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Ex-party-list lawmaker files civil raps vs Badoy, Celiz over red-tagging

MANILA, Philippines — Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) chair and former Bayan representative Teddy Casiño on Monday filed before the Makati City Regional Trial Court (RTC)  a civil suit against the two hosts of Sonshine Media Network International (SMNI), Lorraine Badoy and Jeffrey Celiz, due to their continued red-tagging.

Casiño is asking the court to order the two SMNI hosts, who were former members of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict, to “desist from maligning and red-tagging.”

The former lawmaker said that the red-tagging caused him to suffer “mental anguish, sleepless nights, wounded feelings, and moral shock.”

“Even the most liberal view of free speech has never countenanced the publication of falsehoods, especially the persistent and unmitigated dissemination of patent lies. There is no constitutional value in false statements of fact,” Casiño said in his complaint.

“This legal action is long overdue. Since 2020, these two characters, aided and abetted by the NTF-ELCAC, have been falsely, maliciously, and repeatedly accusing me of being involved in terrorism, rebellion, and other crimes as a supposed high-ranking official of the CPP-NPA-NDFP,” Casiño said in a separate statement. 

Seeking damages under Articles 19 to 21 of the Civil Code,  Casiño asked the court to make the two SMNI hosts pay him P1,100,00 for moral damages, P500,000 for exemplary damages, P500,000 for nominal damages, not less than P100,000 for attorney’s fees, and costs of the suit.

In response to the complaint, Celiz said that he would face the charges filed against him and Badoy. 

"We will not waiver, or we will not cower,” he said. 

The complaint of Casiño was similar to the charges filed by journalist Atom Araullo against Badoy and Celiz last September which are also civil suits.

The two SMNI hosts were recently cited in contempt by lawmakers and detained at the House of Representatives for their demeanor and refusing to answer questions during the hearing into the alleged fake news peddling of SMNI. 

Celiz was cited in contempt after he refused to reveal his Senate source regarding Romualdez's alleged 2023 travel expenses of P1.8 billion, while Badoy