Defying red-tagging, Kabataan submits intent to join 2022 party-list elections

Party-list group Kabataan filed with the Commission on Elections (Comelec) a manifestation of intent to participate in the 2022 party-list elections, Representative Sarah Elago said, defying efforts by the military to disqualify the organization through red-tagging.

Elago and members of the youth group went to the Comelec office in Manila on Friday, March 26, to signify their intent to join next year’s polls.

It came amid threats by the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) to seek the disqualification of left-leaning party-list groups due to their alleged communist ties.

Under Republic Act 7941 or the Party-List System Act, Comelec may cancel the registration of any organization if it advocates violence or unlawful means to achieve it goals.

Sa kabila ng banta ng disqualification, at matinding atake sa Kabataan, hindi kami papipigil na lumahok at manindigan,” Elago said in a statement on Friday. (The threat of disqualification and attacks against Kabataan won’t stop us from joining the polls and taking a stand.)

“To fight for health, aid, education, jobs and justice now is a matter of survival amid the pandemic and the climate and human rights emergencies,” she added.

Earlier in March, women’s party-list group Gabriela filed its own manifestation of intent to join the 2022 elections, saying it was an act of protest against NTF-ELCAC’s disqualification efforts against them.

National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr, who also serves as vice chairperson of the NTF-ELCAC, said in December 2020 that party-list groups from the Makabayan bloc should be barred from joining future elections for failing to condemn the violent attacks of the New People’s Army, the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).

Even President Rodrigo Duterte, in a televised address in November 2020, claimed without evidence that the Makabayan bloc lawmakers in the House of Representatives were legal fronts of the CPP.

The left-leaning lawmakers however have constantly pushed back amid red-baiting and the threats of disqualification against them.

Bayan Muna party chairman Neri Colmenares also warned in December 2020 that the NTF-ELCAC's efforts to bar them from future elections may be an attempt to cripple the opposition in the 2022 polls. – Rappler.com