The Senate employees union and several Senators condemned National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) director general Alex Paul Monteagudo and communication secretary Lorraine Badoy’s latest anti-communist witch-hunt.
The Sandigan ng mga Empleyadong Nagkakaisa sa Adhikain ng Demokratikong Organisasyon (SENADO) said Monteagudo’s allegation it exists as the eyes and ears of Communist groups in the Senate was malicious, baseless and dangerous that endangers the lives of its leaders.
“We are apprehensive that our leaders will now be the subject of vilification, harassment, arrest as they did to other union leaders affiliated with COURAGE (Confederation for the Unity, Recognition and Advancement of Government Employees) and, worse, killing which is happening now against unionists,” SENADO said.
The group said it believes it is being attacked for condemning earlier red-tagging activities by government agencies against legitimate public sector unions.
SENADO demanded that Monteagudo take down his post and apologize to all Senate official and employees “for his disrespect and profanity directed to the institution that is the stalwart of democracy and human rights.”
In a Facebook post, Monteagudo alleged that the Senate union serves as the eyes and ears of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front of the Philippines to hijack government projects and plans.
Communications secretary Lorraine Badoy also red-tagged the union in a column published by the Philippine News Agency.
Senators have come to the defense of the union.
Senate President Vicente Sotto III said he should know if the union is hijacking the government from within.
“[Monteagudo]) must have been misinformed. I would be the first to sense of such if ever. I’ve been there (in the Senate) since 1992,” Sotto said.
He lauded SENADO for having led the passage of three Collective Negotiating Agreements for Senate employees’ rights and benefits.
Four opposition senators also condemned Monteagudo and Badoy’s allegations as “dangerous.”
“These are not just baseless attacks and vilification against the employees but against the institution of the Senate they represent,” minority bloc senators Franklin Drilon, Francis Pangilinan, Risa Hontiveros and Leila de Lima said in a statement.
The four senators pressed for the passage of Senate Bill 2121, or the proposed “Act Defining and Penalizing Red-Tagging”.
COURAGE meanwhile said its ranks will not back down under such repeated attacks and vowed to work harder for wage increases, job security, union rights and democratic and nationalist governance. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)