CLAIM: A Facebook (FB) post by Pagbabago Philippines last April 12 claimed that the country has been ran by Joma Sison since 1986 and the government is not doing anything to stop it.
The post contains four photos: Presidential candidate Leni Robredo holding a symbolic bolo during a campaign rally, a Robredo supporter holding a pink clenched fist effigy, and two screenshots of Gabriela Women’s (GWP) Party’s FB post on the 291st birthday celebration of Philippine heroine Gabriela Silang.
Bearing the caption “THIS HAS TO END. VERY SAD PHILIPPINES. RAN BY JOMA SISON SINCE 1986. LADLARAN NA. MISMONG BATA MAY HAWAK NG FIST NG KUMUNISTA AND THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT DOING ANYTHING TO STOP THIS”, the post associated the clenched fist to that of the Communists.
The page has 4,157 followers and the post has generated 161 reactions, 48 comments and 38 shares as of Apr. 24.
In 1848, Honoré Daumier’s painting, The Uprising, was one of the earliest examples of a political clenched fist that was inspired by the French Revolution. In 1917, the clenched fist was used on posters created by the Industrial Workers of the World and has since been associated with the workers movements.
Here in the Philippines, during the Cry of Pugad Lawin, Filipinos tore their cedulas and clenched their fists in defiance to the country’s allegiance to Spain. During the February 1986 uprising in EDSA, Filipinos united and raised their fists to topple the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos Sr.
Throughout the years and across the world, the clenched fist served as a symbol of defiance and solidarity against oppression, fascism, and racism, among others. It is neither used by nor a symbol of the Communists alone.
Meanwhile, Vice President Robredo has decried the latest efforts to link her to the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) and described the false reports as a ploy to stop the “momentum” of her campaign.
GWP’s posts, on the other hand, were a tribute to Gabriela Silang, the Joan of Arc of Ilocandia, who led the independence movement in Ilocos from Spain. GWP is a party-list representing Filipino women in the House of Representatives.
WHY IT MATTERS?
The post by Pagbabago Philippines tries to establish the link between the Communist movement and Robredo and GWP as they campaign for the 2022 national elections.
Red-tagging is defined by Oxford Dictionary as the harassment or persecution of a person because of “known or suspected communist tendencies”.
“Red tagging is a death sentence as many of those named have either been extra-judicially killed or arrested and detained for criminal charges,” said Dr. Imelda Deinla, a professor of Criminology and researcher of Law and Politics and Conflict and Justice in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.
Deinla is also an Honorary Fellow at the School of Regulation and Global Governance at the Australian National University.
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