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Court asked: Cite PCOO's Badoy, Quiboloy network in contempt over Palparan interview

Kristine Joy Patag - Philstar.com
Court asked: Cite PCOO's Badoy, Quiboloy network in contempt over Palparan interview
This 2018 photo shows convicted kidnapper and retired general Jovito Palparan Jr., who was transferred to the New Bilibid Prison that year.
The STAR / KJ Rosales

MANILA, Philippines — Lawyers representing the families of victims of Jovito Palparan has asked the Court of Appeals to cite SMNI Network and Presidential Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy for contempt over their interview of the convicted former general.

The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers has also asked the Court of Appeals First Division to order the Bureau of Corrections to move Palparan to the Maximum Security Facility from the Minimum Security Facility where he has reportedly been staying since he was transferred to the New Bilibid Prison.

The lawyers, who served as private prosecutors in the case, also urged the CA to direct the denial of all requests from the media to interview Palparan and "terminate all the special privileges and treatment" for the convicted kidnapper.

This was after a two-hour interview of Palparan aired on SMNI — with Badoy interviewing him — and was carried on the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict's social media page.

"The subject media interview constitutes improper conduct that directly tends to degrade the administration of justice. It is a rabid act of disinformation at the behest of the government’s counterinsurgency body where the appellant (Palparan) was hailed as a ‘hero,’ while the disappeared victims and the undersigned counsel were red-tagged as ‘communist terrorists,’" the NUPL told the CA.

In 2018, the Malolos Regional Trial Court Branch 15 found Palparan guilty of kidnapping and serious illegal detention over the disappearance of UP students Karen Empeño and Sherlyn Cadapan in 2006. The case has been elevated at the CA.

NUPL said Palparan still faces a string of criminal cases before Malolos RTC 15.

Media interviews

Despite the reclusion perpetua sentence imposed on Palparan, he has been interviewed at least twice, the NUPL noted.

In August 2019, vlogger Mocha Uson — then an appointee at the Presidential Communications Operations Office — interviewed Palparan, without permission from the appeals court or from Malolos court where Palparan faces other pending cases.

On March 20, Palparan appeared in an interview on the network owned by pastor and alleged human trafficker Appolo quiboloy without the knowledge of the Department of Justice or the courts.

After the interview drew flak, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said he would "rather BuCor consult the DOJ, as its mother agency, on matters of public interest that may give rise to legal questions or involve policy considerations."

NUPL said in their motion that "[S]ection 5 (d), Part 4, Chapter 3 of the 2000 Bureau of Corrections Operations Manual clearly provides that: ‘The Superintendent may deny the request for interview in any of the following: … The inmate is the accused or otherwise involved in a pending criminal case."

Stressing that civil and political rights of inmates are deemed restricted while serving their sentence, the NUPL said: "Clearly, the request for media interview by SMNI of appellant Palparan should not have been granted, but denied outright."

Interview to 'vindicate' convicted kidnapper

The lawyers also pointed out that the interview started with Badoy — identified in some suits filed against her as Lorraine Badoy-Partosa — claiming they aim to “honor and vindicate” Palparan and claiming further that the cases he was convicted for were trumped up.

SMNI is owned by Apollo Quiboloy, the spiritual adviser of President Rodrigo Duterte and who has been indicted for conspiracy to engage in sex trafficking by force, fraud and coercion, and sex trafficking of children; conspiracy; and bulk cash smuggling.

The network regularly reports misleading and false claims, gives platforms to politicians who make unfounded remarks, and red-tags government critics and activists despite lack of substantial evidence. Badoy, meanwhile, is known for red-tagging.

The interview also discussed merits of the kidnapping and serious illegal detention case that is under appeal and the other pending cases which violated the sub judice rule, they added.

"All the foregoing clearly show that accused [Palparan] enjoys special privileges and is being given special treatment while serving his sentence for the crimes of which he has been convicted and being detained to answer for his other crimes," the motion read.

"For these reasons, appellant Palparan, Lorraine Badoy and SMNI Network should be cited in contempt, not to muzzle free speech, but to prevent an outrage to appellant Palparan’s victims and their families who long for justice, as well as to preserve the dignity of the courts in the administration of justice," they added.

According to the Rules of Court, if a respondent is found guilty of indirect contempt, they may be punished by a fine or imprisonment or both.

BUREAU OF CORRECTIONS

JOVITO PALPARAN

LORRAINE BADOY

NATIONAL UNION OF PEOPLES LAWYERS

NEW BILIBID PRISON

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