A gentle reminder for PTFoMs and Joel Egco PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 03 August 2017 13:50

KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS

BY Atty. BATAS MAURICIO

LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just…” (Proverbs 37:30, the Holy Bible).

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GENTLE REMINDER ON ONE MORE ASPECT OF THE FIGHT FOR PRESS FREEDOM: I know that many are now praising Joel Maguiza Sy Egco, the executive Director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), as he pursues the safety and general well-being of mediamen from the print, radio, and TV sectors. Undeniably, people who have bad designs, motivations, intentions, and plans against media personalities, now have a formidable foe in Joel.

As preparations to highlight the on-going fight for press freedom go on high gear, with the Press Freedom Trail expected to happen on August 29, 2017 and the commemoration of the birth of Marcelo H. Del Pilar, the so-called press freedom icon of the country, taking place on August 30, 2017, I wish to air a gentle and friendly reminder for Joel and the PTFoMS about one more aspect of the fight for press freedom here.

On December 01, 2015, I wrote in this column, lifted from a message of Joel: “Through the efforts of Atty. Melanio Batas Mauricio, Jr., the National Press Club represented by yours truly will appear as amicus curae or as an intervenor in a separate libel case, petitioning among others to decriminalize libel based on international law and for the said libel law to be declared as utterly unconstitutional.

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PRESS FREEDOM, GUARANTEED BY THE 1987 CHARTER: Joel said further, at a time when he was still president of the National Press Club (NPC): “As to be petitioned, the right to free speech and free press are guaranteed both by the Constitution.

“… and, considering the Constitution’s adoption of international agreements as being part of the laws of the land and since our existing libel laws are violative of the Constitution and of these international agreements, libel laws to be considered as `outlaws’ which should be slain at sight; and should not be given effect at any point in time.

“We will appeal to the Supreme Court (yes! the SC) to declare the Revised Penal Code provisions on libel as Constitutionally-offensive and, therefore, should be set aside or nullified and declared without force and effect and, the international treatises or agreements entered into by the Philippines on libel and on the freedoms of the press and free speech be declared to have force and effect in the Philippines and must be complied with.

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INTERNATIONAL TREATIES ON PRESS FREEDOM VALID IN RP: “Under Art. III of the 1987 Constitution, the rights to free press and to free speech are guaranteed in this manner: Section 4. No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

“Art. II of the 1987 Constitution recognizes treaties and other international agreements where the Philippines is a signatory, and adopts these treaties and international agreements as part of the law of the land, thus:

“Section 2. The Philippines renounces war as an instrument of national policy, adopts the generally accepted principles of international law as part of the law of the land and adheres to the policy of peace, equality, justice, freedom, cooperation, and amity with all nations.

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