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SC warns vs. inciting violence, harm against judges

The Supreme Court on Tuesday warned that provoking violence against judges and their families through the social media and other means would be considered "contempt" of the High Tribunal.

In a press briefer, the SC Public Information Office said that the SC tackled on its own "statements made by a certain Lorraine Badoy containing threats against Judge Marlo A. Magdoza-Malagar of the Manila Regional Trial Court, Branch 19."

“The Court sternly warns those who continue to incite violence through social media and other means which endanger the lives of judges and their families, and this shall likewise be considered a contempt of this court, and will be dealt with accordingly” the SC said in a statement.

She is a former spokesperson for the National Task Force on Ending the Local Armed Conflict.

Badoy on Facebook criticized Malagar for her decision to dismiss the Department of Justice's proscription case seeking to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines and the New People’s Army as terrorist groups.

More than 170 lawyers on Tuesday called on the Supreme Court (SC) to take an “immediate, concrete, and firm” action against Badoy.

In a joint statement, 174 lawyers in the country said Badoy’s remarks against Judge Marlo A. Magdoza-Malagar  “constitute a direct attack against the judiciary and its officers that is intended to undermine public confidence in the justice system and to harass and intimidate those who choose to act independently to promote the rule of law”.

“We call on the Supreme Court not to let this pass and to take immediate, concrete, and firm action to protect justice actors and the rule of law. The Court must hold accountable those who threaten and malign our judges and lawyers,” the joint statement reads.

“Lies, spins, and libelous accusations amounting to criminal contempt against judges, if left unchecked, erode the people’s faith in our courts and justice system. We must not stand idly by while justice actors are attacked by those who work to spread fear and paranoia,” it said.

Among those who signed the joint statement were Lyceum College of Law Dean Pacifico Agabin, 2019 Bar Topnotcher Mae Diane Azores, NUPL Chairperson Neri Colmenares, ex- COMELEC Commissioner Rowena Guanzon, former Congressman Carlos Zarate and former Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno.

Badoy has denied making threats against Magdoza-Malagar.

“I did not threaten anybody. Lalo na 'yung judge. Walang threats 'yan (Especially the judge. There were no threats.),” Badoy said in a radio interview.

“Naging head ako ng strategic communications cluster ng NTF-ELCAC at maliwanag na maliwanag sa amin na matagal nang ginagawa ito, na operation ito ng CPP-NPA na kinukuyog. Noon pa nila... Kukunin nila ang salita nng kahit sinong binibiktima nila and they will make it seem whatever they wanted it to seem. Hindi ako nagth-threaten. Hindi naman ako terorista eh, ang CPP-NPA-NDF ang terorista,” she added.

(I lead the NTF-ELCAC strategic communications cluster and it was clear to us that this is part of the CPP-NPA operations. Whoever their victim is, they will use his words and make it seem whatever they wanted it to seem. I never threatened. I am not a terrorist. It is the CPP-NPA who are terrorists.)

The former NTF-ELCAC official, however, said she “respects” the SC and takes “full cognizance” of their issued warning.

“We’re taking full cognizance of what the SC said... I understand perfectly well what the SC is saying and I would like to assure them na nire-respeto ko sila (I would like to assure them that I respect them),” Badoy said. —with a report from Sundy Locus/NB, GMA News