Group slams gov’t official for ‘hysterical red-tagging’ of activist nun

Kyle Aristophere Atienza
Group slams gov’t official for ‘hysterical red-tagging’ of activist nun
The Movement Against Tyranny is demanding a public apology from NTF-ELCAC Spokesperson and PCOO Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy for making 'condemnable' allegations against Sister Mary John Mananzan that has put the nun's 'life and liberty in peril'

MANILA, Philippines – A progressive coalition has demanded a public apology from Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy for vilifying activist nun Sister Mary John Mananzan as an alleged supporter of a “communist terrorist organization.”

“Mananzan is only the latest in a long list of activists and Duterte critics red-tagged by Badoy and the agencies she works with. We demand a public apology from Badoy retracting and correcting her condemnable Facebook post,” the Movement Against Tyranny (MAT) said in a statement on Friday, June 19.

MAT was referring to Badoy’s Facebook post where she accused Mananzan of putting forth the ideology of “communism,” and alleged that a “Catholic nun is given a place of honor in a communist terrorist organization.”

MAT said that Badoy, who is also spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), “has gone way too far in her red-baiting and vilification activities by accusing one of the living pillars of Philippine activism, Sr Mary John Mananzan, of aiding and abetting rape, pillage, mass murders, and other horrific crimes.”

“Such wild and baseless accusations coming from an undersecretary and official of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) not only defames Sr. Mary John’s person and reputation but puts her life and liberty in peril,” the group said.

“We demand that the PCOO, NTF-ELCAC, AFP, and PNP stop their vicious, malicious and dangerous red-tagging activities. There will be consequences should Badoy and her ilk persist in their unconscionable conduct,” the group added.

Badoy’s post was in response to Mananzan’s earlier post calling out Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 46 Judge Rainelda Estacio-Montesa for handing down a guilty verdict against Rappler chief executive officer Maria Ressa and former researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos Jr over a cyber libel case.

On the same day that Badoy made the accusations against Mananzan, Interior Secretary Eduardo Año told participants of an online forum on the anti-terrorism bill that “it has never been a government position” to red-tag and vilify organizations and individuals. 

‘Shameless peddlers of untruth’

Human rights group Karapatan, for its part, stressed that contrary to Badoy’s accusations, Mananzan is a consistent, steadfast, and feisty human rights advocate. 

“Those in power who throw shade on her sincerity and long service to the Filipino people ought to reexamine their conscience and themselves. These shameless peddlers of untruths will be made accountable,” Karapatan added. 

Aside from being a PCOO undersecretary, Badoy is also the spokesperson of the NTF-ELCAC, a government-funded institution whose officials had been criticized for making “slanderous” statements against several individuals, progressive groups, and institutions.

MAT said the government may even use Badoy’s allegations against Mananzan to deem her as a “terrorist” once President Rodrigo Duterte signs the anti-terror bill into law.

“Under the new anti-terrorism act awaiting Presdent Duterte’s signature, such accusations can result in Mananzan’s designation as a suspected ‘terrorist’ subject to 24-hour surveillance, warrantless arrest and detention without charges of up to 24 days, and a host of other violations of her rights and liberties,” the group said.

Karapatan said “the state policy of political repression targeting critics and political dissenters exists…is bound to worsen with the enactment of the terror law.” (READ: [ANALYSIS] The Anti-Terror Act is worse than Martial Law–

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