Editorial: Investigate Badoy

·2 min read

Filipina Nobel Peace Prize laureate 2021 Maria Ressa has filed an administrative complaint against communications undersecretary Lorraine Badoy before the Office of the Ombudsman, asking the anti-graft body to investigate the government official for her alleged “malicious and defamatory” posts against the journalist and head of news site Rappler.

Ressa’s legal team wants the Ombudsman to investigate Badoy for allegedly violating Republic Act 6713 (the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees) as the latter allegedly called the journalist a “sociopath,” “rotten soul” and “enemy of the state.” These alleged malicious contents from Badoy, also the spokesperson for the National Government’s anti-insurgency task force, were published either on her verified Facebook page or through official sites, Rappler reported.

Badoy reportedly red-tagged Rappler by falsely stating that Rappler is an “ally and mouthpiece” of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA).

Ressa was not the first to file a complaint against Badoy, who has become infamous for red-tagging media personalities, opposition politicians and organizations. Groups of activists have filed separate administrative complaints against Badoy before the Ombudsman last March and early April.

Red-tagging is dangerous. Also known as red-baiting, it has been used for decades in the Philippines in the government’s campaign against the NPA, which began in 1969, according to the Human Rights Watch (HRW).

“The government’s counterinsurgency efforts include publicly accusing activists, journalists, politicians, and others and their organizations of being directly involved in the fighting or supporting the NPA. The Philippine military has long been responsible for large numbers of extrajudicial killings and torture of alleged communists,” HRW said.

HRW senior researcher Carlos Conde has said red-tagging is “a pernicious practice that targets people who often end up being harassed or even killed” and said it is “rapidly shrinking the space for peaceful activism in the Philippines.”

Badoy’s red-tagging spree certainly would not solve the problem of communist insurgency, the longest in the world.

The Ombudsman must investigate Badoy unless it is afraid of being red-tagged by the public official.

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