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Nationwide round-up (12/08/20)

MEMBERS of youth groups picket outside the Ombudsman’s office on December 7 during the filing of charges against military forces for alleged continued red-tagging. — PHILIPPINE STAR/MICHAEL VARCAS

Makabayan bloc to Duterte: Take your public accusations to court

PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte should file a formal complaint before the court instead of repeatedly tagging progressive lawmakers and other individuals as armed communist movement members in his public speeches, a progressive bloc in the House of Representatives said Tuesday. In his televised address Monday night, Mr. Duterte again hit on BayanMuna Party-list Rep. and House Minority Deputy leader Carlos Isagani T. Zarate, saying the latter’s “act” is “the act of a soldier NPA (New People’s Army).” The NPA is the armed group of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP). The Makabayan bloc, in response, said the President “cannot be allowed to pass” and perpetuate “a flawed and dangerous legal theory” which “erases any distinction between the legal and illegal, the unarmed activists and armed rebels.” The bloc is composed of six lawmakers from BayanMuna, Gabriela, ACT Teachers, and Kabataan. “Pres. Duterte and his ilk do not have any credible evidence against us, because if so they would have gone to court a long time ago,” they said, “He is a lawyer and he knows that, but he continues to ignore what the law dictates and imposes his own self-serving perspective on everyone.” National Security Adviser Hermogenes C. Esperon, Jr. earlier said the government would move to disqualify the left-leaning lawmakers from the elections in 2022 for their failure to condemn the alleged atrocities of the NPA. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

Bill seeks programs for incarcerated parents and their children

A MEASURE seeking to institutionalize a program for incarcerated parents and their children has been filed at the House of Representatives. ACT Teachers Party-list Rep. France L. Castro filed House Bill No. 8153, titled Parents in Jail Act, which tasks the Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD) to confer with incarcerated parents on various options available “in relation to the care and custody of their minor children.” The bill states, “After arraignment and upon plea of guilty, the court shall inquire from the accused if the latter has any minor children and in whose custody the minor children are.” The bill also mandates the court to give an appropriate warning of the “special consequences concerning the parental rights of the accused that may result from a plea of guilty or conviction, especially the loss of parental authority. The proposed law also provides for the creation of a “Coordinating Body” that will be composed of representatives from the DSWD, Department of Justice, Bureau of Corrections, and Department of Health. This body will be tasked to come up with “specific procedures for the placement of children of the accused or for infants born to women already incarcerated in state prisons,” among other responsibilities. The bill also mandates the establishment of child-friendly prison facilities and the creation of visitation opportunities for solo parents and children. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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