Despicable, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said of Lorraine Marie Badoy’s red-tagging of CNN Philippines during a calamity.
Reacting to the Cabinet undersecretary’s insinuation that alleged communist fronts exist inside the media company, the NUJP said Badoy “is totally irresponsible and endangers our colleagues in CNN, not to mention the members of LFS (League of Filipino Students) and our affiliate, the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP).”
In a post on her Facebook account, Badoy takes CNN to task for retweeting an announcement from the League of Filipino Students, which she labels “a known front of the terrorist CPP NPA NDF,” that it is accepting donations for victims of typhoons Rolly and Ulysses.
She then asks: “Wassup, CNN? Is it true there is a LFS/CEGP cell inside CNN?”
Badoy, Presidential Communications Operations Office undersecretary for new media and spokesperson of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, is among the Duterte government’s most notorious red-baiters.
Local and international human rights organizations have repeatedly warned the government that red-tagging often lead to unjust arrests or, worse, assassinations of government critics.
“By making baseless claims without any proof and casting blanket accusations against a media outfit and, yes, a youth organization, this unelected government official is, in fact, violating two basic rights guaranteed by the Constitution, due process and freedom of association,” the NUJP said in a statement Saturday.
The media group added Badoy actually vilified and practically seeks the criminalization of an act of charity at a time when millions of Filipinos desperately need all the help they can get.
“Such heartless behavior is a disgrace not only to her office but to the whole government she supposedly serves,” the NUJP said.
CNN Philippines did not take Badoy’s apparent slander sitting down, either, strongly objecting to her “misplaced and baseless allusion” that some of its employees have links to underground groups.
The company said in a statement that the LFS is just one of the many groups that have launched a relief drive for the victims of recent typhoons that include Caritas Manila, Kaya Natin PH, Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan, student organizations from UP Diliman, UP Manila, UP Los Banos and Ateneo de Manila University, among others.
“We believe the back-to-back storms that ravaged our country serve as an opportunity to rise up from the ruins and practice the Filpino spirit of ‘Bayanihan’ in whatever capacity we can, rather than foray into red-tagging that will only sow disunity,” CNN Philippines said.
“We continue to update the list to give as many options for kindhearted individuals because we believe our suffering countrymen need all the help they can get in this time of calamities,” the company added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)
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Disclosure: Reporter is NUJP deputy secretary general and Kodao is a NUJP chapter.