Badoy found guilty of indirect contempt

Lorraine Badoy
Lorraine BadoyPNA File photo

THE Supreme Court (SC) has found former anti-insurgency task force spokesperson Lorraine Badoy guilty of indirect contempt following the online attacks she launched against a Manila judge.

In a decision penned by Senior Associate Justice Marvic Leonen, Badoy was ordered to pay a fine of P30,000 and was warned that a repetition of the same or similar acts in the future shall merit a more severe sanction.

Badoy, through her Facebook page with over 166,000 followers, accused Regional Trial Court of Manila, Branch 19 Judge Marlo A. Magdoza-Malagar of being a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army (NPA) after issuing a resolution dismissing the petition of the Department of Justice (DOJ) to proscribe the organization as a terrorist group under the Human Security Act.

She also uploaded a post threatening to kill Magdoza-Malagar and to bomb his offices.

Badoy also tagged him as “unprincipled and rotten.”

Her posts were supported by her followers who even offered her their assistance.

This has prompted a group of lawyers to file a petition against Badoy for indirect contempt.

In the decision, the court noted the need to balance the exercise of free speech and the protection of judicial independence.

“One’s right to freedom of expression must be as fully protected as possible; however, its exercise must never transgress the equally important aspects of democracy, not least of all the Judiciary’s dignity and authority,” held the Court.

Direct contempt is committed when one engages in “misbehavior in the presence of or so near a court as to obstruct or interrupt the proceedings,” while indirect contempt involves actions that are committed not within the presence of the court, including improper conduct tending, directly or indirectly, to impede, obstruct, or degrade the administration of justice.

The SC also noted that Badoy’s criticisms were not made in good faith or without malice.

“She did not act with an honest sense of duty or with an interest in the pure and efficient administration of justice and public affairs. Instead, she was impelled by a self-seeking motive, which was to stir discontent among her audience, as evidenced by her use of violent and abrasive language in hurling accusations at Judge Magdoza-Malagar,” it said.

“Second, Badoy’s comments were not a fair and true reporting of a proceeding. On the contrary, Badoy imputed serious allegations against Judge Magdoza-Malagar and the Judiciary without any factual basis, said the Court. Her posts and even the pleadings she filed before the Court do not indicate that she possesses evidence to support her scandalous statements,” it added.

It said Badoy’s claims cast doubt on the legitimacy of Magdoza-Malagar’s decision, which resulted for the public to prejudge the case.

It said it is nothing but an act of intimidation to influence the resolution of a pending case.

The court also cautioned online personalities and influencers, underscoring that unregulated speech online and the spread of fake news pose real consequences in the real world.

“To maintain their popularity, online personalities tend to publish a steady stream of shocking or attention-grabbing content to take advantage of their audience’s negativity bias, that is, the natural human tendency to latch on to something bad rather than good. In a bid to ensure that their posts would become viral, they would make statements that produce heightened negative emotions, chasing after the dopamine rush brought about by the substantial increase in their followers and likes. The result is a proliferation of posts made to further their personal gain and popularity, without regard for the public good,” said the court.

“Online personalities thus have a duty to verify the truthfulness of the content they put out on the internet. It behooves them to validate the source of news through fact-checking and even through source-checking, lest they unwittingly disseminate fake news and even cause real-world harm,” it added.

Badoy was earlier cited in contempt at the House of Representatives for acting in a disrespectful manner and for refusing to answer relevant questions during an inquiry against Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI) to which they served as program hosts.

In one of their episodes, Badoy and her co-host Jeffrey Celiz took a swipe at House Speaker Martin Romualdez for spending P1.8 billion for his travels.

The claim was denied by Romualdez.

Celis later admitted that such information was unverified. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)


No stories found.

Just in

No stories found.

Branded Content

No stories found.
SunStar Publishing Inc.