Support for red-tagged RTC judge snowballs
MANILA, Philippines — The Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) and the Philippine Judges Association (PJA) have joined a group of regional court judges in condemning the outright red-tagging and threats against Manila Regional Trial Court Presiding Judge Marlo Malagar, who junked the government’s proscription petition to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA) as terrorists.
The IBP and PJA statements did not mention names, but they were issued following the social media post of Lorraine Badoy, former spokesperson for the government’s anticommunist task force, who called Malagar a “friend” and “true ally” of the insurgents who gave her 135-page decision as a “gift” and “propaganda material.”
The IBP called the statements of “abuse, harassment and outright Red-tagging” against Malagar as “capricious and dishonest” and said that these “foment vitriol and hate against our judges.”
“Stating rational reservations on the decisions of the judiciary is normal. Attacking its members and threatening them with bodily harm is not. The judiciary’s job is to decide disputes. And no judge should ever feel threatened just by performing that duty,” the national organization of lawyers said in a statement.
It stressed that to threaten members of the judiciary is to sow fear at a “critical element” of the legal system.
“Broadcasts and posts showcasing those who verbally assault judges encourages the public to do the same. If judges can be treated disdainfully without consequence, the Rule of Law becomes a hollow promise,” the IBP said.
It also called for the immediate activation and utilization of the Judicial Marshall Service recently created by law.
The PJA, meanwhile, stressed that “any unfounded assault on a judge in whatever form or manner is an assault on democracy.”
A progressive group of faculty and academic workers at the University of the Philippines (UP) who had been targets of Red-tagging themselves also backed Malagar against the threats she received after dismissing the government’s petition to declare the Communist Party of the Philippines terrorist group.
“[We] stand with Judge Marlo against the threats of violence against her person and the anticommunist witchhunt from Lorraine Badoy,” the Congress of Teachers/Educators for Nationalism and Democracy (Contend) said in a statement on Monday.
Contend said Marlo’s decision was able to contextualize the emergence of communist-led armed struggle “as an organized response to decade-old social injustices and systemic ills.”
Instead of “recklessly espousing terroristic aims,” Contend said the decision “critically reads the communist party’s program” as it cited the call for genuine agrarian reform and national industrialization as an “independent foreign policy and pro-people governance that respects peoples’ rights.”
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