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After being virtually unrepresented the last time around, “progressives” finally showed up at the Senate’s hearing on alleged red-tagging on Tuesday.

Senate defense committee chairman Panfilo Lacson, who chaired the hearing, laid down the ground rules for the hearing that was also attended by representatives of the security sector.

“It is in the spirit of fairness and respect for each other that this hearing will be conducted. Remember, this is not a battlefield of guns and bullets but a venue for the soundness of mind and reason,” Lacson said in his opening statement.

He gave both sides a 10-minute period to deliver their opening statements, with the Makabayan bloc getting the first two hours to make their presentations including the rebuttals of the allegations made in the hearing last Nov. 3.

The security sector would then be assigned the next one hour, and the remaining time will be for the committee members to ask clarificatory questions.

“Initially, I made coordination with the security sector that they be given equal time. But upon prodding from the Senate President, since last time was dominated by the security sector, we’ll give the Makabayan bloc more time. Anyway this won’t be the last hearing,” Lacson added.

He also reminded all present to accord the courtesy and respect to Rep. Carlos Zarate, who attended the hearing. Zarate is an incumbent member of the House of Representatives.

Present at the hearing were Zarate and defeated senatorial bets Neri Colmenares, and Teodoro Casiño, Cristina Palabay (Karapatan), activist nun Mary John Mananzan, and other officials of “progressive” groups.

Among the representatives of the security sector were national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., NTC-ELCAC spokesman Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr., and officials of the justice, defense and interior departments.

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