House panel wants to curtail freedom of speech

HOUSE Deputy Speaker and Capiz 2nd District Representative Fredenil Castro on Tuesday, January 16, presented a proposal to amend the Bill of Rights concerning freedom of speech.

Castro, who chairs the technical working group on judiciary under the House committee on constitutional amendments, said the word "responsible" should be inserted in Section 3 Article 4 of the Bill of Rights.

The provision states: "No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech of expression or of the press, or the right of the people peacebly to assemble and petition the government for redress or grievances."

Castro said it should read: "No law shall be passed abriding the responsible exercise of the freedom of speech..."

Castro said during the House committee meeting Tuesday that his group saw the need for the revision because "there is so much abuse of this freedom."

Lawmakers from the so-called Magnificent 7 have called the said proposal "very subjective."

"How can you define responsible?" said Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano.

"Pag sinabi mong responsible e yung pabor sa kanila," he added.

What happened to Rappler, said Ifugao Rep. Teddy Baguilat, is a product of the judgment of the administration on what is responsible.

Baguilat added the administration thought that Rappler is an "irresponsible media entity" because of its critical reportage.

Rappler's certificate of incorporation has been revoked by the Securities and Exchange Commission for violation of the foreign equity restriction in mass media under the 1987 Constitution.

"Parang ang nagyayari everybody is just proposing amendment to the constitution that would favor what the current administration feels," Baguilat said.

He cited as example aside from this, the no-election scenario being pursued by members of the majority including House Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez. (SunStar Philippines)
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