“Red-tagging equates to a very dangerous threat. And so, it is only right to take it seriously and respond accordingly”
Lorraine Badoy, former spokesperson for NTF-ELCAC, will face the court after red-tagging Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar.
Badoy is notorious, together with NTF-ELCAC, for continuously and loudly red-tagging progressives, marginalized groups, as well as ordinary citizens.
In fact, I have been personally red-tagged by Badoy herself. She mentioned that I am probably a communist based on my past work. At the core of my work as a lawyer are human rights, indigenous peoples, and climate justice. Do my values make me a communist?
Although Badoy is known for this, we should not normalize red-tagging and accept it as it is.
A lot of people have been endangered because of red-tagging—many have been imprisoned, forcibly disappeared, tortured, and killed because of this.
Red-tagging equates to a very dangerous threat. And so, it is only right to take it seriously and respond accordingly.
This is precisely why there are already so many cases and complaints filed against Badoy.
They come from many different groups to respond to and fight against red-tagging.
Some of these groups are Ibon foundation (policy research group), Karapatan (human rights group), former Kabataan Representative Sarah Elago, activists and concerned citizens, progressive groups, Alliance of Health Workers, mother of a community pantry organizer, Maria Ressa, and a group of doctors.
A few weeks ago, Badoy added another red-tagging target on her list. She included Judge Magdozo-Malagar after the dismissal of the proscription case asking the Communist Party of the Philippines-New Peoples Army (CPP-NPA) be judicially declared as “terrorist.”
Badoy called the judge a defender of the CPP-NPA. She also threatened to kill said judge because of political belief after junking the case, posting in Facebook, “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.”
This week, the Supreme Court ordered Badoy to explain in 30 days why she should not be cited for contempt.
She has to respond to four points: whether she posted about Judge Magdozo-Malagar’s decision, whether her post has caused more violent comments towards the judge, whether her post is clear violence directed towards the judge, and whether her harass-filled post against the judge is part of her constitutionally-protected speech.
Otherwise, the Court implied, she will be cited for contempt of the judiciary.
On the same day this show cause order was issued, the Movement Against Disinformation (MAD), of which I am the founding President, filed a petition to declare Badoy guilty of indirect contempt of court because of her social media post against Judge Magdozo-Malagar.
The petition also sought imprisonment for 6 months and a fine of 30,000 pesos.
It is evident from these events that everyone can be a victim of red-tagging and, when this happens, it is very important to fight back.
In fact, Atty. Rico Domingo, one of the MAD petitioners, said it well, “Pag hindi natin nai-stop ito, bukas mayroon na namang babarilin. Mayroon na namang a-ambushin. We cannot just sit idly on this. We have to do something more forceful about this and that is why we are going to the Supreme Court.”
In our petition, we observed that Badoy’s misconduct and misbehavior called on the public to lose trust and confidence in the authority of the judiciary and to disregard the dignity and integrity of the courts of law.
Her actions result in the inevitable discrediting of the authority of the court magistrates, as well as of the entire administration of justice.
It is not only Judges and the rule of law that Badoy’s words and actions endanger. They also endanger many lawyers, human rights defenders, Lumad leaders, social activists etc.
As mentioned, I have not been spared from the same as she has accused me of being a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Philippines while admitting that she had no proof and even in the face of a Lumad informer, saying she didn’t know me and has never met me.
I do not hold a grudge against Badoy.
In fact I knew her late father, himself a great jurist and someone whose integrity and commitment to rule of law and justice could not be questioned.
But we have lost many lives because of red-tagging. Many citizens have been hurt; many have suffered. Therefore, Badoy’s casual red-tagging isn’t only rude, it is a life-threatening act against those targeted.
It is terrifying to be red-tagged, but it is more terrifying to imagine what it would be like if we do not fight back.
The silence would be haunting. On a personal level, as a lawyer, I assure that I will help in the legal protection of those who are red-tagged. For others, their way of fighting might be joining mobilizations, writing, or teaching.
Our forms and roles will look different in this fight as ordinary citizens, but what’s most important is to be part of the fight. The whole nation must come together for this.
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