Lorraine Badoy sued again at Ombudsman for tagging health workers as CPP-NPA

Franco Luna - Philstar.com
Lorraine Badoy sued again at Ombudsman for tagging health workers as CPP-NPA
Photo dated April 7, 2022 shows members of the Alliance of Health Workers filing a complaint complaint before the Office of Ombudsman against NTF-ELCAC spokesperson and Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy.
Alliance of Health Workers - AHW National on Facebook

MANILA, Philippines —  A group of health workers filed a complaint before the Office of Ombudsman against Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy for statements linking their organization to the armed communist movement.

Badoy, who is also a spokesperson for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, has previously accused Vice President Leni Robredo, Baguio City Mayor Benjamin Magaling and a number of rights workers, activists and a nun of ties to communist rebels. All have denied the accusations.

In a statement published Thursday morning, the Alliance of Health Workers said the group was calling for the preventive suspension and dismissal from service of Badoy for red-tagging. It is the third such case to be filed against Badoy in the past month.

Badoy has picked up where retired general Antonio Parlade left off in red-tagging voices considered critical of the Duterte administration and its policies. The earlier complaints filed against her focused on her baseless accusations linking Vice President Leni Robredo to the Communist Party of the Philippines. 

RELATED: Lacson: Unfair to accuse Baguio's Magalong of protecting communist rebels

Badoy has played down previous suits against her for red-tagging and has accused media of being in a supposed "communist network" for reporting about them.

"We are suing [Undersecretary] Badoy because she is vilifying our organization and thus putting our lives in imminent danger...Filing this case is a way of protecting our lives and our organization," Benjamin Santos, Jr., Secretary General of AHW said. 

"Instead of addressing and supporting our just call for safety, protection, rights and welfare, [Undersecretary] Badoy managed to red-tag us. This is grave misconduct and conduct unbecoming of a government official and as a medical doctor. She has no sympathy with us as her colleagues in the health profession," AHW national president Robert Mendoza also said.

Badoy issued a press release last year accusing Mendoza and Santos of being operatives of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front. 

AHW defended itself, saying it has been at the forefront of the health workers’ struggle for economic and democratic rights as well as the people’s right to quality health care for almost four decades now.

Health workers said that by red-tagging AHW, Badoy and the NTF-ELCAC discredited the very important role and heroic contribution of the health workers during this time of pandemic.

Why does this matter?

Exactly one week ago, 26 activists, religious groups, teachers, and student leaders filed a similar complaint against the NTF-ELCAC spokesperson accusing her of violating the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees.

Lawyer Tony La Viña, the spokesperson for the petitioners who hurled the first set of administrative complaints against Badoy, said that the raps were "only the first in a series of complaints and legal action" that the group is preparing in the coming weeks.

The Commission on Human Rights has warned that the practice of red-tagging, which has increased in 2020, "violates the constitutional guarantee of presumption of innocence and may have serious implications on the security and movement of individuals and groups involved."

Many activists and members of progressive and left-leaning groups have pointed out that many who are red-tagged often end up shot and killed by unknown assailants. Rights groups, including the UN Human Rights Office, have said the dangerous practice has been institutionalized in the country. 

The Constitution guarantees the presumption of innocence, while leaning towards the left of the political spectrum or even being a communist is not illegal in the Philippines.

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