Supreme Court of the Philippines

Lawyers ask SC to hold Badoy in contempt for threats vs judge

Jairo Bolledo

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Lawyers ask SC to hold Badoy in contempt for threats vs judge

PETITION. A group of lawyers consisting of legal luminaries, law school deans and private law practitioners led by Atty. Rico Domingo, Atty. Rey Paolo Santiago ang ACT Partylist Representative France Castro, file a Petition for Indirect Contempt with the Supreme Court against Lorraine Badoy-Partoza for her contumacious series of social media posts against Manila RTC Presiding Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar in connection with the latter's resolution to dismiss a Petition to declare the CPP and NPA as terrorist groups, on October 4, 2022.

Angie de Silva/Rappler

(1st UPDATE) 'It’s not the penalty that we’re talking about here. It is the gravity and the ominous danger in the independence of the judicial body or judicial system,' says lawyer Rico Domingo

MANILA, Philippines – A group of legal luminaries, lawyers, and law school deans have asked the Supreme Court (SC) to hold former anti-insurgency spokesperson Lorraine Badoy in contempt for her threats against Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar.

Led by lawyer Rico Domingo, the group of lawyers filed the petition for indirect contempt before the High Court on Tuesday, October 4. The lawyers also asked the SC to consolidate their petition with the High Court’s memorandum on Badoy’s threats.

The other petitioners are:

  • Former Ateneo School of Government dean Antonio La Viña
  • Lyceum of the Philippines University law dean Ma. Soledad Deriquito-Mawis
  • Adamson University law dean Anna Maria Abad
  • San Sebastian College-Recoletos Graduate School of Law dean Rodel Taton
  • Lawyers Artemio Calumpong, Christianne Grace Salonga, Ray Paolo Santiago, and Ayn Ruth Tolentino-Azarcon

“Indeed, the foregoing Facebook posts of Respondent Badoy-Partosa are nothing less than contumacious as they directly besmirch and tear down the reputation and credibility of Judge Malagar and likewise impair the respect due, not only to Judge Malagar, but also to all members of the Philippine Bench and Bar,” a portion of the petition read.

In explaining their grounds for the petition, the lawyers cited that they have legal standing to file the case and that the SC has acknowledged the dangers being faced by legal professionals due to insinuations thrown at them.

Lawyers ask SC to hold Badoy in contempt for threats vs judge

On the legal standing argument, the lawyers said they “cannot truly comply with their oath to
uphold the Constitution and the Rule of Law without asserting the public right to life, liberty, and property against Respondent Badoy-Partosa.”

They added: “As lawyers and officers of the court, they have the responsibility to assist in and improve the administration of justice. As lawyers, they act as guardians to the Rule of Law.”

Domingo, in an interview with reporters, explained that a petition for indirect contempt should be filed independently before a court acts on it. He also explained they did not file the petition only because of the penalty.

“It’s not the penalty that we’re talking about here. It is the gravity and the ominous danger in the independence of the judicial body or judicial system. Otherwise, there’ll be chaos in this country,” he said.

Under the Philippine laws, indirect contempt is a type of contempt committed out of the court’s presence. It could be disobedience, resistance to a lawful order, or “directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice.”

A person found guilty of committing indirect contempt against a Regional Trial Court or higher courts may be punished by a fine not exceeding P30,000 and imprisonment not more than six months – or both, according to the Rules of Court.

In a notice dated October 11 but issued on Tuesday, October 18, the SC ordered Badoy to comment on the petition for indirect contempt. The High Court gave Badoy 15 days, non-extendible, to comment on the petition.

Stopping the attacks

Domingo said red-tagging of lawyers should be stopped because it affects the judiciary’s independence.

“We have to put a stop to this. Every well-meaning Filipino citizen should join us, the Movement Against Disinformation, so that we can do something about this and preserve the independence of the judiciary and the lives and limbs of the judges particularly,” the lawyer said.

Domingo further explained that there have been cases where threats to lawyers lead to actual killings.

“‘Pag hindi natin nai-stop ‘to, bukas mayroon na namang babarilin, mayroon na namang aambushin. May mga lawyers na naman na titirahin, mayroong re-red-tag-in. (If we don’t stop this, someone might again be gunned down tomorrow, someone would be ambushed again. Lawyers would be attacked, red-tagged),” Domingo said said.

“‘Pag nared-tag kami, sasabihin nila, ‘ayon nared-tag kasi komunista ‘yan. Kinabukasan patay na kami. ‘Yan ang nangyayari sa atin. (If we become red-tagged, they will say we were red-tagged because we’re communists. Then a day later, we’re dead. That’s what’s happening to us).” (READ: Lawyers killed: 61 under Duterte, 49 from Marcos to Aquino)

On September 22, Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 presiding judge Malagar dismissed the years-old petition of the Philippine government seeking to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as terrorists. Shortly, Badoy, who is notorious for red-tagging government critics, red-baited and called Malagar a “friend and defender” of the communist rebels.

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After Badoy’s threats, the High Court itself issued a warning against those who incite violence against judges. The SC warned that the threats could be considered as contempt of court. Chief Justice Alexander Gesmundo also earlied said tha the High Court will protect judges from any harassment.

Judges also came to Malagar’s rescue and condemned the attacks against their fellow judge. Universities and school officials also pushed back against Badoy’s threats. 

Badoy is no longer in government after her stint as spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) under the Duterte administration. –

1 comment

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  1. ET

    This is a very interesting case. This is worth keeping up with. It has a direct and significant bearing on the Rule of Law in the Philippines. Who will prevail in the end?

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Jairo Bolledo

Jairo Bolledo is a multimedia reporter at Rappler covering justice, police, and crime.