Badoy faces 3 new Ombudsman complaints for red-tagging Robredo

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, March 23) — Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy was slapped with three new complaints at the Office of the Ombudsman on Wednesday — this time, for red-tagging Vice President Leni Robredo.

A total of 26 people — student leaders, teachers, activists, members of the religious sector, and other concerned citizens — filed the complaints.

The complainants, themselves accused of being terrorists, protested the public comments made by Badoy against Robredo, a presidential candidate. Badoy is also the spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict.

In her statement dated March 14, Badoy claimed that endorsements of Robredo from Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Maria Sison and the Makabayan bloc are an indication that she has "formed a tactical alliance with these communist terrorists."

Opposition lawmakers have denounced the red-tagging. The complainants said Badoy had no evidence to back her claims.

Badoy also assumed that several personalities present at Robredo's campaign sortie in Cavite were members of the CPP and its armed wing New People's Army, including former Kabataan Rep. Raymond Palatino.

In a press conference, Palatino belied Badoy's claims, insisting he was neither part of the campaign event nor is he a communist rebel.

"Hindi krimen o terorismo ang sumuporta sa oposisyon," he argued.

[Translation: Supporting the opposition is not a crime or terrorism.]

“Kung gusto ni Usec. Badoy at iba pang opisyal ng NTF-ELCAC na mangampanya laban kay VP Leni o sa Makabayan, dapat magbitiw muna sila sa kanilang posisyon,” he added.

[Translation: If Usec. Badoy and other NTF-ELCAC officials want to campaign against VP Leni or Makabayan, they should first resign from their posts.]

Complainants said Badoy’s red-tagging and political partisanship constitute violations of the Anti-Graft and Corrupt Practices Act, the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials, and other laws against electioneering.

They are calling on the Ombudsman to investigate Badoy, file the necessary charges, and preventively suspend her.

“Hindi wastong ugali ng isang publiko-opisyal ang pagbabato ng mabigat ngunit walang batayang akusasyon. Hindi akma sa mataas na posisyon ni Usec. Badoy ang paninirang puri at pananakot sa kapwa publiko-opisyal, at higit pa, sa ordinaryong mamayan,” the complaint signed by teachers Vladimer Quetua and Ophelia Tabacon read.

[Translation: It's not proper conduct for a public official to throw baseless accusations. Intimidating a fellow public official and more so, ordinary citizens, is not fitting for Usec. Badoy's high government post.]

Badoy has insisted her claims are not red-tagging, saying the term "is a tool used by the CPP NPA NDF fronts to silence those who are about to blow their cover."

“This obvious propaganda at the doorstep of the Ombudsman... doesn’t even register with us,” she said in a statement.

Complaints have already been filed against Badoy and other officials as early as 2020 for red-tagging various organizations and individuals.

“Nasa election period tayo. Dapat aksyunan kaagad ng Ombudsman ‘yan,” Movement Against Disinformation convener Rico Domingo said.

[Translation: We're in the midst of an election period. The Ombudsman should immediately take action.]

His fellow convener Tony La Viña said other legal actions can be taken against Badoy after she steps down from office in a few months' time. Without going into details, he said more red-taggers are bound to face legal actions.

La Viña also clarified that his group does not endorse any political candidate.

“Hindi ito tungkol kay VP Leni. Isang biktima lang si VP Leni ng red-tagging,” La Viña said.

[Translation: "This is not about VP Leni. She is just one of the victims of red-tagging."]

Aside from disinformation, complainants said red-tagging has led to the arrest, detention, and killing of activists and human rights defenders, citing the case of Lumad teacher Chad Booc who was killed in what the military claimed to be an encounter with NPA rebels in February.