Palace: No need to have doubts about exercising free speech
MANILA, Philippines — There is no need to have doubts about exercising free speech because President Rodrigo Duterte upholds the 1987 Constitution’s Bill of Rights, Malacañang said Friday.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque issued this assurance in response to a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey that found majority of Filipinos believe it is “dangerous” to publish anything critical of the administration even if it’s the truth.
“Well sa akin po, wala po dapat magkaroon ng alinlangan ang mga tao sa pageexercise ng kanilang karapatan ng malayang pananalita dahil ‘yan po ay garantiyado ng ating Saligang Batas,” Roque said in an online briefing.
(For me, there is no need for people to have doubts in exercising their freedom of speech because that is guaranteed under the Constitution.)
“At si Presidente Duterte naman po, bilang isang abugado ay sumumpa na ipatutupad ang ating Saligang Batas kasama na po ‘yung ating tinatawag ng Bill of Rights,” he added.
(President Duterte is a lawyer and he took an oath to implement the Constitution including the Bill of Rights.)
Roque. however, dissociated Duterte and the current administration when asked if media outfits can publish anything without experiencing the same fate as Rappler and ABS-CBN.
“Ang Rappler po, isang Aquino-appointed SEC [Securities and Exchange Commission] po ang nagsabi na lumabag sila sa Saligang Batas. Hindi po ang Presidente,” Roque said.
(In the case of Rappler, it was an Aquino-appointed SEC official who said they violated the Constitution, not the President.)
“Ang ABS-CBN naman po ay talagang napaso ang kanilang prangkisa at tanging Kongreso lang po ang pupuwedeng magbigay ng ganyang prangkisa at hindi ang presidente,” he added.
(ABS-CBN, meanwhile, had an expired franchise and only Congress can bring back this kind of franchise, not the President.)
But both media outfits have been targeted by the President in his speeches. Duterte previously called Rappler a “fake news outlet” and repeatedly vowed to block ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal.
ABS-CBN has been off the air since May 2020 after its legislative franchise expired. In July of the same year, its application for a new franchise was denied by a House of Representatives panel.
Rappler, on the other hand, was ordered shut by the SEC in 2018 for “violating the constitutional and statutory Foreign Equity Restrictions in Mass Media enforceable through rules and laws within the mandate of the Commission.” The media outfit maintained it is 100 percent Filipino-owned and -controlled.
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