IBON Foundation accuses gov’t officials of red-tagging

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    BY PETER J. G. TABINGO
    and VICTOR REYES

    ADMINISTRATIVE complaints were filed yesterday before the Office of the Ombudsman against Army Maj. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, and Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy by the research group IBON Foundation for alleged abuse of authority and misconduct in office.

    IBON said the move came “after a year of constant vilification by the respondents” starting February 2019 with a red-tagging road show in Europe culminating with a press briefing in Malacañang Palace in March 2019.

    Parlade, chief of the Southern Luzon Command, reiterated the foundation is a front organization of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army.

    Parlade said its “clear” IBON is a front group of the communist movement based on books it published for the communists.

    “What do you call an organization who publishes books that radicalize children and incite them to rebel against their government? What do you call a foundation who propagates fake stories of massacre committed by the AFP to promote hatred to the government?” said Parlade.

    “What will you expect from school manuals with editorial board members who are spouses of CPP cadres and NPA members? What do you call organizations which are members of the International League of Peoples Struggle chaired by Jose Ma Sison, founder and chair of the CPP, which is declared a terrorist organization by the US, UK, NZ, Australia, the EU and the Philippines?” he added.

    IBON, in a statement, said it “maintains that it is nothing more than a SEC-registered foundation that publishes its socio-political-economic analysis for all the public to see. Its researches enjoy a reputation of being independent, evidence-based, and credible.”

    It also said the respondents have acted with “gross disregard of the public interest, unprofessional, unjust and insincere, politically biased and undemocratic (manner) unresponsive to the public, distorting nationalism and patriotism.”

    It said the respondents accused IBON of radicalizing students as young as seven years old to eventually become communist cadres.

    They said Esperon, in March last year, named IBON as among non-government organizations supported by the Belgian government that “act as legal fronts for the CPP-NPA.”

    Most recently, IBON cited Badoy’s accusations that IBON is a communist front, which she said at One News program ‘The Chiefs’ just last month.

    This was after IBON research head Rosario Guzman cited inaccuracies in the “Duterte Legacy” issued by the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

    It said Parlade also made allegations against IBON for supposed involvement in terrorist financing.

    The IBON complaint was signed by executive director Sonny Africa and Board of Trustees chairperson Bishop Solito Toquero.

    Africa said they also sought preventive suspension against the three respondents and, if warranted upon completion of the administrative proceedings, dismissal from service with forfeiture of all benefits.

    “Bad behavior should be punished, and Major General Antonio Parlade, Jr., Presidential Communications and Operations Office Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon have been behaving badly,” the complaint said.

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