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MANILA, Philippines – The Ombudsman found former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) officials Lorraine Badoy and Antonio Parlade Jr. guilty in an administrative case.
“WHEREFORE, this Office finds respondents Antonio Parlade, Jr. and Lorraine Marie T. Badoy GUILTY of Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service and imposes upon them the penalty of REPRIMAND pursuant to Rule III, Section 10 of Administrative Order No. 7, as amended by Administrative Order No. 17. The above-mentioned respondents are sternly warned that a repetition of a similar offense would be dealt with more severely,” said the Ombudsman decision dated March 23, 2023, but made public only on Thursday, September 21.
“The administrative complaint as to respondent Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. is hereby DISMISSED,” the decision, penned by Graft Investigation and Prosecution Officer Daniel Von Evan Panelo and approved by Ombudsman Samuel Martires, also said.
Under the Revised Rules on Administrative Cases in the Civil Service, the penalty for those found guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service is usually suspension for six months to a year for the first offense. However, Badoy and Parlade were sanctioned with only a reprimand.
If the two were penalized with suspension, they would have been ordered to pay the sum equivalent to their previous salaries. For example, if they were suspended for a year, they would be mandated to pay a year’s worth of their previous salaries.
According to the Ombudsman, the charges stemmed from a complaint filed by the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL).
The NUPL lawyers, led by Edre Olalia and Ephraim Cortez, filed the complaint against the respondents for their “participation and role and in the formulation and implementation of government’s policy and practice of tagging progressive organizations and their members as ‘communist terrorists’ or ‘fronts’ of the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.”
NUPL’s Olalia received the ruling with “mixed reactions.”
In a statement, Olalia said that while they did not achieve their desired “full legal redress” and that the reprimand seems like a mere “pyrrhic victory,” the decision to reprimand Parlade and Badoy can be viewed as a “loud warning shot.”
Given its stern warning, the decision “implies that any reckless innuendo [and] gratuitous vitriol against human rights lawyers (and by extension, against activists and human rights defenders, for that matter) to silence dissent, opposition or rights awareness, will not be countenanced and will be sanctioned one way or the other, sooner or later, in time,” the statement said. – Rappler.com