THE House of Representatives on Tuesday, September 29, 2020, suspended the hearing on the proposed P1.59-billion budget of the Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) after lawmakers called out an official for red-tagging and urged that she be removed.
Minority Leader Bienvenido Abante and several other lawmakers called for the removal of Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy from the PCOO.
Abante made his call during the plenary deliberations of the proposed P4.506-trillion budget for 2021.
He and other members of the House also signed a statement on Monday, September 28, calling for Badoy’s removal.
Abante, for his part, said the red-tagging of the Makabayan bloc lawmakers by Badoy is "putting in jeopardy, not only the security, but more importantly the lives of sitting members of the House."
The lawmaker added that Badoy must be removed from PCOO over her "relentless attacks."
"These relentless attacks of Usec. Badoy through her social media platforms, which even incited her followers to issue threats of harm against sitting members of the House, are not acceptable to the Minority, and, we will not take it in stride or sitting down," Abante said.
Abante also asked PCOO to take down its social media posts that attack groups and individuals for criticizing government policies.
The lawmaker then moved for the deferment of the PCOO budget.
Meanwhile, a statement calling for Badoy’s removal was signed by, aside from Abante, Representatives Janette Garin, Jose Christopher Belmonte, Joseph Stephen Paduano, Carlos Zarate, Stella Quimbo, Bayani Fernando, Arlene Brosas, France Castro, Ferdinand Gaite, Irene Saulog, Eufemia Cullamat, and Sergio Dagooc.
Other signatories were Representatives Angelica Natasha Co, Lawrence Fortun, Sarah Jane Elago, Jose Singson Jr., Ma. Victoria Umali, Gabriel Bordado Jr., and Sharee Ann Tan.
"The PCOO has made use of its resources to peddle fake news, disinformation, and attacks on critics and the opposition, in an attempt to curtail dissent. In particular, it has used numerous statements in various media platforms falsely tagging as terrorists the members of the Makabayan bloc, who are members of the House minority," the statement read.
“At the forefront of these attacks is PCOO [Undersecretary] Lorraine Badoy. Her actions as an appointed government official do not uphold the basic Filipino core values and deliberately disrespects elected public officials who were mandated to serve their constituencies," it added.
Earlier, PCOO Martin Andanar refuted allegations that the agency and its attached agencies are being used to red-tag, a term for accusing political groups and other organizations of being communists and terrorists. (Jove Moya/SunStar Philippines)