Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy on Friday responded to the Makabayan bloc’s calls for her resignation by issuing four conditions for her to quit her post.
The Makabayan bloc is comprised by Party-list representatives of Bayan Muna, ACT Teachers, Gabriela, and Kabataan.
During the session last Wednesday, September 9, the House Committee on Appropriations suspended hearings on the 2021 budget for the Presidential Communications Operations Office after Badoy’s persistent red-tagging of the government’s critics.
In her previous statements on Facebook, Badoy has publicly tagged lawmakers, academics, journalists and other activists as members of the Communist Party of the Philippines-New People’s Army-National Democratic Front several times in the past.
Aside from PCOO, Badoy also serves as the spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), an agency also notorious for labeling progressive groups as communist rebels.
What were Badoy’s conditions?
In a lengthy Facebook post on Friday, September 11, Badoy continued to tag Representatives France Castro (ACT Teachers), Carlos Zarate (Bayan Muna), Ferdinand Gaite (Bayan Muna), Arlene Brosas (Gabriela), Sarah Elago (Kabataan) and Eufemia Cullamat (Bayan Muna) as members of the CPP-NPA-NDF.
For her to step down from her post, Badoy stated that they have to show that they are not members of the communist rebellion, wherein she asked them to do the following:
- “Please condemn all the violence done by CPP-NPA-NDF to our countrymen in leading Jose Maria Sison and the leadership of the Central Committee that you said you are not members.”
- “Please publicly condemn this violence by CPP-NPA-NDF as proof that you are not CPP-NPA-NDF.”
- “Promise from now on, stand together with the government and the nation and you will work to lose the plague and hardships of our nation that is CPP-NPA-NDF.”
- “Call to surrendered Joma Sison and their companions with warrants of arrest and face their cases here. Since you said you don’t have connection with the founder of the terrorist CPP-NPA-NDF.”
Sa mga Representanteng France Castro, Rep Carlos Zarate, Ferdinand Gaite, Arlene Brosas, Sarah Elago, Eufemia…
Badoy also demanded the lawmakers to denounce the violence CPP-NPA-NDF committed in the past. However, the incidents and activities she cited are not connected to the communist rebels and were mere accusations.
These include the closure of Lumad schools, the alleged brainwashing of college students, and the communications with international rights groups as alleged “lies” to supposedly raise money for terrorism.
The PCOO official also mentioned other notable atrocities such as the Plaza Miranda bombing in 1971 and the Inopacan Massacre in 1985.
Should the Makabayan bloc members accomplish these, Badoy vowed to immediately apologize to them and delete her posts against them.
“Ma’am and sir, if you do that, I will immediately apologize to you and I will publicly declare that I have made a mistake in accusing that you are high ranking party members of CPP NPA NDF. And I will remove my posts that I am accused of you that you are high ranking party members of terrorist CPP NPA NDF,” she said.
“And less than a minute you did that, I will reach the letter of my resignation to my appointing officer, our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, as Undersecretary of Presidential Communications Operations Office,” she added.
Prior to this, in a separate statement also on Friday, Badoy stated that she will not resign because she claimed to have never deceived the public.
“Also, I’m not the one who has to resign because I have not deceived the Filipino people nor have I done anything to hurt them. I come to the table with clean hands and as pure a heart as I can muster,” she said.
The Makabayan Bloc Reps ought to give this redtag charge a rest. We can no longer count the number of times they've sued…
What transpired during the hearing
ACT Teacher’s Castro was one who called for the suspension of the hearing. She stated that it’s about time for Badoy to respond to comments against her under oath.
Zarate, who seconded the call, also perceived that Badoy’s constantly accuses them of being terrorists while the PCOO seeks for a budget is an “affront to the institution.”
“Kung ganun-ganun na lang pong mag-aakusa itong isang unelected official na ito sa mga halal ng bayan at humihingi sila ng budget dito, then Mr Chair, we cannot allow that. This is not only an affront to us, but I think this is an affront to the institution,” he said.
PCOO Secretary Martin Andanar defended Badoy and argued that her posts should not affect the rest of the agency.
“That is her own post on her page, and that should not affect the rest of the PCOO including the agency’s budget because these agencies, these monies, is for the Executive branch to be able to disseminate info especially during a pandemic,” Andanar said.
Some Filipinos viewed Andanar’s response to his subordinate as lacking accountability.
“Mr. Andanar cannot just disown a subordinate’s “private” posts especially if these involve unsubstantiated accusations that damage people’s reputations and, worse, willfully endanger them,” said Nonoy Espina, a veteran journalist.
Jules Guiang, a former host and broadcaster of People’s Television Network, questioned Andanar’s comment, arguing that he was fired by a government official for his critical social media posts.
“Andanar disowned Badoy’s social media posts, saying they were not official positions or statements by PCOO.”
Right, like my Tweets, those are my Tweets and not of my former network’s before but you wanted me out asap. https://t.co/OG1GmyDIym
— jules guiang 🇵🇭 (@JULESguiang) September 9, 2020