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Opinion

SC pushes harder against red-tagger of Manila judge

AT GROUND LEVEL - Satur C. Ocampo - The Philippine Star

Pressure is building up on the obstinate “red”/“terrorist”-tagging former spokesperson of the government’s counterinsurgency campaign task force to account for her widely criticized and condemned statements, mostly on social media.

Just two weeks after ordering her to explain, within 30 days, why she shouldn’t be cited in contempt of the highest court and the judiciary for her statements against Manila RTC Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar, the Supreme Court has further ordered Lorraine Badoy to comment, within 15 days, on a petition urging the tribunal to declare her guilty of indirect contempt because of those statements.

This means Badoy must submit her two replies to the SC within the next two weeks.

The petition, signed by hundreds of lawyers and law school deans, was filed on Oct. 4, the day the SC issued its first order to Badoy, former spokesperson of the NTF-ELCAC (National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict).

A week earlier, during its en banc session, the SC tackled her social-media statements that contained threats against Judge Malagar – her reaction to the latter’s Sept. 21 ruling dismissing the government’s petition to declare the CPP-NPA as a terrorist organization. The judge ruled that the 11 alleged atrocities cited in the petition were acts of rebellion and didn’t satisfy the definition of terrorism under the Human Security [anti-terrorism] Act.

Thereafter the SC issued this brief statement:

“The Court sternly warns those who continue to incite violence through social media and other means which endanger the lives of judges and their families, and that this shall likewise be considered a contempt of this court and will be dealt with accordingly.”

The petitioners, led by former Philippine Bar Association president Rico Domingo, asked the SC to impose on Badoy the highest penalty for indirect contempt: six-months imprisonment and a P30,000 fine.

What did she say that the petitioners deemed would justify declaring her in indirect contempt?

• A Facebook post made by an account under “Lorraine Marie T. Badoy” (her full name) said: “If I kill this judge and I do so out of my political belief, then please be lenient with me.”

• The same account stating her supposed intent to form an organization that would “start bombing the offices of these corrupt judges who are friends of terrorists.”

• In a Sept. 28 post on Facebook denying the threatening post, she wrote: “[I] practiced my constitutional right to an opinion by questioning what has enraged the Filipino people [?]: the egregious decision of Judge Malagar when she said that this terrorist organization, the CPP-NPA-NDFP… is not a terrorist organization.”

• Other statements posted referring to Judge Malagar’s alleged “passionate lawyering for the CPP-NPA,” calling her “unprincipled,” a “traitor” and an “idiot” and denigrating her ruling as a “judgment straight from the bowels of hell.”

Denouncing the above statements as a “continuing affront on the independence of the judiciary… [that] we have to put a stop to it,” former PBA president Domingo forewarned:

“If we fail to stop this, tomorrow there will be another one who will be gunned down. There will be another one who will be ambushed. More lawyers will be targeted. If we’re Red-tagged they will say we’re Red-tagged because we are communists. And then we’re killed. That is what’s happening in our country.”

In its Oct. 4 en banc resolution, the Supreme Court also ordered Badoy, under oath, to do the following:

• Reply whether or not she posted or caused the posting, in any or all of her social media accounts, of the statements assailing Judge Malagar’s Sept. 21 ruling to dismiss the government’s proscription petition (filed by the Department of Justice in 2018) to declare the CPP-NPA as terrorist;

• Explain “whether or not her social media posts encouraged more violent language against the judge concerned in any or all of her social media platforms;”

• Explain “whether or not her post, in the context of social media and in the experience of similar incendiary comments here and abroad [Badoy had travelled around European nations for NTF-ELCAC], was a clear incitement to produce violent actions against a judge and is likely to produce such act;” and

• Respond “whether or not her statements on her social media accounts, implying violence on a judge, is part of her protected constitutional speech.”

After Badoy’s attack against Judge Malagar, more than 200 lawyers signed and issued a joint statement on Sept. 27, calling on the SC to hold her accountable for her “direct attack against the judiciary and its officers that is intended to undermine public confidence in the justice system.”

The “grave and disturbing threats and scurrilous statements” against Malagar and others in the judiciary “were beyond the bounds of fair and reasonable criticisms,” the statement pointed out.

The Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) noted that “Badoy’s threat is not protected speech – it is a felony.”  “Her irresponsible posts against them and others clearly indicate that she will continue to act with impunity unless she is held accountable.”

Not surprising, however, is there’s a group supporting Badoy and her statements. Recently a “manifesto of support” came out on social media, supposed signed by 120 retired generals, admirals and officers of the military, police and other armed agencies of the government. It says in part:

“We, and thousands other retired officers… declare and strongly affirm our full support to Dr. Lorraine Badoy, MD [she is a doctor of medicine] in calling the (CPP-NPA-NDF) a terrorist organization. We join in her statement in calling the decision of Judge Malagar a legal misprision and distortions of the realities on the ground…”

“To silence the voices of peace crusaders such as Dr. Lorraine Badoy, MD is a threat to our democracy and our way of life. Here, we add our voices for her message to ring louder and clearer…”

Their own egregious attacks on Judge Malagar need not be added here.

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Email: [email protected]

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PRESSURE

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