SMNI hosts Badoy, Celiz appeal their release before SC
MANILA, Philippines — SMNI anchors Lorraine Badoy and Jeffrey “Ka Eric” Celiz on Monday pleaded before the Supreme Court (SC) for their release from detention after they were cited in contempt by the House Committee on Legislative Franchise.
Badoy and Celiz, through their lawyer Harry Roque filed a petition for certiorari and habeas corpus before the Supreme.
Badoy, former spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-Elcac), and Celiz are co-anchors of SMNI television program “Laban Kasama Ang Bayan.”
During the recent episode of “Laban Kasama ang Bayan,” they alleged that House Speaker Martin Romualdez spent P1.8 billion on his travels.
A resolution was filed at the House of Representatives for possible franchise violations of SMNI, where both Badoy and Celiz were called to be resource persons.
The lawmakers prodded them to reveal his source, but he refused, prompting the lawmakers to cite them for contempt. The issuance of a writ of habeas corpus seeking their release from detention on or before December 15, 2023, “regardless of the merits of the case.”
In their petition, they asked the SC to issue a writ of preliminary mandatory injunction and order their release from detention on or before December 15, 2023, regardless of the merits of the case.
Petitioners said the House of Representatives Committee on Legislative and Franchises and House sergeant-at-arms Napoleon Taas acted with grave abuse of discretion in citing them in contempt and in ordering their detention.
“Even while Petitioner Celiz profusely apologized that he cannot disclose the source of his information because of the Shield Law (Republic Act No. 53 amended), and even while Petitioner Badoy tried to answer the Committee’s questions to the best of her knowledge, the Committee still cited both of them in contempt and ordered their detention within the premises of the Batasan Complex,” read the petition.
Meanwhile, the writ of habeas corpus was sought by Rogilda Celiz and Walter Partosa, spouses of the detained SMNI hosts.
“The Petitioners were deprived of their right to due process of law. The detention of the Petitioners is an unlawful punishment for the comments that they made in their TV program,” it added.
A writ of habeas corpus “is a writ directed to a person detaining another, commanding the former to produce the body of the latter at a designated time and place.” It extends “to all cases of illegal and arbitrary detention by which any person is deprived of his liberty….”