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MANILA, Philippines – Following the threats of former anti-insurgency spokesperson Lorraine Badoy against a Manila judge, the Supreme Court warned on Tuesday, September 27, that inciting violence against judges could be considered contempt of the High Court.
“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 BE CONSIDERED A CONTEMPT OF THIS COURT and will be dealt with accordingly,” the Supreme Court said in a statement.
In its statement, the High Court also referred to Badoy as “a certain Lorraine Badoy.”
Last week, Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar, presiding judge of Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19, junked the Department of Justice’s proscription case, which sought to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army as terrorists. In her decision, Malagar noted the difference between terrorism and rebellion, and that the atrocities in question did not fall under the definitional elements of terrorism.
Shortly after the release of the decision, Badoy, who is notorious for red-baiting government critics, red-tagged Malagar and called her “friend and defender” of the communist rebels.
The former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson even wrote: “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 later denied her statements.
Before the High Court, judges already pushed back against Badoy’s pronouncements and condemned the attacks against Malagar.
Meanwhile, the Supreme Court also announced on Tuesday that its en banc tackled motu proprio possible actions against Badoy for issuing threats against Malagar.
Supreme Court spokesperson Brian Hosaka also told reporters that the SC has no order asking Badoy to comment on the matter.
“There has been no such order yet from the Supreme Court since they are still deliberating on the matter,” Hosaka said.
Malagar is the second judge to be red-tagged after Judge Monique Quisumbing-Ignacio of Mandaluyong, who was also tagged in 2021 for freeing two activists. The threats on Ignacio pushed the SC to issue a rare statement vowing to protect members of the legal profession.
Under the term of former president Rodrigo Duterte alone, at least 66 lawyers were killed – 14 of whom were former or current prosecutors, while nine were retired or former judges and justices.
In a statement, a group of lawyers said attacks on judges, if left unchecked, might affect the public’s trust in the country’s justice system.
“Lies, spins, and libelous accusations amounting to criminal contempt against judges, if left unchecked, erode the people’s faith in our courts and justice system. We must not stand idly by while justice actors are attacked by those who work to spread fear and paranoia.”
The group also called on the High Court to take “immediate, concrete, and firm” action to protect legal professionals. – Rappler.com