Judge orders police to stop red-tagging activities

The Baguio City Regional Trial Court (RTC) ordered the police to stop its red-tagging activities against activists in the Cordilleras.

In an order issued Wednesday, March 24, Judge Emmanuel Cacho Rasing of the city’s RTC Branch 3 refrained the Philippine National Police (PNP) in the Cordilleras from further red-tagging and directed it to take down all its existing social media posts red-tagging activists.

“[W]hether the (PNP) Regional Office Cordillera is responsible, in one way or another, for the red-tagging complained of, it shall refrain during the pendency of this case from making any publication in social media or otherwise, which brands or tags petitioners and other organizations they belong, as stated in the petition, as communist terrorists, NPA/CPP (New People’s Army/Communist Party of the Philippines) fronts, NPA/CPP recruiters and other similar contents,” Judge Rasing ordered.

Judge Rasing likewise granted a hearing on the Writ of Amparo and temporary restraining order petition filed by activists Christian Dave Ruz of the Kabataan Party, Deanna Louisse Montenegro of the National Union of Students of the Philippines, University of the Philippines-Baguio Student Council chairperson Leandro Enrico Ponce and Keidy Transfiguracion of the Cordilleran Youth Center against PNP Cordillera and its controversial director B.Gen. Rwin Pagkalinawan on Monday.

Pagkalinawan earlier issued an extrajudicial shoot-to-kill order against activists in the region.

Human rights center Karapatan lauded Judge Rasing for his “immediate actions” on the youth’s petition.

“Such actions should be taken as examples on how courts should address in a relevant and timely manner the particular risks to life, security and liberty of human rights defenders,” Karapatan said in a statement.

The group said it hopes that the court would likewise consider expanding its orders to the taking down of similar materials in streets, workplaces, schools and communities; and to other government officials and offices in the region.

“We hope that the court will provide protections orders for the youth leaders and specify mechanisms for their protection,” Karapatan said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)