The Office of the Ombudsman reprimanded Antonio Parlade Jr. and Lorraine Badoy, former officials of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, for red-tagging activists and organizations.
In a decision dated March 23 but made public Sept. 21, the Ombudsman said it found Parlade and Badoy guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service.
Those found guilty of conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service are usually suspended for six months to a year for the first offense.
"The above-mentioned respondents are sternly warned that a repetition of a similar offense would be dealt with more severely,” the Ombudsman said.
.@OmbudsmanPh has found retired AFP general Antonio Parlade, Jr. & ex-PCOO usec Lorraine Badoy guilty of administrative offense of Conduct Prejudicial to the Best Interest of the Service for red-tagging various human rights lawyers & members of progressive orgs. @PhilippineStar pic.twitter.com/JrdhqOQILH— Elizabeth T. Marcelo (@marcelo_beth) September 21, 2023
If they were suspended, Parlade and Badoy would've also been ordered to pay their salaries equivalent to the period of suspension.
The Ombudsman, however, said it found no reason to push grave misconduct charges against the two officials, saying red-tagging "does not constitute any intentional wrongdoing or deliberate violation of law or standard behavior."
The National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL) previously filed a case against Parlade and Badoy, for their “participation and role in the formulation and implementation of government’s policy and practice of tagging progressive organizations and their members as ‘communist terrorists’ or ‘fronts’ of the Communist Party of the Philippines, New People’s Army, and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.”
In a statement posted on Facebook, NUPL spokesman Edre Olalia said they received the ruling with mixed reactions.
Though the decision "did not achieve the full legal redress and it seems like a pyrrhic victory as it fell short of our plea for complete legal accountability," Olalia said reprimanding Parlade and Badoy can be viewed as a "loud warning shot, as it were."
"The decision implies that any reckless innuendo and gratuitous vitriol against human rights lawyers (and by extension, against activists and human rights defenders, for that matter), to silence dissent, opposition or rights awareness will not be countenanced and will be sanctioned one way or the other, sooner or later, in time," Olalia explained.