Dela Rosa loses cool over press freedom, chilling effect questions
MANILA, Philippines — To say that there is less press freedom today and the closure of ABS-CBN has a “chilling effect” does not sit well with presidential aspirant Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa.
Dela Rosa even lost his cool when the issues were brought up in an interview over ANC’s program “Headstart” on Tuesday.
It all started when the senator was asked about his objection to grant Rappler founder Maria Ressa the Philippine Senate Medal of Excellence for winning a Noble Peace Prize award.
Dela Rosa reiterated his opposition, saying he would even raise his two hands to block the Senate medal of excellence to Ressa.
“Let’s put my vote into proper context. Bakit ko ipro-proclaim yung ginawa ni Maria Ressa? For what?” he asked.
“Nanalo sya ng Noble Peace Prize dahil sa kanyang laban for freedom of expression, freedom of the press? Bakit? Meron bang ongoing suppression of the press freedom here in the Philippines?”
(She won the Noble Peace Prize for fighting for freedom of expression, freedom of the press? Why? Is there an ongoing suppression of the press freedom here in the Philippines?)
Dela Rosa changed his tone when pressed if the cases filed against Rappler and the closure of ABS-CBN already “an indicator that there is less press freedom” and “chilling effect” today.
“Wow, paano mo masabing chilling effect? Bakit sinara ba pati GMA, sinara ba pati TV5? Hindi naman. Kayo lang naman, ABS-CBN lang naman ang hindi binigyan ng prangkisa ng Congress because of some issues,” he said.
(Wow, how can you say there’s chilling effect? Were GMA and TV5 also shut down? No. ABS-CBN is the only one that was not granted a franchise by Congress because of some issues.)
The senator stressed that ABS-CBN’s failure to get a new franchise from Congress has nothing to do with press freedom.
“Ang purpose naman dun hindi para i suppress ang press freedom. Alam ko ang ginawa ng Congress, hindi nila yun ginawa para i suppress ang freedom kung hindi para i address nyo ang mga issue na ibinato sa inyo.”
(The purpose was not to suppress press freedom. I know what Congress did, they didn’t do it to suppress freedom but to address the issues being thrown at [ABS-CBN].)
“E ngayon hindi sila satisfied sa pagsagot sa mga issue ng ABS-CBN, then hindi nila inaprub yung prangkisa ninyo. So is there a suppression of press freedom? Wow, ganun pala ang tingin nyo sa press freedom.”
(Since they were not satisfied by how ABS-CBN responded to the issues, then they did not approve your franchise. So is there a suppression of press freedom? Wow, so that’s how you look at press freedom)
Dela Rosa later apologized to the anchor for raising his voice.
“Pasensya ka na medyo may ibang portion tayo na tumaas yung boses ko. Sorry, sorry,” he said.
(I’m sorry, there is a portion in our conversation that I raised my voice. Sorry, sorry.)
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