Gatchalian says materials urging gov’t overthrow should be disallowed
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Sherwin Gatchalian on Wednesday said materials encouraging the overthrow of the government should not be allowed, saying the law does not permit it.
“As a concept, we should not allow materials that would encourage the overthrow of the government and create chaos,” said Gatchalian in the Kapihan sa Manila Bay media forum.
Gatchalian, who is the chairman of the Basic Education, Arts, and Culture Committee, made the statement in reaction to an order by the Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) to pull out and stop the publication of five books for allegedly being subversive and for allegedly violating the Anti-Terrorism Act.
The books the KWF seeks to ban include:
- Teatro Pulitikal Dos by Malou Jacob
- Kalatas: Mga Kuwentong Bayan at Kuwentong Buhay by Rommel Rodriguez
- Tawid-diwa sa Pananagisag ni Bienvenido Lumbera: Ang Bayan, ang Manunulat, at ang Magasing Sagisag sa Imahinatibong Yugto ng Batas Militar 1975-1979 by Dexter Cayanes
- May Hadlang ang Umaga by Don Pagusara
- Labas: Mga Palabas sa Labas ng Sentro by Reuel Aguila
“I have not read the books, to be honest about it,” Gatchalian said.
However, Gatchalian noted that while criticism is within the bounds of freedom of speech, “stoking emotion” to overthrow the government is against the law.
“But my position there is, any materials that is subversive, ibig sabihin gusto mo pabagsakin ang gobyerno, you want to overthrow the government, you’re not criticizing policy but you want to stoke emotion para pabagsakin ang gobyerno natin, hindi talaga yan pwede under our law,” Gatchalian said.
(But my position here is, any materials that are subversive, meaning you want to overthrow the government, you’re not criticizing policy but want to stoke emotion to overthrow the government, which is not allowed under our law.)
“So iba naman yung criticising policy, yung criticism is perfectly within the bounds of freedoms of speech pero hindi naman pwedeng pabagsakin ang gobyerno dahil magkakagulo tayo kung walang goberyno,” he added.
(So, criticizing policy is different, the criticism is ideally within the bounds of the freedoms of speech, but we could not overthrow the government because there would be chaos without the government.)
The Commission on Human Rights (CHR), academic organizations, and progressive groups have condemned the KWF’s action.
CHR executive director Jacqueline Ann de Guia urged the KWF to exercise caution when interpreting the provisions of the Anti-Terrorism Act, especially in instances when the law has already overreached which may result in a possible violation of rights.
READ: CHR to KWF: Be cautious in interpreting Anti-Terrorism Act
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