The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) condemns the alleged red-tagging of lawyers Roan Libarios, Alexander Padilla, and Rafael Angelo Aquino in a social media post with title “Some of the UP students who became NPA (died or captured)”.
In a press statement sent to Palawan News by the IBP through its national president Atty. Domingo Egon Cayosa on June 25, it said the list went viral after the Secretary of National Defense abrogated the University of the Philippines-Department of National Defense (UP-DND) agreement regulating the entry of police and military elements into the university campus.
“The named lawyers are not members of the New People’s Army (NPA). They were never captured. They are very much alive, not dead. They are responsible and respected Filipino lawyers who serve well our country in various capacities and meaningfully contribute to nation-building,” the IBP said.
Libarios is a past IBP national president and chairman of its 20th Board of Governors. He was editor-in-chief of the U.P. Collegian, vice governor of Agusan del Norte, congressman of the Second Legislative District of Agusan Del Norte, member of the GRP Peace Panel, member of the 2018 Consultative Committee on Charter Change.
Padilla was president of the U.P. Law Student Government, Assistant Secretary at the Department of Interior and Local Government, Commissioner of the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board, Commissioner of Customs, Undersecretary of Health, President of PhilHealth, GRP Chief Peace Negotiator.
Aquino was a U.P. student leader and is legal counsel of Rotary International District 3830, senior partner of a private law firm, and a volunteer lawyer of the Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG).
“IBP decries red-tagging as it compromises the security and safety of the subjects, besmirches their reputation, causes unwarranted risks, tension, and distress to their families, friends and loved ones. More importantly red-tagging is unfair, illegal, and disregards due process and the rule of law,” the statement said.
“IBP calls out misleading claims not only for the sake of its members but for all victims of similar red-tagging. If lawyers and people of stature are put in jeopardy because of red-tagging, we cannot disregard the terror and prejudice that it brings to ordinary citizens who have no means or opportunity to clear themselves as they are unduly threatened, attacked, or even killed by the misguided and unscrupulous,” it added.
The IBP is urging government authorities to right the wrong and set firm policies against red-tagging. It said it supports peace and order campaigns, all carried out in accordance with law and established legal processes, with due regard for the fundamental rights of citizens.
“False and reckless publications, shortcuts, and questionable means destroy the very rights, public interests, or principles that we all seek to protect. They weaken the state that we claim to defend,” it said.