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Supreme Court issues warning against inciting violence to judges amid Badoy's latest red-tagging issue

By SAAB LARIOSA Published Sep 27, 2022 6:10 pm

The Supreme Court (SC) of the Philippines has released a statement sternly warning against those who "continue to incite violence through social media and other means which endanger the lives of judges and their families."

The SC briefer comes after ex-Palace official Lorraine Badoy targeted Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar and linked her to communist rebels for allegedly "lawyering" for the Communist Party of the Philippines - New People's Army (CPP-NPA).

Badoy's statements came after Magdoza-Malaga junked a case seeking to declare the CPP-NPA as terrorist groups due to insufficient evidence under the Human Security Act.

Badoy also accused Marlo's husband, Leo Malagar, of being connected with the CPP-NPA.

In their statement, the Supreme Court said that they are tackling possible actions regarding the case and that the continued act of inciting violence to judges "shall be likewise be considered a contempt of this court and will be dealt with accordingly."

This wouldn't be the first time that Badoy's accusations of red-tagging have sparked controversy, although it should be noted that judges traditionally do not speak about their colleagues, as they would rather let their decisions speak for themselves.

On Sept. 27, the Chevening Alumni Foundation of the Philippines condemned Badoy's red-tagging of the Malagars, who are both Chevening scholars.

"We support our fellow Chevening scholars along with many other individuals who have been similarly attacked in the course of exercising their rights or performing their duties to respect human rights and uphold the rule of law," the Alumni Foundation wrote.

"Red-tagging has no place in our democratic society. It goes beyond the scope of freedom of expression as it incites hatred and breeds disrespect for the rule of law."

Hukom Inc. an organization of trial court judges, also issued a rare statement in light of Badoy's latest red-tagging.

"We are painfully aware that prior to this incident, judges had been vilified with labels such as hoodlums in robes, protectors of drug pushers and drug lords, and some have even been killed," Hukom said in a statement.

They also emphasized the role of social media that "exacerbated and intensified the formation of public views, in many cases, without the solid backing of verified facts" and called for law practitioners to not be "victims."

"Let us refuse to be victims; let us choose to be enablers of the rule of law. Let us not normalize the use of violence against persons as a form of redress by being silent," they added.

Likewise, the Philippine Judges Association (PJA) said that red-tagging judges were an "assault on democracy."

"We remind everyone that individuals, including judges, have protected constitutional rights, and personal attacks and threats against them and the judiciary should never be tolerated," they added.

They also called forth government officials to help to stop red-tagging in the country: "To this end, we call upon government offices and private organizations to see to it that the actions of their members are legal, moral and form part of the acts of a civilized society."

The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) has also shared a statement calling out the "harassment" against Magdoza - Malagar, sharing that "stating rational reservations on the decisions of the judiciary is normal. Attacking its members and threatening them with bodily harm is not."

They added that threatening judges is to "show fear at a critical element of the legal system" and called for the right to resort to appropriate remedies against Badoy's acts.

The Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG), meanwhile, is "outrage(d)" by the "irresponsible statements" made by Badoy.

In a statement signed by its chairman Jose Manuel Diokno, they said that she violated the victims' rights under international and Philippine law.

"Her red-tagging of the spouses Malagar violate their rights under international law and Philippine law. Her irresponsible posts against them and others clearly indicate that she will continue to act with imputiny unless she is held accountable," they wrote in a statement signed by chairman Jose Manuel Diokno.

FLAG also praised the SC for issuing a warning to Badoy and that they call on the Court to take action and "keep the public informed on the results."