I HAVE written two columns debunking the ruling of Manila Trial Court Judge Marlo Magdoza-Malagar that the Communist Party of the Philippines and its armed group, the New People’s Army, are not terrorist groups.
I pointed out, among several other arguments, that the ruling is utterly absurd. Malagar confines (the word she herself used) her evaluation to only nine incidents of CPP-NPA atrocities — yes just nine, all occurring in 2020 and 2021 — to determine whether they are terrorist groups.
She dismissed the over a thousand incidents the military claimed were terrorist actions, for which they provided documentation such as the required incident reports as well as affidavits of former CPP-NPA leaders and of victims who survived their brutal violence. She dismissed these thousand incidents as “mere hearsay, lacking probative value.”
After limiting her evaluation to only nine cases, Malagar proceeds to adopt another absurdity: that the 14 killed (one even beheaded) in these cases are only a microscopic fraction of the country’s over 109 million population. These therefore cannot be ruled as “terrorism” since most of the term’s definitions require it to be “widespread,” “extensive” or “prevalent.”
I had wondered why Malagar would make such patently absurd arguments when it was public knowledge that the CPP-NPA for more than 50 years since its emergence in the 1970s have been killing the military and the police to advance their agenda to overthrow the state which, starting in the 2000s, fell under the modern term of “terrorism.” Why, the CPP’s official organ Ang Bayan and the Left’s other newsletters regularly report such terrorist acts, boasting of these as victories in its “people’s war.”
I found one indeed credible explanation. The National ROTC Alumni Association, in a letter to the Supreme Court claimed that Malagar is biased for the Left since her husband, the chancellor of UP Cebu, lawyer Leo Malagar, is an active member of NUPL/Lumaban (Lupon rig mga Manananggol rig Bayan), a front of the CPP. The letter was signed by 13 retired generals and seven colonels, the leaders of the association with 5,000 members.
The association also asked the Supreme Court to investigate Malagar and “after due process, to dismiss her when the evidence so warrants.”
We cannot ignore the views of the National ROTC Alumni Association. While the impression is that alumni of the Philippine Military Academy, the “PMAyers,” make up our armed forces officers’ corps, they represent only a minority of officers, with ROTC alumni, from master sergeant to the general ranks, constituting the bulk. We cannot disregard the sentiments of our armed forces’ officers. After all it is they who do the dying, the victims of CPP-NPA terrorism.
As the organization’s letter hasn’t been widely disseminated, I quote it in toto:
“We, the officers and the 5,000-strong members of the National ROTC Alumni Association (NARAA), Inc., at the outset, express our full trust and confidence in the Supreme Court and our unqualified adherence to peace and to the rule of law.
At the same time, we manifest to the court and to the entire Filipino people our resolute support for Dr. Lorraine Marie T. Badoy and express our condemnation of the much-criticized absurd decision rendered by Judge Marlo A. Magdoza-Malagar of the Regional Trial Court, Branch 19, Manila in relation to the petition filed by the Department of Justice to legally declare the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and its armed wing, the New People’s Army (NPA), as terror groups.”
First, in rendering the questioned decision, Judge Marlo A. Magdoza- Malagar appears to have lost the appearance of the cold neutrality of an impartial judge by disregarding well documented evidence presented by the State but at the same time giving full credence to the constitution of the CPP that is repugnant to the Constitution of the Republic of the Philippines — that she is sworn to serve and to protect.
Second. Judge Marlo A. Magdoza-Malagar should have motu proprio disqualified herself from sitting on and trying the case considering that her husband, UP Cebu Chancellor Atty. Leo Malagar is an active member of NUPL/Lumaban (Lupon rig mga Manananggol rig Bayan). lt is the CPP’s underground of NUPL where Atty. lsagani Zarate, Atty. Neri Colmenares, Atty. Edre Olalia are all part of, among others. Atty. Edre Olalia is a known associate and a longtime lawyer of CPP founding chairman Jose Ma. Sisons.
Knowing that her relationship with her husband and her association with the aforementioned lawyers will cast doubt on her decision and place the court in a situation where the people will lose faith and confidence, Judge Malagar should have inhibited herself, never forgetting the salutary principle that no judge should preside in a case in which she is not wholly free, disinterested. impartial and independent. A judge has both the duty of rendering a just decision and the duty of doing it in a manner completely free from suspicion as to its fairness and as to her integrity.
Third, we believe and we support the statement of Dr. Badoy that she did not in any way threaten Judge Malagar with bodily harm. This is plain from a simple perusal of her complete statement. What Dr. Badoy was simply saying is that the decision of Judge Malagar presented a clear and present danger. Indeed, her decision invites violence. Her logic was illogical and her reasons unreasonable. Coming from a judge, it was simply flabbergasting.
Finally, we respectfully urge the Honorable Supreme Court to also investigate Judge Marlo A. Magdoza-Malagar, and after due process. to dismiss her when the evidence so warrant.”
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