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Sunday, May 26, 2024

Araullo files P2-m red-tagging suit vs. Badoy, co-host

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BROADCAST journalist Atom Araullo on Monday filed a P2-million damage suit against ex-Presidentia Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy-Partosa and one Jeffrey Celiz of the Sonshine Media Network  nternational.

This developed as Ombudsman Samuel Martires disclosed that at least one complaint for alleged red-tagging filed against former government anti-insurgency task force officials Lorraine Badoy-Partosa, Antonio Parlade Jr. and retired Gen. Hermogenes Esperon has been dismissed.

Araullo filed his complaint before h the Quezon City Regional Trial Court for alleged “wrongful and unlawful acts” or red-tagging offenses committed against him by the respondents.

BROADCASTER GETS BACK AT DETRACTORS. Alfonso Tomas ‘Atom’ Araullo (center), flanked by lawyers Antonio La Viña and Ayn Ruth Tolentino-Azarcon files a P2-million damage suit against former Malacanang official Lorraine Badoy-Partosa and her co-host Jeffrey Celiz for alleged red-tagging. Manny Palmero

In filing the case, Araullo was accompanied by the counsels from the Movement Against Disinformation Rico Domingo, Dean Tony La Viña, along with lawyers Artemio Calumpong, Cris Yambot and Ayn Ruth Tolentino-Azarcon.

Araullo was also seeking damage claims totaling P2.07 million from Badoy-Partosa and Celiz, hosts of “Laban Kasama ang Bayan” show on SMNI.

The complainant asserted that the respondents “maliciously disseminated defamatory statements” in violation of the New Civil Code of the Philippines.

Televangelist Apollo Quiboloy, SMNI owner, was spared from the civil suit, Araullo told the Manila Standard.

“I initially chose to ignore their attacks owing to their apparent absurdity. But because I’ve seen how treacherous, persuasive and harmful disinformation can be, especially when left unchecked, I have resolved to push back,” Araullo stressed.

“I am doing this for the safety and well-being of my family, but I also hope it contributes in a modest way to protecting press freedom in general,” he added.

He rejected the filing of libel, a criminal case, saying he was against the criminalization of libel.

“I would prefer not to invoke it because it also endangers legitimate journalism. Still, malicious perpetrators of disinformation must be stopped and held accountable,” he stressed.

Last July, Dr. Carol Araullo, Atom’s mother and Makabayan (Bayan) chairman emeritus, filed a similar complaint against Badoy-Partosa and Celiz for “incessantly and wantonly” vilifying her organization.

The two SMNI hosts accused the younger Araullo of being a “spawn” of an “active Communist Party of the Philippines Central Committee leader” and vilified him as a journalist producing contents attuned to the propaganda of the CPP-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front.

Testifying during a budget deliberation, Martires said the case against the three former officials was dismissed due to the absence of a law that criminalizes red-tagging, or the practice of linking individuals to or identifying them as communist rebels.

“Sa dami ng kasong iyon, hindi ko alam ano ang status, but those against Parlade, Badoy et. al… and Esperon with respect to ‘red tagging,’ sa kadahilanang wala namang batas na nagbabawal sa ‘red tagging (Owing to the volume of such cases, I don’t know the real status, but those against Parlade, Badoy, and Esperon with respect to red tagging has been dismissed since there is no law banning red-tagging,)” Martires said during the hearing on the Ombudsman’s P5-billion proposed budget for 2024.

Martires was responding to a question asked by Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel.

Manuel countered that filing complaints on “red-tagging” was not whimsical, but a response to a real threat.

“Even in the absence of a law, individuals pursuing their advocacy in accordance with our laws should not be discriminated, subjected to ‘red tagging’ and harmed,” Manuel said.

“There were red tagging-related deaths.  The damage has been done. The government should not tolerate this and enable ‘red tagging.’ We should be proactive in this matter and serve justice,” he stressed.

Martires vowed to update the lawmakers on the status of at least six cases involving the three former government officials who all served in the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

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