VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Badoy red-tags nun; incorrectly labels NDF a terror group, again

Read this fact check in Filipino

Communications Undersecretary Lorraine Marie Badoy repeated a wrong claim when she said the National Democratic Front (NDF) of the Philippines is a terrorist group while linking activist Sr. Mary John Mananzan to the organization.

STATEMENT

In a 14-paragraph Facebook post on June 17, Badoy called out and red-tagged Mananzan, vice president for external affairs of St. Scholastica’s College, after the latter “strongly condemn[ed]” the conviction of journalist Maria Ressa for cyberlibel.

Badoy claimed that Mananzan, also chair emerita of women’s rights group GABRIELA, is a “long-time ally” of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP), its armed wing the New People’s Army (NPA), and the NDF:

“[Mananzan] is also 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.”

Source: Lorraine Marie Badoy official Facebook page, “Mary John Mananzan, high ranking official of a school I admire, the St. Scholastica College…,” June 17, 2020

Badoy, spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF ELCAC), repeated this assertion in a June 21 Facebook post as she doubled down on red-tagging the activist Catholic nun.

FACT

The NDF has not been officially and legally declared a terrorist organization in the Philippines.

While President Rodrigo Duterte -- through Proclamation No. 374, series of 2017 -- declared the CPP-NPA (not the NDF) as a terrorist group, local courts have yet to recognize it as such.

Under Sec. 17 of the Human Security Act (HSA), the Department of Justice (DOJ) must first file a petition before a “competent regional trial court” to declare an “organization, association, or group of persons” as a terrorist organization.

In February, the Manila Regional Trial Court revived the DOJ’s 2018 petition on the matter, after it was initially dismissed due to the government’s failure to “serve summons to case respondents by publication.”

The NDF has represented the CPP in peace negotiations with the Philippine government as early as 1992.

Badoy made similar false claims in the past in Facebook posts, opinion articles published in state-run “newswire service” Philippine News Agency, and in her official engagements.

During the second ASEAN (Association for Southeast Asian Nations) Conference on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in February, she also wrongly stated that the NDF, along with the CPP-NPA, had been declared a terrorist organization in the United States and other countries. (See VERA FILES FACT CHECK: Badoy errs in claiming NDF tagged as a terror group by PH, other countries)

Mananzan has previously spoken against Duterte’s leadership and his policies, including the bloody drug war and moves to reimpose the death penalty.

Palace Spokesperson Harry Roque, in his June 23 press briefing, was asked about the possible dangers of red-tagging, given the president's recent remarks that communist rebels are the “number one threat” to the country. He dismissed Badoy’s views on her Facebook post on Mananzan as “personal opinions,” which are within her rights to freedom of expression.

Should the court rule in favor of the government and legally declare the CPP-NPA a terrorist group, persons and entities suspected to be associated with the organization may be put under surveillance, have their assets frozen, or even detained without charges. (See VERA FILES FACT SHEET: Why 'red-tagging' is dangerous)

Responding to Badoy’s claims, GABRIELA said in a June 18 statement: “Badoy is loading up the regime’s guns for either arresting or harming Sister Mary John and other critics of the Duterte regime.”

On her Facebook posts and interviews, Badoy drums up support for the proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020, which aims to “strengthen” the government’s campaign against terrorism, and is currently awaiting the president’s signature.

If enacted, the law will expand the definition of terrorist acts, extend the amount of time one can be detained after a warrantless arrest, and extend the surveillance time for a suspect’s communications. (See VERA FILES FACT SHEET: What you need to know about the Senate’s anti-terrorism bill)


Editor's note: This fact check was produced by a student from the University of the Philippines Diliman who is doing her internship with VERA Files.


Sources

Lorraine Marie Badoy official Facebook page, “Mary John Mananzan, high ranking official of a school I admire, the St. Scholastica College…,” June 17, 2020

St. Scholastica’s College, Institutional Administrators

Mary John Mananzan official Facebook page, “I strongly condemn the conviction of Maria Ressa And Reynaldo Santos Jr…,” June 16, 2020

GMA News Online, FULL TEXT DECISION FROM SC PIO, June 15, 2020

Rappler, Maria Ressa, Rey Santos Jr. convicted of cyber libel, June 15, 2020

ABS-CBN News, Rappler chief Maria Ressa found guilty of cyber libel, June 15, 2020

Gabriela USA, GABRIELA celebrated silver anniversary with 10th congress and grand reunion, Nov. 30, 2009

NDFP, Revolutionary united front organization of the Filipino people, n.d.

Official Gazette, Proclamation No. 374, series of 2017

Official Gazette, Republic Act No. 9372

Manila RTC revives DOJ petition to declare CPP-NPA a terrorist organization

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Hague Declaration Sept 01 1992

Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process, Peace Process with the Communist Party of the Philippines/New People’s Army/National Democratic Front (CPP/NPA/NDF), Accessed June 29, 2020

Lorraine Marie Badoy official Facebook page, Breaking News, March 2, 2020

Philippine News Agency, The poisoned pen of Tonyo Cruz, Jan. 25, 2020

Philippine News Agency, The Pied Piper of Death aka Anakbayan 101, Jan. 15, 2020

Presidential Communications Operations Office Global Media Affairs, ASEAN Member States discussion about cyberspace misuse, Feb. 28, 2020

Rappler, Filipinos facing threat 'worse than Martial Law', Feb. 25, 2018

Inquirer.net, Activist nun warns of erosion of Filipinos’ moral fiber, Feb. 25, 2018

Inday Espina-Varona, “Sr, Mary John Mananzan of The Movement Against Tyranny: The country will be better off without Duterte…”, Aug. 27, 2018

GMA News official Twitter account, “Mensahe ni Sister Mary John Mananzan, convenor ng Movement Against Tyranny, kay President Duterte…,” December 2017

National Catholic Reporter, Philippine church leaders expect more deaths as police relaunch drug war, Jan. 16, 2018

The Guardian, Rodrigo Duterte hopes to gain control of Senate in Philippines mid-terms, May 13, 2019

RTVMalacanang, Press Briefing by Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. 6/23/2020

PTV, WATCH: President Rodrigo Roa #Duterte Public Address, June 22, 2020

GABRIELA, On Lorraine Badoy’s Redtagging of Sr. Mary John Manzanan, June 18, 2020

Lorraine Marie Badoy showing support for the Anti-terrorism Bill:


(Guided by the code of principles of the International Fact-Checking Network at Poynter, VERA Files tracks the false claims, flip-flops, misleading statements of public officials and figures, and debunks them with factual evidence. Find out more about this initiative and our methodology.)

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