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Opinion

Hypothetical threat  

LOOKING ASKANCE - Joseph Gonzales - The Freeman

Lorraine Marie Badoy is in a fine pickle. The erstwhile adviser or spokesperson or what-have-you for the task force for “ending” the armed conflict with insurgents is in the news (again), this time for attacking (not physically) a judge for her decision.

Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar was presented with a case involving the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army. Our own Department of Justice sought the help of the courts, asking the judiciary to declare these two as “terrorist organizations”. Unfortunately, Judge Magdoza-Malagar saw differently, and rendered a decision denying the justice department’s plea.

This is where Badoy comes in. As reported by the press, she posted these reactions on social media: “So if I kill this judge and I do so out of my political belief that all allies of the CPP NPA NDF must be killed because there is no difference in my mind between a member of the CPP NPA NDF and their friends, then please be lenient with me.”

Badoy also reportedly goes on to say, in connection with her plan to found an organization, that it would “start bombing the offices of these corrupt judges who are friends of terrorists even if they kneel before us and beg for their lives…”

Having now skewered Judge Magdazo-Malagar, and then corrupt members of the judiciary, Badoy then focused on her husband, Atty. Leo Malagar, the chancellor of the University of the Philippines-Cebu, and accused him of being a member of the CPP-NPA (thereby raising doubt on the impartiality of the judge).

Well, Badoy probably thought, after being sheltered by the Duterte administration despite her many controversial outbursts, that she was somehow immune. But in swift order, a group of judges denounced her, the legislature started looking into her existing connections with government, and the Supreme Court tackled, on its own and without anyone prodding it to do so, Badoy’s statement.

In Administrative Matter 22-09-16-SC (an assigned docket number for a case that no one from the public filed), the Supreme Court issued this: “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 caps are totally not mine.)

It is important to note this language of the court, especially in the light of Badoy’s subsequent attempts to extricate herself from her precarious situation. Faced with the public reaction, Badoy backflipped, and now says she made no such threat. “A threat is a statement of an intention to inflict pain or damage. An ‘if-then’ statement, on the other hand, is merely a hypothetical syllogism that are workhorses of deductive logic that I needed to use to make my point.”

Slow clap. Let’s see if this interpretation of her actions will be accepted. Perhaps her fans in social media might accept her explanation. The trolls might start running away with this and start churning out her defenses to brainwash the public. The only problem is, Badoy has tangled with the ultimate interpreter of acts, words, and deeds --the judiciary.

This is the same body that determines whether one has committed libel or not. Whether one has committed perjury or not. Whether an accused has defamed or not. Whatever the speaker’s explanation for her words are, or what her intent was, all these will be scrutinized and passed upon not by the speaker, or her normal fan base, but the very body she has sought to face off against.

If we parse through the Supreme Court’s language, it looks like someone might have to go down on their knees and beg, and it ain’t Judge Magdazo-Malagar. In its warning, the court referred to those who “continue” to incite violence. That use of the word “continue” suggests it viewed what had just happened as already constitutive of violence, and hence any continuation thereof was warned against.

That analysis would bring shivers to my defense. The court already thinks Badoy’s original statement are constitutive of violence. Indeed, it seems the court already thought contempt of court had already been committed, as it goes on to then use the word “likewise” in its warning against those who would commit similar acts. If future acts would be constitutive of contempt, then the present acts, like that already committed by Badoy, are already contemptuous, and she goes to jail?

Now that’s a hypothetical syllogism.

CPP-NPA

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