Former NTF-ELCAC spox Lorraine Badoy (Photo courtesy of Mac Villarino/PCOO)
We find compellingly thought-provoking the developments in the case of Dr. Lorraine Badoy, former spokesman of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), after several groups filed a petition with the Supreme Court to cite her in contempt of court.
“We are filing today (earlier this month) a petition for indirect contempt for several posts concerning the resolution of Judge Malagar. Considering the gravity of the offense, we believe that it should be punishable with indirect contempt,” said Atty. Rico Domingo, former Philippine Bar Association president.
Domingo added “The assault against judges and lawyers is an assault against the judiciary itself,” stressing more than 60 lawyers since 2016 and over 100 journalists since 1986 had been killed.
His argument has been that if this Badoy commentary is not disciplined, “there will be another one who will be gunned down. There will be another one who will be ambushed. 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.”
The 35-page petition urged the high court to punish her with the maximum penalty of six months of imprisonment and a ₱30,000 fine.
The petition said Badoy’s statements aimed to “assault and humiliate” Magdoza-Malagar after she dismissed the government’s bid to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (CPP-NPA) as a terrorist organization.
In her social media post, Badoy called Magdoza-Malagar an “idiot judge” who lawyers for the CPP-NPA, and made a hypothetical situation about her “killing” the judge but she can beg for leniency as it was done because of her political belief.
The post has since been deleted.
What is contempt? The Supreme Court also ordered Badoy to explain why she should not be cited in contempt following comments she made against Judge Magdoza-Malagar.
First, a person who is guilty of disobedience or of resistance to a lawful order of a court or who commits any improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice may be punished for indirect contempt.
Second, indirect contempt partakes the nature of a criminal action and under the law person so accused of indirect contempt has the same rights before any court of justice to present evidence in defense of his rights.
In a news briefing earlier this month, the Supreme Court en banc gave Badoy 30 days to explain her remarks against Judge Magdoza-Malagar, whose decision was criticized by Badoy and former communist cadres who are now very vocal against their former organization.
The judge had junked the government’s case, filed in 2018, to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist groups.
On Sept. 23, she made a Facebook page (post) where she said, “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.”
The Supreme Court said Badoy must respond under oath on whether or not her post encouraged more violent language against Malagar and was a clear incitement to produce violent actions against a judge, and whether her statements “implying violence on a judge, is part of her protected constitutional speech.”
It is interesting how Dr. Badoy will respond to the Supreme Court’s order for her to explain.
Many are watching the developments – as beyond doubt this will enrich Philippine jurisprudence.