Badoy guilty of indirect contempt for threats vs judge

Daphne Galvez - The Philippine Star
Badoy guilty of indirect contempt for threats vs judge
In a 51-page ruling penned by Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, the SC found Badoy guilty of indirect contempt of court for statements she made online against Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar in September 2022.
PCOO / Mac Villarino

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court (SC) has slapped a P30,000 fine against Lorraine Badoy, former spokesperson for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) for indirect contempt over her “vitriolic statements and outright threats” against a judge.

In a 51-page ruling penned by Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, the SC found Badoy guilty of indirect contempt of court for statements she made online against Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar in September 2022.

On Sept. 21, 2022, Magdoza-Malagar dismissed the government’s petition to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), as terrorist organizations.

Two days later, Badoy, in a Facebook post, called Magdoza-Malagar an “idiot judge” who is a friend of the communist groups, accusing her of lawyering for the CPP-NPA.

She also asked for leniency in a now-deleted post saying that should she “kill” the judge out of her political belief “that all allies of the CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front) must be killed.”

In another post, Badoy threatened to bomb the offices of judges whom she deemed as “friends of terrorists.”

The next day, Badoy uploaded another post where she described Magdoza-Malagar as “unprincipled and rotten,” claiming that the judge’s husband was a member of the CPP.

“For her vitriolic statements and outright threats against Judge Magdoza-Malagar and the Judiciary, respondent is found guilty of indirect contempt and is fined P30,000 with a warning that repeating the same or similar acts will lead to a more severe penalty,” the SC decision read.

The SC decision granted the petition of a group of lawyers that asked the high tribunal to cite Badoy for indirect contempt.

In resolving the case, the SC said it found that Badoy’s posts constitute improper conduct tending – directly or indirectly – to impede, obstruct or degrade the administration of justice, which equates to indirect contempt.

Badoy’s claim that the judge dismissed the government’s petition because of Magdoza-Malagar’s supposed friendly ties with the CPP-NPA-NDF “threatens the impartial image of the judiciary,” the SC said.

Her statements, it said, were not made in good faith or without malice. Instead, Badoy intended to “stir discontent among her audience” with her accusations against the judge, the SC said.

As for Badoy’s threat to kill Magdoza-Malagar and other judges, the SC said these were made to incite the former task force official’s followers to do lawless actions.

Such incitement to commit lawless violent action likely to cause death or injury is not covered by the constitutional privilege of protected speech, the SC said.

Badoy not silenced

In a statement on Feb. 29, Badoy apologized for the “intemperate language and tenor” she took in her post, but maintained that she never threatened anyone with harm.

She also thanked the SC “for stating very clearly that the right of every Filipino to freely express themselves remains sacrosanct and making me walk free with a minimal fine of P30,000 – much to the dismay of the CPP-NPA-NDF who wanted me jailed.”

The ruling, she said, is just a “reminder to be more circumspect and to rein it in a bit more.”

“So I will mind my manners and be a better daughter to my father who retired as Justice of the Sandiganbayan. And I will even be a better daughter by being what my father has always taught me to be, not in words but in actions: defender and protector of our people and our country,” Badoy said.

“Enemies of the state who meant to silence me with this case have lost once again,” Badoy declared in the statement that she read on “Storycon” on Cignal TV’s One News yesterday.

She told Storycon she would continue her advocacy. “No one has been silenced. Certainly not me.”

Rights group Karapatan lauded the decision of the SC to impose sanctions against Badoy.

“The SC ruling is one legal victory earned in the people’s continuing struggle to expose and oppose human rights violators like Badoy-Partosa and her coterie of fascists and liars in the NTF-ELCAC,” Karapatan secretary general Cristina Palabay  said in a statement.

At the minimum, Palabay said the victims of Badoy’s actions suffer mental and psychological torture, wherein some are forced to relocate to avoid persecution as red-tagging is often accompanied by other forms of harassment that led to the illegal arrest and detention, enforced disappearance and even extrajudicial killing of the latter’s targets.

‘Revoke physician registration’

A group of health workers asked the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to revoke the certificate of registration as a physician of Badoy for red-tagging them repeatedly.

The Alliance of Health Workers (AHW) together with a number of physicians filed their “Joint Position Paper” against Badoy before the PRC on Wednesday noting that Badoy’s actions have been putting at risk the lives of its officers and members.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, Badoy has been using her position as a medical professional, undersecretary and spokesperson of the NTF-ELCAC under the Duterte administration to undermine and discredit AHW – a legitimate organization advocating for health workers’ rights and welfare and people’s right to quality health care,” said Bonifacio Carmona Jr., AHW national officer. –  Emmanuel Tupas, Rhodina Villanueva

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