FACT CHECK: Justification of “political vlogger” on red-tagging vs news outfits is misleading

Aug. 29, 2022

CLAIM: Coach Jarret, a YouTube vlogger who describes himself as a “career coach, talent development advocate, and political vlogger,” has justified the “red-tagging” and the blocking of access to the websites of several groups, including alternative news outfits, Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly.

His video, entitled “HAHABULIN KAYA NG BAGONG NTF ELCAC NI SEC CARLOS ANG BULATLAT?” (Will the NTF ELCAC under its new head Sec. Carlos go after Bulatlat?), which was uploaded last July 14 got over 24,000 views and 162 comments, while the shortened version on Facebook generated 11,000 views.

His channel was first published in October 2018 and currently has 195,000 subscribers.

The vlogger cited the June 6 memorandum of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) upon the request of former National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., as well as a June 22 CNN news article when the memo was publicized. He also quoted a July 13 Philstar news, entitled “Court rejects Bulatlat.com’s plea to unblock access to website; trial to proceed.”

In his 49 minutes and 38 seconds video, Coach Jarret said the articles published in Bulatlat and Pinoy Weekly are either “anti-Marcos or anti-government.”

He also interpreted Bulatlat’s statement on the NTC memo, which said it “has caused irreparable damage to our constitutional rights since our website remains inaccessible to significant segments of our audiences”.

“Ano po ang ibig sabihin. Wala nang makakita na ordinaryong Pilipino.Ang nakakakita nalang nito yung mga estudyante na magaling sa teknolohiya pero yung mga audience namin—yung kailangan naming bolahin ay hindi na nila makita.’Yon ang ibig sabihin”, he said.

He added, “Sana magtuloy-tuloy yung kaso, yun nalang ang wish ko, mga kaibigan. Sana magtuloy-tuloy tong kaso na to. Sana. Para ma-expose na talaga silang tuloyan”.

In the same video, the vlogger disagreed with Sec. Clarita Carlos, a former professor and incoming National Security Adviser, who said she wants to put a stop to red-tagging.

Coach Jarret said that there’s nothing wrong in calling someone as a “communist” and red-tagging “is not a crime.”

“Hindi mali na ipakita na may koneksyon sila sa underground movement. The more na hindi sila ini-expose, the more na dadami sila. It’s a political strategy,” he said.



While Esperon cited the Anti-Terrorism Act to justify the arbitrary blocking, Bulatlat has argued that it is neither a designated terrorist entity nor an organization affiliated to one.

In a decision dated August 11, Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 306 granted Bulatlat’s plea for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction to temporarily suspend the NTC memo.

Rappler.com reported Judge Dolly Rose Bolante-Prado’s explanation on the decision that said Bulatlat “was able to prove that it has a ‘clear and unmistakable’ right to be protected by the Constitution under the freedom of speech and of the press.”

As an alternative media organization, Bulatlat has published stories since 2001 that seek “to reflect the people’s views and stand on issues that affect their lives and their future.”

Being “Left” is not a crime, after Philippine laws on subversion have long been repealed. And as the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility emphasized, it is important to correct the “inclination of some Filipinos to regard any Leftist tendencies or sympathetic leanings for Communist ideology as deserving of judicial examination and even punishment, and thus accept red-tagging.”

Human Rights Watch also said that red-tagging is a “pernicious practice that targets people who often end up being harassed or even killed.”

Davao Today is part of #FactsFirstPH which brings together various sectors that are committed to promoting truth in the public space, and exacting accountability on those who harm it with lies. For those interested to join the initiative, email info@factsfirst.ph.

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