The Malacañang on Wednesday downplayed Presidential Communications Operations Office Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy‘s act of tagging an activist nun as a member of a terrorist group as mere “freedom of expression” despite the dangers it posed to the nun’s safety.
Badoy, who was also the spokesperson for the government’s anti-terrorism task force, previously accused Sr. Mary John Mananzan of St. Scholastica’s College of being a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front which she alleged is a terrorist organization.
The government official made this accusation after Mananzan expressed her dissent against the conviction of veteran journalists Maria Ressa and former journalist Reynaldo Santos Jr., which was also condemned by journalism bodies here and abroad, on her Facebook page.
Mary John Mananzan, high ranking official of a school I admire, the St. Scholastica College, is a long-time ally of the…
During the Laging Handa press briefing on June 23, a reporter asked presidential spokesperson Harry Roque about the danger of Badoy’s remarks against Mananzan after President Rodrigo Duterte considered the NPA as a terrorist entity.
Duterte, during his late-night address last Monday, claimed that communists are the biggest threat to the Philippines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Roque responded and argued against the reporter that such a statement is just her “personal expression” which is granted to her under the Bill of Rights.
He, however, did not mention Badoy’s name and suggested to the reporter to ask the PCOO instead.
“So, that is a personal expression po of kung sino man ang nagsabi niyan at unfortunately, wala rin po akong hurisdiksyon dahil hindi naman po iyan sa aking tanggapan,” Roque said.
He later added: “Pero that is a personal opinion po of the writer at sa ating demokrasya hindi naman pupuwede na kapag pupulaan mo lang ang gobyerno mayroon kang kalayaan. Siyempre, iyong mga taong gobyerno na pupulaan ang kalaban ng gobyerno, hayaan din natin sila because the freedom of expression is guaranteed under the Bill of Rights.”
Badoy vs Sister Mary John
Mananzan, from the Benedictine Order, is the current national Chair Emerita of Gabriela, one of the largest women’s rights organizations in the country and an administrator at St. Scholastica’s College in Manila.
Aside from advocating on women’s rights, Mananzan had also been vocal against extrajudicial killings, attacks on press freedom, the Marcos burial and other acts of violence during the Duterte administration.
Mananzan last week aired her disappointment on Judge Rainelda Estacio Montesa who ruled on the conviction of Ressa and Santos. She lamented the judge’s educational background.
“I strongly condemn the conviction of Maria Ressa And Reynaldo Santos Jr. by Judge Rainelda Estacio Montesa. I am ashamed that she studied in St. Scho. I am sad that she did not learn the values of a Scholastican education,” she said on June 16.
I strongly condemn the conviction of Maria Ressa And Reynaldo Santos Jr. by Judge Rainelda Estacio Montesa. I am ashamed…
Badoy made a screenshot of this post and included this on her lengthy rant against Mananzan the next day, on June 17.
“Mary John Mananzan, high ranking official of a school I admire, the St. Scholastica College, is a long-time ally of the National Democratic Front–⅓ of the unholy triumvirate of terror, the CPP NPA NDF,” she said.
“She is also the emeritus chairperson of GABRIELA, an above-ground organization of the terrorist group, CPP NPA NDF, that has brought so much harm, so much death and destruction to our beloved Philippines,” she added.
On June 19, Badoy also alleged activists Carol Araullo and Teddy Casiño, and Vergel Santos, who is a member of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility as members of communist rebels.
I wrote this a few days ago and I heard this has agitated high ranking CPP party members, Carol Araullo, Teddy Casiño…
Badoy and the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict had been keen on red-tagging alliances and entities that express dissent against Duterte and his policies this year.
The official Facebook page of NTF-ELCAC also carried Badoy’s opinion on the activist nun.
Last January, the PCOO official accused the think tank IBON Foundation as a communist legal front to the CPP and NPA.
No existing law yet that prohibits communist membership
Contrary to the pronouncements of Duterte and his allies, the NDF and the CPP are not yet declared terrorist groups by any Philippine court.
Section 17 of the Human Security Act, which law would be repealed in a few days and be replaced by the controversial Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, states that the Department of Justice has to file a petition before Regional Trial Court first to legally declare particular entities or individuals as terrorists.
In its statement against Badoy on June 19, Movement against Tyranny expressed that her red-tagging to an activist nun is the main reason why the new anti-terror bill should be vetoed.
“Under the new Anti-Terrorism Act awaiting Pres. Duterte’s signature, such accusations can result in Mananzan’s designation as a suspected “terrorist” subject to 24-hour surveillance, warrantless arrest and detention without charges of up to 24 days, and a host of other violations of her rights and liberties,” the statement read.
PRESS STATEMENTJune 19,2020BADOY'S RED-BAITING HAS GONE TOO FARPresidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO)…
Being part of any leftist group is also not a crime which was granted by the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Act in 1992.
Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra was among those who opposed the move to reinstate this measure last year.
“Being leftist is far from being terrorist. As long as activism remains in the realm of ideology, there is nothing to be alarmed about,” Guevarra said.