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The Commission on Human Rights (CHR) said it is willing to help embattled Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) hosts Lorraine Badoy and Jeffrey Celiz if they ask for help.
“Uulitin ko po ‘yung sagot ko: CHR ng lahat, maglilingkod maging sino ka pa. So wala ho talagang distinction (I will repeat my answer: the CHR is for everyone – it will serve you whoever you are. So there’s no real distinction),” CHR chairperson Richard Palpal-latoc said on Thursday, December 14, when asked if the body would help the two SMNI hosts.
“Why not? Kasi mandato po namin ‘yan eh pagka may pananaw sa karapatang pangtao. And [if] the CHR would find it necessary to intervene, yes [we will] (Why not? Our mandate covers anything that has something to do with human rights. And if the CHR would find it necessary to intervene, yes, we will intervene),” Palpal-latoc added.
Badoy, a former spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), and Celiz, a self-proclaimed rebel, are a duo who red-tagged, or labeled people as communists without basis, on their program regularly. They are currently in hot water after their remark about Speaker Martin Romualdez’s alleged travel expenses, which led to a House probe, and then to their eventual detention after they were held in contempt.
The two later filed a habeas corpus petition with the Supreme Court – to compel the surfacing of a person and to protest their arrest detention. The same writ had also been invoked by progressive individuals whom they red-tagged on several occasions.
Badoy and Celiz were later released on humanitarian considerations.
“She is so free to tell whatever she wants to the President. Why should she feel embattled? Or why should she feel curtailed?” CHR commissioner and retired Court of Appeals associate justice Monina Arevalo Zenarosa said.
During and after her tenure at the NTF-ELCAC, Badoy gained notoriety for red-tagging. Various groups and individuals filed several complaints against her for her red-tagging. In September this year, the Office of the Ombudsman reprimanded Badoy after the former anti-insurgency spokesperson linked some officials of the National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers to “communist terrorists.”
Due to Badoy’s red-tagging, the CHR also schooled her at one point. In April 2022, the commission explained that Badoy had incorrectly reworded an SC decision, which Badoy used to justify red-tagging.
Under the administration of Badoy’s ex-boss, former president Rodrigo Duterte, the CHR was attacked and vilified. In 2017, several allies of Duterte called on late former CHR Chito Gascon to resign for allegedly being partial amid the CHR’s continued criticism against the then-president’s bloody drug war.
In the same year, the House of Representatives pushed to give the commission a budget of only P1,000 for 2018. Then-speaker and former Duterte ally Pantaleon Alvarez even said he would only allow a bigger budget if Gascon resigned. – Rappler.com