Former anti-communist body spokesperson Lorraine Badoy may be charged for indirect contempt and inciting insurrection following the comments she made against Manila Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar, Rico Domingo, a former president of the Philippine Bar Association, said Thursday.
But Badoy, former undersecretary for the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), denied the accusations that she threatened Magdoza-Malagar, whom she accused of lawyering for the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army.
In a Facebook post, Badoy said she takes “full cognizance of the stern warning given to me by the Supreme Court, and I would like to assure them that I hear their guidance.”
This was after the High Court said it will “consider attempts on social media and elsewhere to incite violence against judges a contempt of the court.”
Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo on Thursday reassured all judges and other judiciary members nationwide that the SC will always have their back and will offer protection from any form of threat and harassment.
“You can count on us,” Gesmundo told the judges during the second day of the annual convention of the Metropolitan and City Trial Judges Association of the Philippines (METCJAP) in Boracay, Aklan.
The METCJAP’s convention is themed “Justice Revitalized: Dynamic Court Reforms in a Technology-Driven Judiciary.”
Speaking to CNN Philippines’ The Source, Domingo, chairman of the Movement Against Disinformation, cited subparagraph D, Section 3 of Rule 71 under the Rules of Court.
Badoy may have potentially violated this rule, he said, after she criticized Magdoza-Malagar for junking the government’s case to declare the CPP-NPA as terrorist groups.
“According to the law and I want to be talking right now as a lawyer, there is what we call ‘indirect contempt.’ It is a contemptuous act that is ‘improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice,’ that would be indirect contempt,” Domingo said.
“She can be exposed to the charges of that particular provision of the Rules of Court,” he added.
Citing the sentiments of some lawyers, Domingo also said Badoy’s statements “are equivalent to inciting insurrection,” based on Section 4 of the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Part of that section states that a person commits terrorism when he engages in acts intended to cause death or serious bodily injury to any person or endangers a person’s life (subparagraph A); or releases dangerous substances with the purpose of intimidating the public, creating an atmosphere to spread a message of fear, provoking or influence by intimidation the government or any international organization (subparagraph E).
Violators may face the penalty of life imprisonment without parole.
Article 134 of the Revised Penal Code also qualifies that a crime of rebellion or insurrection is committed by “rising publicly and taking arms against the government for the purpose of removing from the allegiance to said government or its laws…”
The former Bar chief added that Article 138 states that a person incites others to commit such act through speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, or other representations.
“Inciting insurrection is actually covered by the Revised Penal Code.
But it was somehow covered and amplified by the Anti-Terrorism Act that was recently implemented by the council,” Domingo explained.
“Insurrection is to… overthrow the government, in simple language.”
Calling Magdoza-Malagar’s resolution a “judgment straight from the bowels of communist hell,” Badoy posed a hypothetical scenario on 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.”
Badoy criticized the judge for supposedly asking that “acts of terrorism” of the CPP-NPA-NDF should be deemed “political crimes” which are “treated with leniency.”
She called the judge “unprincipled” and a “friend of CPP NPA NDF.”
In a subsequent post, Badoy also appeared to red-tag the judge’s husband, lawyer Leo Malagar, chancellor for the University of the Philippines-Cebu.
In another post, she said she wants to build an organization which will “start bombing the offices of these corrupt judges who are friend of terrorists—even if they kneel before us and beg for their lives…”
In her latest Facebook post, Badoy defended her earlier post and said she had just practiced her “Constitutional right to an opinion by questioning what has enraged the Filipino people.”
“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,” she noted.
“So, I hope I am clear here. It is not I who has the track record for murders, massacres, tortures, rape, and inhumanity but the terrorist CPP NPA NDF.
“I am unfazed and I remain focused on doing my part in ending this communist terrorist curse so that we can all finally know what it is like to live in genuine peace and progress and meet our promise as a people,” the former NTF-ELCAC spokesperson added.
Badoy reiterated her earlier claim that the judge based her ruling on the NPA constitution despite the ruling making mention of existing jurisprudence by the Supreme Court.
She also noted that the Supreme Court had ruled that “red-tagging does not exist” when it ruled “in Zarate vs Aquino that there is no danger to life, liberty and security when someone is identified as a member of the CPP NPA NDF. “
“They also ruled as CONSTITUTIONAL the Anti-Terrorism Law– this beautiful law that will end the free fall of our children into violent extremism and into their early, tragic deaths, the grief of our mothers who have lost their children, the blood bath in our ancestral domains where the most heinous of crimes were committed among the most helpless among us–our indigenous brothers and sisters.”
Various groups have condemned Badoy’s post, including HUKOM, Inc. and the Philippine Judges Association (PJA), both groups of trial court judges.
Breaking the traditional silence of judges, HUKOM in a statement said it considers red-tagging, online vilification, doxxing, among others as “attacks on the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary.”
“We cannot rest easy and accept them as normal and ordinary. These acts must be called out because of their chilling effect on the exercise of our judicial functions and the lasting damage they cause to our institution,” it said.
The PJA, for its part, called on the Philippine government “to declare that in no time under its watch, will democracy be imperiled by an irresponsible and unfounded assault on a trial judge.”
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), Movement Against Disinformation, and the Chevening Alumni Foundation of the Philippines added their condemnation.
“If judges can be treated disdainfully without consequence, the Rule of Law becomes a hollow promise,” the IBP said.
Earlier, the SC warned that fine or imprisonment or both will be imposed on “those who continue to incite violence through social media and other means which endanger the lives of judges and their families.”
“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 by considered a contempt of this court and will be dealt with accordingly,” the SC said, in its Sept. 27 resolution.
“While it is our constitutional duty to supervise our lower courts, it is our moral duty to protect each of you and ensure that you are able to perform your duties free from any threat, harassment, undue influence, coercion, and, certainly, any form of violence,” Gesmundo told the judges.
In his speech, Gesmundo cited the SC’s recent decision which stated that “an administrative charge against a judge shall and must be dismissed outright as long as a judicial remedy is available to a complainant.”