Activists and youth organizations on Wednesday filed separate complaints with the Office of the Ombudsman against National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) spokesperson Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy for allegedly red-tagging Vice President Leni Robredo and other groups.
The complainants accused Badoy of engaging in partisan political activity, which is prohibited under the Omnibus Election Code and the Administrative Code of 1987, after she issued a statement on March 14 linking Robredo to the communist rebels.
Badoy violated the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees, the complaint said.
“By utilizing the infrastructure of state media for purposes of influencing the minds of voters vis-a-vis the May 9, 2022 elections, Undersecretary Badoy has besmirched the reputation of her fellow public servant in the process by publicly associating the presidential campaign of Vice President Maria Leonor Gerona-Robredo with the Communist Party of the Philippines,” the complaint read.
“Considering that her actions bear heavily upon discussions in the public sphere regarding the positions and qualifications for office of presidential aspirants, we believe that she should be disciplined for such breach of the public’s trust in a supposedly non-partisan and professional civil service,” it added.
They said Badoy "is not among those public officers exempt from the requirement of desisting from partisan political activity during national and local elections."
The complainants urged the Ombudsman to look into Badoy's actions and suspend her until June 2022 when the term of the Duterte administration ends.
Former Kabataan party-list Representative Raymond Palatino, one of the complainants, urged Badoy and other NTF-ELCAC officials to resign if they wanted to campaign against Robredo and the Makabayan bloc.
“Sa pahayag nasa stage daw ako sa Cavite sa rally ni VP Leni bilang collusion ng CPP-NPA-NDF at Kakampink. Wala po ako sa Cavite at wala pa po akong napupuntahan proclamation rally ng Kakampink o ng kahit ng Makabayan ngayong ng kampanya. Hindi rin po ako CPP-NPA sa NCR (National Capital Region),” Palatino said at a media briefing.
(The statement said I was on stage in Cavite at VP Leni's rally in collusion with the CPP-NPA-NDF and Kakampink. I was not in Cavite and I haven't been to the proclamation rally of Kakampink or even the Makabayan during this campaign. I am also not part of the CPP-NPA in the NCR.)
“Gusto ko sanang tawanan na lang ang kasinungalingan pero hindi biro ang ma-re-red-tag sa panahon ngayon. Kung gusto ni Usec. Badoy at iba pang official ng NTF-ELCAC na mangampanya laban kay VP Leni at sa Makabayan, dapat magbitiw muna sila sa kanilang posisyon,” he added.
(I wish I could just laugh at these lies, but red-tagging is not a joke these days. If Usec. Badoy and other NTF-ELCAC officials want to campaign against VP Leni and Makabayan, they must first resign from their positions.)
Platino furthered stressed, “Hindi po terorismo ang mangampanya laban sa Marcos at Duterte. Hindi krimen o terorismo ang sumuporta sa oposisyon. Ang krimen at ang mali ay ang ginagawa ng NTF-ELCAC.”
(Campaigning against Marcos and Duterte is not an act of terrorism. It was not a crime or terrorism to support the opposition. What the NTF-ELCAC is doing is wrong and a crime.)
Aside from Palatino, the complainants include the National Union of Students of the Philippines president Jandeil Roperos, Youth Act Now Against Tyranny spokesperson Alicia Lucena, and Delfin Castro, the older brother of Dr. Natividad Castro.
In a statement, Badoy said there is no such thing as red-tagging.
"No less than the Supreme Court has ruled that there is no danger to life, liberty and security when one is identified as a member of the CPP-NPA-NDF," she said.
She said that the term is being used by so-called "CPP-NPA-NDF fronts" to silence those who are about to "blow their cover."
“The NTF-ELCAC stands firm in its duty of speaking the truth to the Filipino people about the CPP-NPA-NDF and its numerous fronts whose main goal is to deceive them into joining these fronts and once in, lead them down the road to extremism with one goal and one goal alone: the violent overthrow of government and the installation of communism in the Philippines,” Badoy said.
“Countless lives have been sacrificed in the altar of the terrorist Joma Sison—our children, our indigenous peoples, the most vulnerable among us,” the NTF-ELCAC official added.
She said that the filing of charges before the Ombudsman was "obvious propaganda" of alleged communist front groups such as the Kabataan party-list, Anakpawis, Bayan Muna, Alliance of Concerned Teachers, and Gabriela.
Moreover, Badoy underscored the need to disclose politicians who form "unholy alliances" with the CPP-NPA-NDF and "who lend them material support for their political ambitions at the expense of our country."
“We will not be party to anything that prolongs the life of this communist terrorist group that has brought untold grief and destruction to our country—on no small measure brought on by the alliances made by traitors in our midst who pretend to be public servants while selling us and our children to these terrorists in exchange for whatever votes they can get from rotten deals they make,” she said. — VBL, GMA News