Armed Forces of the Philippines

AFP says sorry for red-tagging UP alumni, launches probe

Rambo Talabong

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AFP says sorry for red-tagging UP alumni, launches probe

PROTEST. Students, faculty members and the UP community hold a demonstration against the end of the UP-DND accord.

Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

The Armed Forces of the Philippines says 'personnel who are responsible will be held to account'
AFP says sorry for red-tagging UP alumni, launches probe

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) apologized for releasing a list that wrongfully red-tagged alumni of the University of the Philippines (UP), and launched an internal probe on Sunday evening, January 24.

“We sincerely apologize for those who were inadvertently affected by inconsistencies regarding the List of Students who joined the NPA (Died or Captured) that was posted in the AFP Information Exchange Facebook account,” its statement read, which was posted on Facebook.

The post was from the AFP Civil-Military Operations Office or J7, and announced that it has begun an “internal investigation” on how the list got published.

“Personnel who are responsible will be held to account,” the AFP said.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier called the mistake “unpardonable.”

Why does this matter?

The military released the names of 27 people without proper vetting, possibly putting their lives in danger amid a government crackdown on communists.

At least 7 of those named in the list joined a virtual briefing on Saturday, January 23, where they denounced the post. They are also considering filing a cyber libel complaint.

The military committed the gaffe despite vowing to be thorough with its validation processes as rights groups and lawyers warned of a trigger-happy implementation of the recently signed anti-terror law.

The law allows for the detention of people on mere suspicion without a warrant for as long as 24 days. –

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.