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The Senate will start on Nov. 3, Tuesday, its investigation into alleged red-tagging activities by the military against certain personalities and groups.

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said this Thursday after seeking the opinion of Senate President Vicente Sotto III, who said it is in the exercise of the Senate’s oversight function.

“After seeking the opinion of SP Sotto on Senate Resolution 559, he said, since it is in the exercise of the Senate’s oversight function, first reading in plenary may be waived, or not necessary. First public hearing is scheduled next week, Nov. 3,” Lacson, who chairs the Senate’s defense committee, said in a tweet.

On Wednesday, Lacson filed Senate Resolution 559, directing the Senate defense committee which he chairs, to exercise oversight authority over the defense sector over the issue.

He had initially told reporters he would schedule the hearing after the resolution is read on first reading upon the Senate’s resumption of session on Nov. 9.

Earlier, Lacson said he would summon the AFP leadership, including Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., spokesman of the NTF-ELCAC.

Also to be invited are representatives from militant groups “para maliwanagan natin saan nag-uugat ang misunderstanding and conflict pagdating sa red tagging and red baiting, etc.”

But Lacson made clear that while anyone can attend the hearing even if not invited, they will not invite celebrities as this may cause a distraction.

“You can just imagine if we invite celebrities and there’s a good number of them. Baka ma-distract, mawala ang focus natin sa issue at hand. Baka focus natin mapunta sa mga celebrities,” he said.

Lacson’s resolution sought to craft “proper guidelines that will prevent misunderstanding between the public and the military and ensuring the protection of the constitutional rights of the people, thereby strengthening the confidence and trust of our people on the professionalism of our military in consonance with the constitutional edict that the AFP is the protector of the people and the state, and that civilian authority is at all times supreme over the military.”

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