Badoy, Parlade, Esperon face charges for 'red-tagging' policy research group

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, February 10) – Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Badoy, AFP Major General Antonio Parlade Jr., and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. are facing an administrative complaint for "red-tagging" policy research group IBON Foundation.

IBON filed the complaint Monday before the Office of Ombudsman, on what they claim to be the first case of red-tagging ever filed in history against any Filipino government official.

IBON Executive Director Sonny Africa and Board of Trustees Chairperson Bishop Solito Toquero were the co-complainants in the case, asking the Ombudsman to hold Parlade, Badoy, and Esperon accountable for their "malicious abuse of authority and negligent performance of duties as public officials."

"IBON is also asking that they be punished for conduct that is grossly disregardful of the public interest, unprofessional, unjust and insincere, politically biased, unresponsive to the public, distorting nationalism and patriotism, and undemocratic," it said in its release.

The group referred to "slanderous" statements, interviews, articles, and speeches made by Badoy, Parlade, and Esperon in 2019 and in the first weeks of 2020 linking them to the Communist Party of the Philippines.

IBON claimed Badoy and Parlade have maliciously accused in March 2019 the group of "fabricating reports" for the United Nations in relation to an adopted resolution seeking comprehensive details on the human rights situation in the country amid alleged extrajudicial killings under the Duterte administration's anti-drug campaign.

The group added that Esperon accused them of "[radicalizing] students as young as seven years old to eventually become (Communist) cadres" in the same month.

IBON said it repeatedly wrote the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and National Security Council (NSC) to ask for the so-called evidence for the allegations, but both agencies did not respond to these requests.

Just this January, Badoy reiterated these supposed Communist links during an interview in a news program instead of providing further details about the administration's "Duterte Legacy" campaign.

According to Africa, the three have violated The Ombudsman Act of 1989 (Republic Act 6770) and the Code of Conduct and Ethical Standards for Public Officials and Employees (Republic Act 6713) by "abusing their power and authority" as government officials to voice out baseless claims.

"Kung umabot man sa suspension or dismissal ng mga hinainan namin ng complaint, tingin namin deserving sila," Africa said.

[Translation: If this complaint leads to their suspension or dismissal, we think that these officials deserved it.]