Citing Freedom of Expression: Court grants TRO vs E-media closure Print
Monday, 13 November 2017 16:22

Citing a guaranteed right by the Philippine Constitution on Freedom of Expression, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) has granted a petition for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) that will prevent City Hall from implementing  its closure order against E-media for a period of 20 days.

The order also allows SkyCable and Mindanao Cable to broadcast Westwind’s signal containing content provided by E-media and gave the go signal for the latter to continue its live airing on Facebook.

The decision was made based on a petition for Injunction with Prayer for a Writ of Preliminary Injunction or Temporary Restraining Order (TRO)  filed by E-media through its President Rey Bayoging last November 8.

Respondents are the Office of the City Mayor and the City Administrator’s Office with the City Legal Office serving as the local government unit’s legal counsel.

Presiding Judge of the Regional Trial Court Branch 14 granted the petition, anchored on Press Freedom, last November 10.

“It appearing from the facts alleged on the November 9 summary hearing that great and irreparable injury would result to the applicant,” the court decision stated.

Prior to the decision,  Atty. Rafael James Dizon,  E-media legal counsel,  engaged City Legal Counsel Atty Jesus Carbon in what Dizon described as a  “heated exchange” on why the closure order should not be implemented by City Hall.

Dizon based his argument on the Right to Freedom of Expression which is a basic right guaranteed  under the Philippine Constitution.

Meantime, the closure order is part of police powers granted to a local government unit by the Local Government Code, enacted by Congress.

In his argument, Dizon was able to convince the judge when he said that the freedom of the press is a guaranteed constitutional right that cannot be superseded by any act of Congress.

“ El argument de mio el police power of the LGU ya dale conel city through the Local Government code, Congress el ya pasa.  Tiene decision el Supreme Court, no act of Congress can overcome the Constitution so it means that the Constitution is supreme,” Dizon explained.

Dizon also said that it is not right for city hall to demand E-media’s closure since the latter is only a content provider for Westwind Broadcasting.

“El Westwind tan produce conel signal, el E-media el content so si manda tu man close conel Emedia as broadcaster, hende right,”  Dizon said.

City Hall also reportedly includes stopping E-media from broadcasting its content through Facebook live because of a lack of congressional franchise.

“There is no law requiring a congressional franchise antes tu man broadcast through Facebook live so hende mas necessita saka el permit antes man Facebook live,” Dizon said.