Punishment awaits those who incite violence and threaten judges–SC

THE Supreme Court (SC) is looking into possible actions against former spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict Lorraine Badoy for alleged red tagging and “harassing” Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Marlo Magdoza Malagar.

The Court’s pronouncement came on the heels of Magdoza-Malagar’s decision, junking the petition for proscription filed by the Department of Justice (DOJ) to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorist groups.

The 15-man High Tribunal, during its regular en banc session on Tuesday, also warned to cite for contempt those who continue to put the lives of judges and their families at risk through red tagging, vilification and harassment.

“Today, the Supreme Court En Banc tackled motu proprio possible actions in A.M. No. 22-09-16-SC [Re: Judge Marlo A. Magdoza Malagar] regarding statements made by a certain Lorraine Badoy containing threats against Judge Marlo A. Magdoza Malagar of the Manila Regional Trial Court, Branch19,” the SC said.

“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,” it added.

The warning came after several organizations such as the Philippine Judges Association, Integrated Bar of the Philippines and Hukom Inc., issued separate statements condemning the red tagging and threats allegedly made against Magdoza Malagar.

This developed even as more than 100 lawyers signed a manifesto calling for the SC to take actions to what they called “attacks on judicial independence.”

They stressed that Badoy’s baseless accusation against the Manila judge constitutes “a direct attack against the judiciary and its officer that is intended to undermine public confidence in the justice system and to harass and intimidate those who chose to act independently to promote the rule of law.”

The lawyers argued that if lies and libelous accusations directed to the members of the judiciary would not be dealt with by the SC accordingly, this would result to people’s loss of confidence and faith in the judicial system.

“We call on the Supreme Court not to let this pass and to take immediate, concrete and firm action to protect justice sectors and the rule of law. The Court must hold accountable those who threaten and malign judges and lawyers,” they said.

In a Facebook post last Friday, Badoy accused Magdoza Malagar of “lawyering” for the CPP-NPA when she ruled that rebellion and political crimes are not acts of terrorism.

Badoy even called the judge a “friend and true ally” of the communist groups and branded her decision as a “judgment straight from the bowels of communist hell.”

Badoy also wrote in her post: “So, 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.”

However, in her succeeding Facebook posts, Badoy disowned the post and branded it as “fake news” following a backlash from various sectors.

Under the Duterte administration, Mandaluyong Judge Monique Quisumbing-Ignacio also became a victim of red tagging and harassment after she junked criminal raps against a journalist and a labor organizer, and was also accused of having communist links.

In a statement, the Integrated Bar of the Philippines condemned the alleged abuse, harassment and outright red tagging of another member of the Judiciary.

“These capricious and dishonest statements go beyond reasonable discussion. They foment vitriol and hate against our judges,” it added.

In a separate statement, the Philippine Judges Association said any baseless attack on a judge in whatever manner “is an assault on democracy.”


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