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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Badoy found guilty of red-tagging judge

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The Supreme Court (SC) has fined former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Lorraine Marie Badoy-Partosa P30,000 for indirect contempt after she publicly attacked Manila trial court Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar on social media.

Associate Justice Marvic Leonen wrote the 51-page en banc decision, which found Badoy guilty of “red-tagging.” She accused Malagar of bias for dismissing a government petition to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, New People’s Army, as terrorist organizations.

“For her vitriolic statements and outright threats against Judge Magdoza-Malagar and the Judiciary, respondent is found guilty of indirect contempt and is fined P30,000.00 with a warning that repeating the same or similar acts will lead to a more severe penalty,” the SC ruled.

The court also cited concerns that Badoy’s posts incited violence, highlighting comments from her followers expressing anger towards the judge. The decision noted that “past experiences” show the potential for social media incitement, especially from influential figures.

Badoy’s controversial social media posts in September 2022 led various organizations from the legal community to issue official statements, denouncing her “malicious and dangerous utterances on social media.”

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The controversy prompted the high tribunal to act instantly on the matter by issuing a warning against those who “continue to incite violence through social media and other means which endanger the lives of judges and their families.”

The court emphasized that while freedom of expression allows criticism of courts and judges, it must be done “in properly respectful terms and through legitimate channels.” Badoy’s words and actions, the court said, crossed the line.

“In this case, this Court wields its contempt power due to the harmful, vicious, and unnecessary manner in which respondent launched her criticism, evident in the immediate after effects her statements had on the public,” the SC said.

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline “SC finds Badoy guilty of indirect contempt for red-tagging judge.”

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