Ombudsman finds ex-NTF-Elcac execs Parlade, Badoy guilty of red-tagging
MANILA, Philippines — The Office of the Ombudsman has found former anti-communist task force spokespersons retired Lt. Gen. Antonio Parlade Jr. and former undersecretary Lorraine Badoy guilty of committing conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service for red-tagging activists and organizations.
In a decision released on Thursday, signed by Ombudsman Samuel Martires last August 9, Parlade and Badoy were reprimanded after the Ombudsman found merit in the complaint of the National Union of People’s Lawyers (NUPL).
However, according to the Ombudsman, it finds no reason to push grave misconduct charges against the two former National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac) officials, as red-tagging or red-baiting does not constitute any “intentional wrongdoing or deliberate violation of law or standard behavior.”
Still, the Ombudsman held Parlade and Badoy accountable for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service because their statements used to criticize the NUPL do not constitute actions that would “amount to what a reasonable person would conceive as communist propaganda.”
“These matters (NUPL’s statements) are not communist propaganda as dissent and upholding of individual rights are vital in a vibrant democracy. As such, the importance of raising awareness or highlighting these issues to the public cannot gainsaid,” the decision read.
“Consequently, the aforementioned statements duly [tarnish] the image of NTF-Elcac as it perpetuates the notion that it is being used as a government tool to silence dissent or opposition instead of legitimately pursuing its ultimate goal of lasting peace and ending the armed conflict with the communist rebels,” it added.
Parlade and Badoy have been facing a deluge of cases before the Ombudsman, particularly due to red-tagging or linking individuals to the communist armed movement.
However, the two former officials and other people linked to the NTF-Elcac maintained that they were not red-tagging, as they were merely talking about the truth.
People linked to communist rebels included human-rights defenders, lawmakers, health workers, journalists, politicians, and celebrities like actress Angel Locsin and even former vice president Leni Robredo.
Last September 11, during the budget deliberations of the Ombudsman, Martires said that a complaint against Parlade had been dropped due to the absence of a law that prohibits red-tagging.
“With the huge amount ng cases, I don’t know the status of each. But if the honorable Congressman is referring to those cases against Parlade, Badoy et. al., Esperon, with respect to red tagging, those cases were already dismissed due to the reason that there is no law that prohibits red tagging. In the absence of a law we cannot arrogate on to ourselves by saying they violated red-tagging,” he said.