Pimentel: Court officials must be respected regardless of rulings

Sherrie Ann Torres, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Oct 01 2022 08:40 AM

Senator Koko Pimentel holds a press briefing at the Senate building in Pasay City on September 13, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File
Senator Koko Pimentel holds a press briefing at the Senate building in Pasay City on September 13, 2022. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/File

MANILA—Senate Minority Leader Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III said Friday that members of the court should be respected by the public regardless of the nature of their ruling on cases.

Pimentel's statement came days after the Supreme Court acted swiftly to protect one of its own judges against online threats and red-tagging by issuing a strongly-worded warning.

A bar topnotcher, Pimentel said he supports the Supreme Court's warning to the public that those who incite violence against judges could be considered as contempt of the high tribunal.

"Tama naman po 'yun. We should protect our judges, justices, members of the Judiciary. Even if it's just hypothetical example or theoretical sample, we do not use them as example," he said.

"Kasi delikado. Pano kung na-misunderstand ka ng mga nakarinig o nakabasa ng sinabi mo?"

Former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Lorraine Badoy, in a Facebook post, earlier linked Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar to 2 rebel groups. 

Badoy, a former Malacañang official, was criticizing Magdoza-Malagar's ruling that junked the Department of Justice’s proscription case against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA). 

Aside from red-tagging the judge, Badoy also posed a hypothetical scenario: “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.”

She later claimed she did not threaten the judge.

But law experts said Badoy might have committed an act of "inciting to sedition" with her statements.