Families of Badoy, Celiz contest House detention in Supreme Court

Ian Laqui - Philstar.com
Families of Badoy, Celiz contest House detention in Supreme Court
A smiling Rogilda Canilao Celiz (left), the wife of Jeffry Celiz, with Lawyer Harry Roque (middle), and Walter Partosa (right) the spouse of Lorraine Badoy, at the Supreme Court.
Philstar.com / Ian Laqui

MANILA, Philippines — Spouses of Lorraine Badoy and Jeffry Celiz filed a petition for certiorari and habeas corpus before the Supreme Court (SC) on Monday to question the constitutionality of the contempt cited by the House of Representatives (HoR).

Rogilda Canilao Celiz and Walter Partosa, spouses of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) hosts cited for contempt during a franchise hearing on December 5, lodged the petition in the Supreme Court.

Former human rights lawyer Harry Roque, now serving as spokesperson and legal counsel for former President Rodrigo Duterte, represented the spouses in their legal proceedings.

“In this case, the Petitioners are respectfully pleading for the Honorable Supreme Court to exercise its power and duty to defend their right to liberty against the illegal and vindictive actions of the Respondent Committee,” the petition read.

They argued that the detention of the petitioners in the HoR is “unlawful”, saying that the Committee's citation for contempt was based on their "alleged disrespectful" remarks, used conveniently as justification.

“The Petitioners were cited in contempt, and are now being detained, ostensibly for their allegedly disrespectful answers and their refusal to reveal the source of their information. But those were just grounds that the Committee conveniently found during the course of the proceedings—and failed to explain and substantiate to the Petitioners—in order to punish the Petitioners for their comments,” the petition read. 

“The Committee members were too eager to punish the Petitioners for their comments that the members failed to observe their own rules and procedures, and failed to accord the Petitioners their right to due process,” it added. 

The writ of habeas corpus acts as a shield against arbitrary arrests and unjust confinement by empowering the court to assess the details of the detention and determine its legality.

It ensures individuals can challenge their imprisonment, maintaining a check against wrongful confinement.

Badoy and Celiz are currently detained in the HoR and reportedly engaged in a hunger strike.

The petitioners urged the Supreme Court to investigate whether the House Committee on Legislative Franchises committed grave abuse of discretion by disregarding the Sotto law, which mandates revealing the identity of sources.

They claimed they were not afforded the chance to present their side during the hearing.

“The Petitioners respectfully submit that, as shown below, the Respondent Committee committed grave abuse of discretion, for which its acts must be reversed,” the petition read. 

Celiz was cited in contempt after he refused to reveal his Senate source regarding House Speaker Martin Romualdez's alleged 2023 travel expenses of P1.8 billion—a point the spouses argued wasn't a valid basis for contempt.

Badoy was also cited hours after for “acting in a disrespectful manner” after her “conflicting statements” during the House Panel inquiry. 

Badoy and Celiz belong to the same network as the former president, who currently faces grave threat charges from a former lawmaker. The SMNI is facing a potential franchise revocation following the filing of a bill seeking its revocation.

Badoy, a former member of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, was reprimanded by the Supreme Court in September 2022, and the Ombudsman in September 2023 due to her red-tagging on live television. 

As of writing, the House Committee on Legislative Franchises approved Resolution No. 1499, urging the National Telecommunications Commission to suspend the operations of SMNI for violating the terms and conditions of its franchise.

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