only protect those who were identified as communists, Sotto said.

For him, this will not favor those being targeted by communist rebels who likewise get the same death threats.

Sotto recalled his meeting with Duterte last Tuesday where he brought up the proposals to criminalize red-tagging.

The Senate chief said Duterte laughed at this proposal. He, however, refused to interpret the President’s reaction on the matter.

“Ewan ko. Siguro, pareho kami ng thinking. Name-calling na lang i-criminalize mo. It cuts both ways. Ang problema sa isa lang sila nakatingin di nila nakikita yung other side (ng problema),” he said.

Sotto also expressed confidence in the testimonies and the documents presented by the alleged former rebels who testified before the Senate Committee on Defense’s hearings.

He asked the public not to be hasty in making conclusions on the recent Senate hearings as the committee report will include the documents that will back the alleged ex-rebels claims that some militant groups are connected to the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

“Basahin muna natin bago natin i-sunod ang recommendations ng armed-chair critics na hindi naman kasali sa nalugmok at mga hindi naman nagkakaroon ng ika nga e pakikibaka sa sundalo tapos makinig dun sa mga galing sa ex-rebels. Firsthand (information ‘yun) di sila hearsay. Hindi kwentong kutsero,” he said.

The Senate Committee on National Defense has recently ended its series of hearings on the military’s red-tagging of certain personalities and militant groups.

Senator Panfilo Lacson, who led the hearings being the chair of the said Senate committee, previously said he strongly considers the recommendations to criminalize red-tagging.

This, however, get early disapproval from Malacañang.

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