Supreme Court issues ‘stern warning’ vs red-tagging, harassing judges

Philippine Justices take part in an en-banc session at the Supreme Court in Manila, Philippines June 19, 2018. The highest court in the land on Tuesday (September 27) issued a stern warning against individuals who incite violence against judges and their families, through social media or other means. (Photo: REUTERS/Erik De Castro)
Philippine Justices take part in an en-banc session at the Supreme Court in Manila, Philippines June 19, 2018. The highest court in the land on Tuesday (September 27) issued a stern warning against individuals who incite violence against judges and their families, through social media or other means. (Photo: REUTERS/Erik De Castro)

The Supreme Court issued a statement of support for Manila Regional Trial Court (RTC) Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar Tuesday (September 27), after former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC) Spokesperson Lorraine Badoy-Partosa questioned her ruling to the point of outright advocating for violence against the judge.

“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 that this SHALL LIKEWISE BE CONSIDERED A CONTEMPT OF COURT and will be dealt with accordingly,” the Supreme Court said.

In a now-deleted Facebook post, Badoy said: “So if I kill this judge and I do so out of my political belief that all allies of the [Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front (CPP-NPA-NDF)] and their friends, then please be lenient with me.”

She also called Judge Magdoza-Malagar “unprincipled,” and a “friend of [CPP-NPA-NDF],” and her recent judgment dismissing the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) proscription case to declare the CPP and NPA a terrorist group a “judgment straight from the bowels of communist hell.”

Two groups of trial court judges have also condemned Badoy’s statement against Judge Magdoza Malagar.

“Except for the usual statement of condemnation and call to action every time a member of the Bench has fallen in the line of duty, we, members of the court, have often kept silent whenever our decisions came under attack. We have chosen to let our decisions speak on our behalf, aware that judicial remedies are available for the parties affected,” Hukom Inc. said on Saturday (September 24).

“Recent events, however, have magnified the effects of criticisms on the judiciary. We, members of HUKOM Inc., view these acts (e.g. red-tagging, online vilification, doxxing, etc.) as attacks on the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary,” they added.

The group said that Badoy’s statements cannot just be accepted as “normal and ordinary,” as they have a “chilling effect on the exercise of our judicial functions and the lasting damage they cause to our institution.”

Meanwhile, the Philippine Judges Association (PJA) on Monday called the attack on Judge Magdoza-Malagar “an assault on democracy.”

“We remind everyone that individuals, including judges, have protected constitutional rights, and personal attacks and threats against them and the judiciary should never be tolerated,” PJA said.

They are also calling on the government to “declare that in no time under its watch, will democracy be imperiled by an irresponsible and unfounded assault on a trial judge.”

Marvin Joseph Ang is a news and creative writer who follows developments on politics, democracy, and popular culture. He advocates for a free press and national democracy. Follow him on Twitter at @marvs30ang for latest news and updates. The views expressed are his own.

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