MANILA — A judge who warned against the dangers of red-tagging in dismissing the Department of Justice’s proscription case against the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and the New People’s Army (NPA) now finds herself red-tagged by a former anti-insurgency task force official.
In a Facebook post Friday, former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict spokesperson Lorraine Badoy accused Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 19 Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar of "lawyering" for the CPP-NPA when she ruled that rebellion and political crimes are not acts of terrorism.
Calling Magdoza-Malagar’s resolution a “judgment straight from the bowels of communist hell,” Badoy 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.”
Badoy had slammed the judge for supposedly asking that “acts of terrorism” of the CPP-NPA-NDF should be deemed “political crimes” which are “treated with leniency.”
She called her “unprincipled” and a “friend of CPP NPA NDF.”
The judge however was citing a long line of Supreme Court cases which distinguished rebellion from ordinary crimes and terrorism, explaining in detail the “political offense doctrine” — why there seems to be a lenient attitude towards rebels in the cited cases.
Magdoza-Malagar relied on “precedents” or cases decided by the Supreme Court which have become authority for deciding subsequent cases.
In her ruling, Judge Magdoza-Malagar cited at least 6 SC cases on the issue of political crimes which explained why common crimes take on a political complexion if done for a political purpose and are not punished similarly as common crimes.
She pointed out that unlike a common bandit, an NPA member is steeped in ideology, as shown by a 3-tiered recruitment process — from being a member of a national democratic mass organization to joining the underground mass organization and finally the CPP-NPA.
"An NPA member engages in violence and employs force, not for violence’s sake but in pursuit of the higher ideals contained in the Constitution of the CPP,” she had said.
But it is exactly this same quote that Badoy criticized.
“What higher ideals is this unprincipled judge talking about? The CPP NPA NDF has one goal and one goal alone: the seizure of political power through violent means,” she said in her post.
“There is nothing lofty about the murder of our citizens — who are seen as collateral damage to their stupid war — that is deeply ingrained in the core of the CPP NPA NDF,” she added.
Badoy then invoked the "blooded murder" of Keith Absalon, a footballer killed by a landmine explosion and gunshot wounds in Masbate, and the "decapitated" members of Bagobo Tagabawa tribe, and claimed that Judge Magdoza-Malagar do not consider these acts of terrorism.
But these cases were not part of the 9 cited incidents in the proscription case which the Judge Magdoza-Malagar ruled on — which involved incidents of killings, attempted killings and abduction from 2019 to 2020 in different areas in Mindanao.
The judge said that based on Supreme Court rulings, the 9 incidents could only be considered “rebellion” and not “terrorism,” taking time to explain the difference of the 2 crimes under Philippine law.
While both may involve the use of violence, she said violence in rebellion is directed against agents of the State or the military or the police, while terrorism is directed against the civilian population, intended to cause “extraordinary and widespread fear and panic,” a key element under the Human Security Act, which has now been repealed by the Anti-Terrorism Act.
Badoy also claimed the judge ruled contrary to the SC ruling in Zarate vs. Aquino which supposedly held that there's no danger to life, liberty and security when one is identified as a CPP-NPA-NDF member.
Vera Files has fact-checked this claim and called it “misleading.”
“The Supreme Court did not say this in Zarate vs. Aquino. What the High Court ruled in the case was that ‘mere membership in organizations or sectors’ mentioned in the petition – including progressive groups Kilusang Magbubukid ng Pilipinas, Karapatan, and Bayan Muna – ‘cannot equate to an actual threat that would warrant the issuance of a writ of amparo’,” it said, citing the 2015 ruling.
But in two separate posts on Facebook Saturday, Badoy denied making a hypothetical statement on killing Judge Magdoza-Malagar, calling it “fake news.”
As of Saturday morning, the post was no longer available on her timeline on Facebook.
Instead, she claimed what she merely said was that the judge, whom she called a “friend and defender of the CPP NPA NDF,” relied on the constitution of the CPP and not on Philippine laws.
Judge Magdoza-Malagar’s 135-page ruling is however complete with references to Philippine laws and decisions rendered by the Supreme Court.
Badoy went on to say she wants to build an organization which will “start bombing the offices of these corrupt judges who are friend of terrorists — even if they kneel before us and beg for their lives…”
PROOF OF BADOY’S POST
But Badoy’s denial was immediately debunked by Twitter users, activists and human rights defenders who posted screenshots of her Facebook post.
A Twitter user was able to screen record the post and posted the video on Twitter.
National Union of Peoples’ Lawyer president Edre Olalia was also able to screenshot Badoy’s post at 5:50 p.m. on September 23, Friday, while former BAYAN MUNA Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate shared a timestamp of his screenshot taken on 5:44 pm of the same day.
Magdoza-Malagar is not the first judge to be red-tagged.
In 2021, Mandaluyong RTC Judge Monique Quisumbing-Ignacio was also red-tagged in 2 tarpaulins hung on footbridges along EDSA.
But unlike Badoy’s public post, the perpetrators were never identified.
Facing calls from various groups, the Supreme Court responded to Judge Quisumbing-Ignacio's red-tagging by issuing a rare, strongly-worded statement condemning threats and killings of lawyers and judges.
"To threaten our judges and our lawyers is no less than an assault on the judiciary. To assault the judiciary is to shake the very bedrock on which the rule of law stands. This cannot be allowed in a civilized society like ours. This cannot go undenounced on the Court’s watch,” SC magistrates said in a joint statement.
Activists, lawyers and human rights groups have claimed red-tagging have led to killings.
The judge herself, in her ruling, warned against the “pernicious practice that poses a threat to the security of activists.”
“‘[P]utting the ‘communist label’ on one who may not be a member or on one who, even if a member, may not have participated in the actual act of taking up arms against the government, poses a serious concern,” she said.
Zarate and fellow BAYAN MUNA former representatives Neri Colmenares and Teddy Casiño have condemned Badoy’s post.
Aside from her Facebook post, Badoy also red-tagged Magdoza-Malagar on her TV show on television station SMNI for her ruling.
ABS-CBN News has reached out to the Supreme Court, the Court Administrator, and Badoy for comment but has yet to receive a response as of posting.