THE PHILIPPINE Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered a former anti-communist spokesperson of government to explain why she should not be cited in contempt for allegedly threatening a Manila trial court judge on Facebook.
The tribunal gave ex-spokesperson Lorraine Marie T. Badoy 30 days to explain her threats against Judge Marlo A. Magdoza-Malagar, who had ruled that the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army, were not terrorist organizations, the court said in a statement.
She was also ordered to explain why her statements did not encourage more “violent language against members of the Judiciary.”
Ms. Badoy, who had accused the judge of supporting the communist groups, did not immediately reply to a Facebook Messenger chat seeking comment.
The High Court issued the order after more than a hundred lawyers on Sept. 26 condemned the so-called red-tagging.
The Integrated Bar of the Philippines said Ms. Badoy had gone “beyond reasonable discussion” and showed hate against the country’s judges.
“So, if I kill this judge and I do so out of my political belief that all allies of the CPP-NPA-NDF (National Democratic Front) 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,” Ms. Badoy said in her Facebook post on Sept. 23 that has since been deleted.
In a separate Facebook post on Sept. 28, Ms. Badoy said she did not wish harm on Ms. Malagar but was speaking hypothetically.
“I would like to assure the Justices of the Supreme Court that I did not, in any way, threaten Judge Marlo Malagar,” she said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.”
Also on Tuesday, several lawyers asked the High Court to cite Ms. Badoy in contempt, citing the gravity of her “tirades and threats.”
“Such shameless and public behavior towards an honorable public official is not only a conduct that tends to impede, obstruct or degrade the administration of justice, but is ultimately a direct affront against the dignity, honor, prestige and independence of the entire judicial system,” the plaintiffs said in a 35-page petition.
A person found guilty of indirect contempt faces up to six months of jail time and a fine of as much as P30,000.
Last week, the High Court warned those who threaten judges on social media, saying they could be held in contempt. It said fine or imprisonment or both would be imposed on “those who continue to incite violence through social media and other means, which endanger the lives of judges and their families.”
Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin C. Remulla told CNN Philippines last week his department would take the case against the communist organizations before the Court of Appeals.
Arjan P. Aguirre, who teaches political science at the Ateneo de Manila University, earlier said the state would probably continue accusing people of being communists despite Ms. Malagar’s ruling recognizing the Communist Party as a legitimate political movement. — John Victor D. Ordoñez