Thursday July 19, 2018

UP professor: Showing of anti-Islam film to push through

MANILA -- Citing constitutional rights and academic freedom, a law professor from state-run University of the Philippines (UP) will still continue the showing of an anti-Islam video despite the prohibition ordered by school officials.

In his website, UP law professor Harry Roque said the order forbidding the showing of the controversial film "Innocence of Muslims" is "in direct contravention of my academic freedom and freedom of expression."

"It is in the nature of prior restraint. I will hence still show the movie trailer as scheduled today," Roque said.

The showing of the film's trailer will be at 6:30 p.m. at Room 305 of Malcolm Hall, UP College of Law.

The law professor said he will be showing the video to his class on Constitutional Law 2 where they will be discussing freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and academic freedom.

"No order from the Chancellor or from anyone else can infringe on these rights. I am showing it because unless we see it, we will not know what is depicted in the film. Unless we see it, we cannot make a judgment on it," said Roque.

"This is why there is a constitutional commitment to this freedom. It is only in the free marketplace of ideas that we can discern the truth and form our individual opinions," he added.

Roque also warned that he will hold civilly and criminally liable those who would try to prevent him from discharging his functions as a lawyer and a member of the academe.

"I will persist with the showing to uphold the freedom which was the first to be suppressed by the dictatorship, which we are painfully recalling today. This is irony," the professor concluded.

The film showing in UP was reportedly cancelled earlier due to security concerns.

The film "Innocence of Muslims," which was uploaded on video-sharing website YouTube, has sparked series of violent protests in the Middle East and North Africa as its content was considered blasphemous by many Muslims.

President Benigno Aquino III said earlier this week that banning the showing of the controversial film cannot be done through executive action.

However, the Chief Executive said the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board can classify the film as prohibited.

Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim said Thursday that movie houses and theaters in the city who will attempt to show the controversial film will be closed down.

The Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines said they have not monitored any violent incident sparked by the film. (Emmanuel Louis Bacani/Sunnex)