Press Freedom and Philippine Law


Press Fre'edOlm and Phlilippine Law

All rights ,reserved, No part of ~hiis pu blication may be l'SiProduc€d in any form by 'eledronic or mechanicall means, i I1cl Lld~ng information stQr~ge a rid retr~eval systems, wiilih,aut permission in writi n:g from the publ iesher, !1l,xoept bya reviewfj,r who may quore brief passages in a m,view"

______________ ...;L;_I;_M;;:_:_I _:_if_:E:....:. 0:....: •. _:._:_IP _:::R:....:O:....:T:_::_it _:::C_:f_:II_:O:_::_iII ~@

Ackn owll e d gem e nt s

A gWEWl!t from the M~ nistJryof' IF ore ig n Affairs of the, gaven'll rnent of NOl"W'ay mad:e ~hAS publlicarluor:J possible.

Luis V. Tecdorc edited this vollume., Center for Media Fr,eedom and Repol1sibmty staff rnembers Hector BrySJlit Ms"cal,e, Ve~ us E I umbre, and Don Gil Carreon pn),l/~ded research! and othersu pport.

Goveranld layout design by De'si g n ip I U!S.

~r-~IL~I~U~I~T~E~D~. ~P_R~O~T~IE~C~r~I~O~~~ __ ~ _

V Foreword

By Melinda Ouintos de Jesus

1 0 F re'e' expresslo n: The Ph i Ii p pine Envi ro n me nit

By Article 19 and Center for Media Freedom and Rasp on sibUit'l

3.2 The Supreme Court for the Defense By G'eo Sp. Guerra

38 Unsettled and Uns·eUlingl 'Free IExpressilon lssuss By tsmeet G. Khan, Jr.

52 Teaching Lawyers. the "Expres$.ive" l.ilberties By Raul C. PangalangaJl

64 Understanding tne Culture of lrnpunlty By Luis V. Teodoro

PrHS Frudom and Ph IlIppllllB Law

____________________________ ~_' _I M_··_'I_T_E_D __ ~_'_R_O_l_E_C_.T_I_O __ N~(!)


1'1HIE IPRESS AND the media in 'ge nera I occJUpy a central place ~111 Pihiliippim!! scu::iety" ~,asy access to news enlivens public I ute. A multipncity of news prod ucts ~n pri nt and broadcast media eiFla,o les ord iirilary people to form opi n lo ns about pO~li~ics. and to shsrs the i r views on public issues.

Governmefbt Qfflici~lls. understandingl ~he power of the media to ,i nfluernC€! the p!Jlbl~c mind, make the,mselves read lily avali laolete the press, Few oountri'8tS offer this bmad and open access to govemm,e nt sources avaj Iia blleto J:ournal lsts i,~ tihe PhiUppines.

Press pund its are eeu ned and Ilionized by the high est offiicials of ~he land. II n broaocast msdla, mews anchors andl rad io hosts beoo me well known cellebrities. Some have ri:dden on theur poplJIilawily and app:roval to catapult t~em to public offiloe.

But. we shouldl aot m iss the lronies and contradlctions.

The impoil1arilC€l given memi1ers of the mad taa nd newsmaking as EiJril activity does not nec€',ssari~y make ~he press a stmrilg frllstliturtlon efl'ectivelry able to police i~s raril ks. Nor shou I d we exagg e !'alte the infllL!Jl!enOe of the news media iin shap,i ng public '0 pii nion.Tlhe press was criticalll of the plres~dential ca ndidacy of Joseph Estrada; he was neverthelless voted into office,

FoclIl5ied on personallitiles and ancho red on the lk~netJ1c character of news p:rod uctuon. the Philippin e press seems: to lack tme kind of

@I-.__:_IL_:_I_:_M_:I_:T_:E:_· O=--' ~P..;.;R...;IJ_T;...;;..E .;;.C..;.T..;.I..;,Il...;rl;...._ __ -----------

gm'fivitas arlsin 9 from its assigne;(j role iln a democra!cy. lit. oft€nfail~s to provide ci~izens the ~ews ~hey need to keep tihem abreast of pu bll lc affairs and eng~age ttl>t; mind ischarg i ng thei r civic r€sponsib~~ities.

Fi I iip i nos take the' fr,ee flow af inrmmalti:ona nd ~he abu ndan ee of news for gra.nted, but appear i flIGapslble of malkilng effecliive, usa m ttu~ rn. Pr,saahing press freedomsel'idom rises above the level of at mo1!lhenhood statement.

Despilte the ~ i9 h profi I,E) ghren media personamies. many jou rnallsts r-emain vullnerable to maniipulaUonl and harassment, t~e~r ~reedom a rid lives su b~ect to threats ana attacks,

IPlJ.tJ~,ic officials ban med j1el crutk:s ]rom cov,elring thei ra:ctiviUes.J ~dges are qu lckto deola re j cum a I lsts ~in conltempt'" few negative reports on ttJelr deciisi:ons or the i r conduct Mayors have ordered radiostations closed for a II eged vlo lations of buslness reg ~llations, sn €'~ClUse to si len 00 stri,aenlt crilti elsm, MOlle r-ecentl'y, President Gloria Ma(;aplaga~ .Arroyo's Pmclamation "1011 a~thoriiZied th@ I:jnthinkable: the police ta keover of the offices of a newspaper, i:dentifled with t~e political op posltlon. None of ~hese vioilations: ~av€: provoked pu b~ lc protest

Given the II1U rnber of lawyers i nl the cou IIlItry, one might p resu me the exi,srence of a strorng I€:gal fra mework to defe nd the press a nd its s,utonomy. Bute(Xiperi,ence shows ~hat Ilegall assistance is not. a~ays auto ma,lie nor easily availabl;e. Not: for the proseeutlcn of

________ ~ ....:IL:..;I;_;M;:..- .;,.1 .;,.1 .;;.E ,;;._D___:_P'_:_R:....:, 0=--, '.:..._T .::...E _:_&_:_T_:_I...::.O....:.:IN-----1@

ki 1161 rs Off j,Q urna I lsts, nor for the protection of j;ouma~iS'ts from poll itical harassment

The' 1198 7 Cons,~iMiol'1 olea r1y protects ~reedom of speech and expressicn i WI the Bill of Rights_ But. ~he terms of this protection are v,ague, 8v,en in the lnterpretatlcn o,f the courts, where those in power can file libel charqes ag'ainst journalists with th,e greatest of ease.

The crisis faoing the press, Ililk!e those con~rontil'lg the rest of the country. results from ttH!! cOl1ivel'g:ence of many factors and contrib~rory cause's" And thers is cl,eal'ly no one simpl!e solutlo n to the problem. It win • lik.e many o~ our nati,onal pmbliems" requ ~re the su stained and ooll edve action of m,any dlifferel1it' gr,o ups.

But the first step must ul1itanglie the many strands of the, lssue, This publicatlon seeks to make its contributiol'l by locs,ting the issue in the realm of Ila,w.

Laws express. prill'lciptes and values that embody the standards we set fur ourrselives. If Hle laws are weak. in the protection of journalists. it is mot only the journalists who are ,~md ang;er,ed.; we are ,al~ vu I nerable,

Previous reseereh Iby the, Cel'lter roll" Med~a freedom and Re.sponsibility (CMFR) found ~at ther,e has been very little development of case ~aw Q n wee expression and press freedom, despite the rConstirutional protection for these 'fundamental rights. OfrileWl" only human l'Iights lawyers" a rare and endangered breed, will step TOl'W'ard to defend press freedom ,and freedom of expression cases in court

~~_L_I_U_I_T_IE_._DI __ 1p_R_O_T_~_._C_T_II_O_~ __

The press and the media occupy a central place in Philippine society. But this does not nee es sari Iy make the press a strong in stitntl 0 n.

Ths courts have favDr,ed jol,:l mallists in the mJajority of libell cases. 'B ut th@I I!a ngu9ige of defense seems locked in the context of fie past We meed j ~dgm.e nts that refleot the gr-owlJh arnd expansion an d the d,eepem1 i ng ,M lega'ithought on 1iihese issues. Philiippine case iaw should artic~ lare more eloq l(JIenUy a vig:ofolJ,s defense of eivi II Ililbemes., It ShOllld em.erg:e fromthe priinoi plied clash of rights flail leads to the streng~~eningl of seclety's core values and iiflls,~i~utions.

The mecnanism'sfor the Ilegal def€! nss of press tre@dcnn caUfur urgent mview" Ths rsspo nsilbillity rests miall nil' on pra.cl1aing lawyers and working journal~st:s, IE! utacademics eommitt.ed to the search for the ~rtJrt~a nd those wh,Q rIIeea the medlia to prem·ore thieiir advocacles aliso< a stake, and thereforea. rol,.eto play, lin er1is'I"Iril1gthe protection of press free,doITt

eM FR is; not. I!.!I naware of the fa i I ilrilgs of the press, and the pari: such mulits play in undermining the publlc's resistarilOE! to assa.ullts on ~he press end its mem bers, But eM FR hollds ~hat t~e growth and d €velopmenl .of afrse press asa "pillar of de mocracy~ must be assiist€d by~he gmwthlof its p:rotedion in the law. Such protscnon will, in turn, i nstiU ~nth9 press a g reater commi~melilt to "and app:rec~afi,o:n for, pubHc saMes values in press praeUce.

Thestarti ng polntfor this endeavor w8.s8seri~sofd~alog ues between lawyers and journallsts both here and abroad. llhis colillection of articles iis a second :small step ~n whiat.·we hope w~n bea rorill~rl!jll ng prog ram for C MlF Rand partner orgaJllizationJs.

___________________________ L_i_~_!_I'_T_E_DI __ P_R_O_.T __ E_C_T_I_O_N~~

lawyers have conJtr~ outed t~€ir different perspectives., ~smae'l Kha,rII reviews recent case law on press freedom. Raul Pang!aJanga.rII examlaestbe ~€gai eurrteuarm in the country's Ilaw sohools ..

Fr(l:m tie academe and the media, Luis Teodoro w~ites aboUrtth€ i mpact of the culture of itmpimti1iy and the miled j ~:s~ioo systam on journalists and the~r 1iam~nes.

The pu b~.icationatlso' include's a listingl o'u Supr'eme COLI rt decicSio:ns Ipr,eiParoed by Gleo Gue:rra, as we,lll as an e>loe'rptrrom Freedom of ~xpreSlfJir)fJ' and the Media ;n the Philippines. jointly published by CIMFR and .Arti:Q~e 119,a.lI5;0 writllen by Teodcre,

Initia.ted by CIMlFR, this plI.Jblicalio~and related <;u;:,tivii~ies IhaIv'e beel1! fUl1Idedl wiiU'n a granHI'r(lm trne M iin iis-try of F ol1e:ign A'l'ifaiirs., ~:l'r;JiVem ment Of N,a.rway.

We ars grate,lul for ~heir support of thiis IProg ram,

Mell~lI1daQlI!int'Os de ·Jes us Exeootwe Dir~otiOr Center for M~rjia Freedom and R1esponsibllity

@ __ ~_I_'~_I_'~_c_[I_, _p _R_O_T_E _C_if_I_O_rl -------

Free E,xpr'essi',on:

The P'lhlilip'pine Environment

By Article 19 and fhe Center fOf Media Fre'€GQm (Ina R~spotJSi.Miry


Unlike many other 001,.1 ntries i there is no bodly of laws in~'h,e IPh illiippines~hat may be, caned Medl~a Laws" Iinstead certain la,ws apply to the mass media. as well as to, other groups and persons. There 115 also a substantial body of jurisprudence, part of the law of the laM. wlhli:dhl 1,.1 ptnol~ds, limits I modifies, and o~h;erwise inffi'rprets~he oonstltuth:mal provi,sions r€:lilited to fre®dom of speech and press (.Articl.e III) or QtheM~5e afif'ecti rig the media arid freedorn of e.x~pression (such as A!rtide' IX on the Co:nl"l'rTl lsslon on E leclion$, a nd Arlicl:e xv~ pfOli1iilbil~ing rorei:QIiI media, i p), 2

In addiHonto the Oon~titL!t~o!'1, 1D'he other legal source's afffio1:~ng the mass media, in 1itJe Ph iii ppines alre the IRievised Penal Code (wittJ pmvis.iems on nath:mal secUJriity, m;,el and obsceniW); Chapt€r 2 of the Clivil Code {whidh co ntains two articleson privacy), the Rul'es of Court {fair administratio:rli of jU$tnce and oon~empt)ar:lcll a nu mMr of presidentlall decrees tromthe MOll reos

1 TeodoriO, Jr, Luls V, and RIlsaliooa V, KaJJat<li¥. Mass Me>dia WJW$ <iI!ld R~9ula1ion5 in !he ~hllippil1e$ - 200 edillon, {Manila: Solar Publis>'h~ng Cmp.ora~'o[J, 1996). see note 2 on page 4,

~ ARTICLE 19', CerLwdor Media Frmlo!'ll ;\!!1,Q R~$pl)n~l)1lity, F"reedom of Exp:ressiotll .mel Me£li" in the I?h.ilippines (London: December 2006), p.1.5"



period that are :stilill ~n force. Tnetf,e is aliso, a "sh i eld law" (Repllb~r:c: ,Act S,3as amended by RA 11477), whh:;!hJ prlQllides ifl Sec1ilioFl 11 pfo~ection~ar joullnalisls' n(m~dtiscl(~Sl.lre of tile sou roes of their infotrmatkm:

Wtlthout prej udtice under civn and Cliitm i nail laws, the pub~1 isher, eo itor', collumI'! lst, or duly accred lted reporter 'of a newspaper, magazi rle, or periodical of generall circul,ali:oll car! not be co m pe Illed to r~veal the SOIJ roe of any i nformati:on or news repo:rt appe'B~iri 9 in said applicatnon wh ich was re~ea,sed in corrfi denQe to such p!.IIbl i siler. editor, or reperter LJriI~ess Une eou rt or a Co m m ittee of Congr'€!S5 f'inds that su ch revelsfic n is demanded by the security of the state,

There sre no licen s~ng, reg istraJt~QriI, Of memberslhip requirements in any media orga nization for media praC'bi~ioners in fhe Philii opines. F,o r med is or-ganiz8Iti ens Unemselives, th e powers. of the, Nalio!i1a~ Teleoomml.miGatiQ!ls Oomrniseicn (NTC) 81ffi I~mited 1'0 ~he alloca/t~on of fraq uenclie<s to TVa nd :radio stations, and do net extend to 5UP€lrvision over content Prl rill publUca.ti'Qns need only to r-egister as busi ness enterpr,ises.

The ~hat bear on thie mass rned iie in the Ph iiUppi nes can be d8issifiied into three groups: th oseal"ecliinga II tne mass meld la: those affectinglthe Pc rinl media: and thos.ea.ffecting broadcasting and film.

:1.2.~ ILaws alpplli cable to an mass Djlad i.a Foreign media ownersh.lp,

As menUcmed €harlltieri• foweig n oWl1!ershipof media. is prohib ited in Antro1e XVI (General Provisions) o,t ~h;e ConstiUion, w1liclh limits in Section 111 rnsd ia ownerslillip to ~ciuzens of the Pliiilliippines, ow to cerporetioas. cooperatives or :associations wliioiliry owned and rna l1ag'ed by suoh citir.rens. "

While· w,estrictions on forei:gn QWI!'l ersh i p may be Mlxrant:€d ~n th€ broadcast med~a, sector; they are far more c[tiifficult to jiustify in the pr~nt media sector. Thsre is no reason why fo:reigners should riot own and run media outllets. Th~s provi!Snon would even pro hibiit m'rEdglners~o Qpetra~e a newspaper directed @xdu!Sive~yat othe r rorel:gners.

Pwess Freuhm a nd Phili ppin~ Law

~r. __ 1L_I_g __ lf __ IE_~ __ P_R_ •. _O_u_E_C_ .. _T_I_O_N _

Media ownership is 'one of the most probllema.tic aspects of whe med ~ai sii~uaJti:mll in t~e Phililppines, given the extel'ltto whiloh owner ~I'llre(\e'sts 'often ~ rnrude upon reportage and commentary in ~he mJ€!wspapers. Despairing over the sometime!s heavy-haulllded efforts 'o,f med laowners to intervene even iiril the daily operations of their rilewspapers, some journalists have argued for a.lliowilrilg fore~gn media, owners~ip.wihiclh is pwhibUted by the 19!87 Constitution.

The cornm unication theoretician Dennis McQuaii poi nts out thait ~h€l media can "serve to r,e press as weill as to liber~de ,.~o unite as wen as fragment society, bo~hto promote and to hold back. eha.nge.''3 McQusJn in fact identifies: the role of the media ®Jsoovering a wide rang>e of critical issues illsoo1ety. The med la can ~atwact and d i reet publlie atten1l~io:n, ~ ~pe:rsU! i n1I matters o,fop~nion and bel ~ef. ~ "i nflu9ri1ce betlaviour," Ust~LJoture dlefi n~tjons off reality, ~ "confer status a nd leg iti macy," and "i nform quickly and exte nsively:. ~

The quesnon of what reamy E'I.[1d whose· real iily is plffi8e nmd thro~gh the rned 1!8. is I iilil ked to wh() OOnltro~s and OWllSttH3 media and in whose iinrerest that col'lltr~1 isexereised, The mass med ia,w'hen it is contro lied o'y competing in~en;!sts, can present a rnalf p~ icity of views rath e r ~han a singl~e, dominant pa rspective. Thatalene rna kss the iss~€l of w1h€lttH~llr or notroreign mediia, owne,rsihipshouldl'bealll.awed, indeed even 'encouraged, important.

Fore,ign ownership is 0 ne of ttile pOlSs!i b~e constntlj~ional emendrnents the G~ rrent Philippin.e, govemmlEmt iilas proposed. The propcsals to open medliaowrilersh ip were i riled ina dr8ifl: ofthe Med m- Term Philippirle 'Development Plan 2'004-2010, wh i ch was publ iished by tiile NaJtl:onal Economic and rl:e'velopment Autho:rity. Commenting Or! ttl€< possibility of foreign media own€lrsh~p, luis V. Teodoro, a fOfm:e:r deen of the Universiity of the Phi~ i opines (UP) College oil' Mass Communicaliorn ,says: "any move to open fle media to foreign QWrilers~ i p wou lid be d~\I1lsjve· not em IY on nat~omJaliist lines bUlt on COril;$.titutionlf.d Unes8.s we.! I. "4

s McOuail. DellllL!s, M!l:Quail's Ma®s Communicaiion Thoory'- 4'" ellJ.. (Lotld'on: SAJ3E PlJltittcatlom~, 2000), p_ 63-

~ "()pening Philjppine Mediaro Foreig:n OWnership Is NGt IE8S.Y,' Philippine St&, "7 OGlooor 20(114. The a:rlicIFJ can baaccessed at SlEAPA web:site:!p:!lwww; ne~04/1 0'120041 001, hlrnl

___________________________ b_~_'_~_II_r~~_ID __ P_R_O_T __ ~_G_T_II_O_M_4~

How,ever, it has been 8r'9 ued that compared to, fmlPino QWlI1Iers, foreig ~ rnsd la own€1'S wou lid be more d ifl'k:u~t for the gavem menrt to control, ana may be, more effecUve par1uSSiml$ for pr,e'5s keedom end free expressio n-assUlm i ng that it. is in ~heir ~nte rest to proteet ttJese freedoms and th~d ~heif roOLlS on pmfil13 b II nlydoes ned resu~t inafoQ~s, on tmivia.

Ownership concentration

"f,ne SSJI'ne Section 11 of Article XVII empowers Cong ress to ~r,egulate or proh iibi,t rnonepoflss in com merelal mass media when the pu b I lc inier,est so requir,ecS. ~

lIhere Is no clealr ~im ill on owne,rslhip lin one m,edliaa ndacross med la (print and broad cast) , Specific legisllatiion is needed to regl~ late msdlia own9rsh~p, In mest ccunmes, this ~s d!oli1e ~hro ugh broadcasting leg usi;::di'On. The' pr{)\1lisiO n {lin! O'wne rship, espeoiia 11'1' ror broadcast media, sh ould clearly state the lim iit off own€Jrs hip by one p 9 rson ,0 r lega,iI€Hll~ity In Ibroadcastingl, witholJJlt beingl too rigidl. It has to' ta ke Ii ntn aooouot the widle range of broadcast outlets. The h'llftlu€:n oe of a m8!jror television broadeeste r cann at be campa red with that 0121 :small raid 10 broadcaster and thle same cross QwnEl rship rules shou ld nota pply to both. F oresa rnple, the threat ot the Ilatter aliso owning a sma III loca I new'Spaps r is quite d uf'ffererilt from the' former all~o owning a nationaJI radio station - These rules, as we II as tno5!e 0 n una ue media conce:~tra'tion, should focus on ~he th reaJt (market dominance,) and ned just ~mpose, teei':lnlica~ restiric~iQns. "fhe, airn behind II i mitingl cross ownersh ilP ls t.o ensure diversity of content reflecti rng dliverslily of V~9WpOli nts and thed iv,sl'Slity of soci:ety as a wrnole, andto plFe'!J\ent ms nli pulalion of pubHc::: op inion by p owenlJJll business or po I iticall i nterests.

The provis~ans on mass media ownersh ip have largely been observed in pracnce, Forei:g ners do not own IP h~'ii P p~ne~based med ~a or-ganizations, Some FU i p:i no ccrporatiens, however, do own print pulbl~catiQn S such as magazines, while at the same time being iirllvdved with rad ~o and TV ibr1QladcasUng, as lis ~he case with the g,iant Benpr€:s Holdings Corpora,ti'an of the Lop€z family,

lh€J LoIP~Z€'S, owners .off ~he power rnon a poly' Man ~Ia Electric Compar~y. whiioh pr>o,vi(!es electri:ca I power to Metro Mian illla, a nd most parts of the main Ph ililippi ne island of Luzon, once owned the Manila

GGD~_L_~_U_II_T_E_O __ P_R_.·_O_T_E._C_T_I_'O_M_· ------------------

Chronicle, a Ma,ril i I a broadshset, bud hav,@ divest€dth€mse~v8<s of it They publlish m'agazine.s for woritkiing monners while at the same Ii me be~ng engaged ~ n radio and 1V broaidcastli ng.5

Crimes against n.ationals,r;lIcurity and order

The Revised! Penall Cod e o.f the Phlilli p,pines cOriliains provisuons rel'a~1 ng to n a~lona!seCllJrity offeHls@s, .a mong which ~he crime of incitemenlt to rebeillion or lnsurrecnon (Article '1138) can have and has had a n effect on the media, since it lncludes i r1citement to r€!DeU.ion tJIlrouglhl "speeches, prcoclamarluOnl:S. writingls, emblems, banners or ether rep resentatlens tend i ng to the same end. ~ A number of journalists i nl 2006 were till realte ned wli~h this eh a rge., while the IPhiilippineeenter for Inlvestigatfrve Journelisrn (IP'C~JJ) was accused of thl is offense, wiitPi charges acl~alilly being filled in court.

Article 1541 penal i~e:s any who pu blislhes: ~falls€ news whiQh may endan gar tlhe IPu 1>1 iie order, or csu S9 damage to the i nter€:st or credit of t~e State," anyone who "lbywords , UiUernnC€lS or speeenes s han en 00 ura:ge dlisobed ie nee to the law or to tt'le coillstituted aUlt~ofit~e's, or praise, justify, or extol Oil ny act pu n~:slhed by Ilaw, ~ who publ ush,e~ "any ofl'iiciall r'Elsolution or dlocllm8r'r~ without props r allll~orily, or Defore Utey have been publlishad offi ci a Ily, ~ as weill as anyone who publlisll ElS Or d istribute~ a nonymous lea/filets. Perilalties i nclud e· a prlscnterm ofth ree mcnths, pi us a fine of from IPh P200 to p~ 1P'1 ,000 (US [)i 4 to US IJ 25).

Under ~li1ItemaijQrrallarw,a n expression or ~ews can only be catego:ri2!ed as "endangeri ~g the publl~c order" in passes eth ree-parttest. Pri noiple ,6 of the Johali1lnesburg lP,rinoiples 'on National Secunty, Freedom Qf Expression and Access to Information,8 a set of pri neiples on the rig'ht.ta freedom of expression and nationall security endorsed by the Unit€d Natiolfas (UN) Sp~ct1al Rapporteur Om! Freedom of Opinion aad Expr,€ssion7 and recommended to States for their ecnslderstion by the UN Oommission on 'Human IRights,~ states:

~ARfICl1: '19, Cer!W ror Medi~ A:e.edom arid R~pcnslbl~ry, f).32-

6 ARTICLE 19,. JohafllleSoul'g Prijn~iple$ on INaflo:n<1l1 Se¢uril~, Free_ of c~pres:sionl and Awe~ to I~formatkm, (ART10LE '1'9: Lon,QQrl, 1900).

1.s~e. for ~x_allilpte, UM Doc EfCHAI1900f39, 22 Mardi 1006, para. t5-4_

as!'le U M Doc. EfON.4/1900f53, 1'9 ~riI1996, Tliie Johll1ll1estJurgl Prind~~ nav>ijialso been refoerredllo by 6IJperiorcou:r!s of reCOr£li3iFOUnd tlhe wor1!l:1.~e, for example, Alh.1Jkmal v. AG, 5 Macy t997, SO N'.os, 1"15[97 (S!Jf}.ffime Coort of Sri Lanka), ami Sooretary of Stale fiQi'HIH Horne [Jep.artmelflt '11_ [2001] UKHL 4 i' {Uni~d Kingdom Heuse of llln:ls) ..

____ ~ L~I M~I~r~E~D~p~R~O~· ~r~E.~C~T~I~O~W~~

... sxpresslo n ,may be pl!m~s hedl as a threat to nation.all security on Iy if a go-vemment can demonstrate that

(a) the sxpresslon is intended to incite imminent v~olence; (b) it is likely to incite such violence; and

(c) there is a direct and irnmediate connection oetweEHii the

expressiona ~d U'le I ikel i mood or occu rrsnce of s~oh violence."

Article 154 is thus problematic due to its Qrverly breadscope of application, Undler this Article, for exam pile" sorn eons wh 00 simply d~stributes allY lesiflet that doers not bear the real printer's name can bearrested Oil" fined, even without incitingl violence.


Libel. a crimina.! offense that carries imprisonm.e'llIt upon convictlcn in t.he· PhmIPpine.s, is p ravid ad for in th e sarrta IPe nal Code (Articles 353 to 362)_ Prison tenns rBli1lge from 'one day to s ix ye~ rs, in addlitio~ to- the imposition of fines. These are mli nimal (b9lM.sen usn 4 to IJSD 2S} as in th,e case of vi:ole~ions of Amcle 154, but. this does not prevent complainants from demanaillg mililions of pesos in damages., some of which have been awarded, although higher cou MIs have later reve rsed them,"

Arti:c!e 353 defines Ilibel as "a public and malicious imputation .of a crime or a vice or detect, real Of imaginary, or .any act, omisslon, oondliliolll, status or c~rcllmsh::moe t·enJding to ca~se the dishonor, aliscredit or contempt ota namral or jurrcHca.1 person, or to b~ack.en the memory of one who, ts dead,"

Article 354 decls res 'that mevery diefamart·ory ii rnputatlon is presumed to be malioious, even il' it be true," except when it is made in a prirvate cnmrnunloation to another person urnderlakiii1lg a I!egal. moral, or sociall d Ulty;. and when it is in a report 0 n '''any j udiciel ,. I eglis laUve or other o-ffioial prooeedingis;." .or any ad performed by public officers in the exercise of thenr functlons .. ~

Arlidies 355 to 359 coniali n a llst of penalties 'for various degrees (if Ililbel, Fallii1ging from a fine of PhP200 tc PhP6,OOO (USID 4 to USID

9 See Re$(Jr,uUa~ 1995142, Preamble_

10 See fur instance; ntbQ'/&lWW,lQatlna.orglre50i.lrceslg~~1J'C 2QIl208.12.2.14.o .... hlrnl; rum:.Jlrwri.t;cmfr-Dbil.oru/alel1s-mar-

Press Fr e ~dom and Ph ilipp in e ILaw

120). to a fine of PhIP200 to PIhP2"OOO and imprisonment between six months and six. years. {Phillippine courts, however, have, applied these Ilight penal~ies to each instanoe of libel allegedly committed, so that ten counts or iin:stances of libe~ committed in an article, for srxample, could result in a pel1lany Qf PhP60,OOO (PhP6.000 x 110) o=Mld lm prison ment of 10 years,

.Article 20110i the same Code pena,ll~es 'the plJblkation of obsoe ne materl a'i punishab le by up to three yea,rs 1 mpri,oo nrnem and fines of be,tweensilX and 12 thousand pesos (about USD 125 to USD 250),.

The defamation and insuH proVliS,ions m the Penal Code all provide for prison sentences as well asl'ines. While int,emationsillaw permits limuted r,elStrictions on the ri'ght to freedom of expression in order to protee'!: va rtous i I'lImrests includingl rep utatlon, any restriction must meet ~hestric'l: th ree=pa rt test discussed in Seotion 4.5,11 Accmdinglly, demmation laW'S. ljjik1e' a,111 r,estnidions, must be prepo rtionate to ~he harm dome and sh o,u~d n 01 go beyond wh at is necessary in ~he pa rticular oi reurnstances.

The UNI Human Rliglhts Committee, the body responsible Jar overseeing the implementation of the Iinternational Cov,enant on Civil and Polliticall Rights, has repeatedly expressed its concern about ~he use of custodial sanctions for defamation.12 The UN Human Rights COmmiU9'9 has often commented on orimina'l defamation laws, welcoming their abolition 'where this h8JS coeurred," calling fur ~revi'ew and re,fOrm [of] laws relatin.g to ariminall d:Ei!,famiElltiiO:n, ~1.4 and expressi ng serlou s conce ms about the potentlal for abuse of crl minal deta matioD'ii laws, pal1ic;ularly where expre,ssion on matters of publlic concern is at stakie. 1 S

Ther,afore, the ~chilling" effee'!:. which disproportionate sanctlcna such as a oustodlia,ll sentence, or even the threat of such sanctions,

11 Ml'11CLE ~91, Cei'lter ~or Media freedom aoo Rm;:porlsibilitv. p.18.

121rhis ,oonOOF,n, has be~TI expreSSBd in the oonte:.:l, O'F sj)eijjfiG OOlllritry reporls. For e'~mp.1e in rela1ilon III kalandl and Jordanill('199'4}, Tunisia ami Morocco (1996), MaJJJ,itius I( 19'96), Iraq (199n ZJrn~~ o(1g98), ami Osmercen, Mlexf,w, Morocco, Noov.ray,and RomarIiaJ (1999). '~For example in the case of Sili Lank.a. Soo COIlc:lul1lrtg, Otlsef!.'8itillns on Sri Lanka. 1 Deoember 2000, CCI?Rf00l79JLKA, pam. 17.

1~ C<lllch.!ding O~Nati(lns on NOIway. 11lNo1Jember 19~9.COPRlCJ791Add, 112, para, 14,.

14 for ,example, in mltltion to Kyrgyzstan {'[T1he Commltleelj is especia Iy OOI'IGemed aOO\iI the use or ~ool '~1.I1t5 agaiflSt jOlWlliali~ts wtJo crlll(liz·e 'Ille 'Government. &Jell harassm&nt is

~'ress Frnll~11l ,a~cl Phillill~ine hw

___________________________ L_I_M __ IT __ E_D __ P_R_.O_T_E __ C_l_I_~_N~~

may have upon the' free flow of information and ideas must be, taken into aCCQWlIt when assessing the leg itl macy of defamation laws.


The protsctton of privacy isg uara nteed in t~e Ph iilippl1ne Constitution and fui1her regu listed in the Civil and Penal Codes. The n.ew Civil Code of the Ph i I ipp:i nes contains a provl sllol'll alii the r&g ht to privacy (Article 2,6), vi:o,lations ,of 'wihich cal'll result ln civll damages against private persons, Articlie, 32 penalizes any govemment offiCiisl or individUta.l who ~obstru em, defeats. violates, im pedes, and impa I rs" the axe relse oHreedlo m of speech. the freedom to, wri'te 'for th e press or to m.aintain a publication, as well as the privacy of ccrnmunlcanon or correspondence. However, no go¥emment official has so far been charged under this provision. The Penal Code also has a n LImber of ~:m)\I'is~oT!Js on prlvacy, 18,

Under intemationallaw. the ri,ght to privacy has to be balanced with tile right of the' public to know, public interest, and ~he exercise of freedom of expression, as discu ssed in Cha pter 4. lin relation to the p~i\l'acyof pubUcfig u res, 'there ils an lm portarrtline of' arg IiJ rnent which holds that once ii ndividlualls enter the publlic debate ~n a :suibstaJltive way" they willi need to tolerate significaJI~ly more infrusion inb) their private life.

lin 1 9'98, Senator Juan Ponce lEn rile tried to seek ,8 court order to stop Aye r Productions Ply. Ltd. from producing a movl IE! titled '''The Four Da,y R,evolution.~ He alleg,ed that the company was viiolating his ~iglht to privacy, On this case, the Philippine Supreme Court stared:

uncompatib:le with the freedQfll of expression". The- Stale parl~ shmJl(j ellsure Itlat joumalists can perform Itterr profession without '~e-ar oJ being ~bj8cled 10 prOS€ouli~11 and libel StIits [Gr criticizjng gClVmlment policy or government ,ofF-.cials.. J'oomalisl$ ilnd human rights. aGlivists stlbjeotedlo irl'lpt1sonmerrt in contme<nli"011 of Articles 9 and 19 of the Covensi'itsi'lr,uki be rele;reed. ~i;!:habilital:edl and given ,oompen<Sa1bi P\irsuanl to Arli'Cl~s 9.5 and ~4,,6 of 1tie Covenant, [em¢lasis adde"d]"). CoI1GllidinQ Otltse:rvafiollS on Kyrg~tal'll. 24 July 2000. CCPRlCfOOffiGZ, para 20. The Committee has e~pr'eessa.d similar coneems in a hosl of other CoocludillQ ObservatiollS, inGludili1lQ loose !relating to Icelan.d and Jordall (19M), Tunisia and Moroooo (1995), ~Q.lfitiU$ ('~996), IraQ aJld Slovakia (1997), Zimoob"we (1900), Camerol:ln, Mexico, MafOOGO, snd froman.ia (1999), ,Azerooija n, Guatemala ami Croiltia (20011), and~b1a, and MonterlegJo (211104-).

1~ See loodoro and K:ahata,y. see t'lote 2 on pa_flEl 4, pp, 164-165

Press Fr~edol1il anll Ph IlIp~ In e law

~r~l~!~M~I~i~E~ID~P~R~QI~i~E~'C~T~' I~O~NI __

The right o,f privacy like frElooom af€xpres:sio n is not an absolute right A limi~ed I ntrusion into a perscn's pJivacy has, long Men regs rded as permlsslble wih.en that person isa pu blicfigu re and UUll iinfarmati:cm soug ht oonstitute maIlt:ers (jf public character. The right of privacy cannot 00 invoked to resist publ ication and d lssemlnetlon of matters 'of pl.l!blli,Q lnterast."

Pm,tec#io,n of SOUIl;e'5

,A13 netsd earli:e'r, a special law (Republic Act 53) unique to the IP hUiippine's protects joum a I lsts from beinglfor-cedi to reveal the i r SOUIiCeS unless "demanded by thes€ourity of ~he state." Section 11 of ~his Act states tha,t no one. fmma. nI@'II\{Spa,per, m aga:rine 0 r periodical of g,efllera I oi rculali:orl can be "compeilled to r,e'veal the source of any ~nfowmatiQn O~ news report a ppea ring in said publ ~catiotn. , . un less the 00 urt or a H ouse or Com miUee of Cong rsss f1ndls ~hat such revel ason ~s d'emanded by the SE;H;:Ulri~y of the state.'" Only one attempt has so far been made (in 2003) to force a journalist: to reveall his SOUIiC€::S :si nee the Marcos ps nod. lilhis was wid'ely crfrti:cilZ!ed by th e pressand did! not prosper,

Electron reporting

Rep ublic Act e646, Iprohii bitingl newspa psrs an d broad cass ng stations mrom pr1i ntingl or bl1oedcastiirilge[.ectJ1on campaign meterial, WZM3· oneot the most: controversial laws to be passed and enforced in thl(il IPhil~ippiliiles, Pa.ssed Iby Congress in 1987, thle Act dleclared it iIIega I "for any newspaper, lrt3Jd i 0' b roadcastingOf television station Or other mass rned i16, or 8.m1y person m,a ki ng use of th e mass media tose!11 0 r give free of charge pri nt spaos ,0 r air Urne for campaf:g nI or other political plJ rposes_ . , "

Civilllibert8llrians, unclluding a r,e,tired Supreme' Court justice, criticized the Act as a violati:on of ~he people's r~ght tOI ~nformati:on,. which he saJdwas part of free expreselcn, It rema.ilned ilnrorce for '114yeNlirs, however, and was re pealed on Ily on February 12, 2001:" in ~i me for the May 2001 election s,

The Fair IElection Act of 2001 {RA9006) eoraalned provisions prohibilt~ng th 9 publ iica,tio n of usu N'Elys .a.ifecti,ng n ationa~ candid ates~

11 A1Jf!:f PrmfuoOOrr Pty. Ltd, If Capulong (160 SCRA 8611 1[198;8]),

____________________________ L_~_~_I_~T __ IE_D __ P_·~_.O_·_T_E_C_T_I_O_N __ ~~

15 days baror€! an electioril, and ~slLHveys .af:fectin g lccsl ca.r1Ididartes~ seven days before anelectiion.

II n response to til ~$ pro hibition, thesu rvey grou p Sodal Weather Station s a.rgue d before the Supmme cou rt ~hat til e· ba n conslitlJIedl prior restre i ntcn free speech and th e rig ht to i nfermanen, nile Coull1 agreed, and ruled that Section 5A. which forbade the publieatien of t~e ~nfmmaIHol1l Oiledl above, corns~ituted a n uncon stibdiona.l' abridg~ment of the rlights: 'ro free speech, expresslcn, and press freedom ,. and declared Vt i nval'id,

'i1.3.ILaws rnglyllijlifti!JIg P!!IinN madil'l

Among the la'ws regulating the print media

Thersare two laws in particular that CEl.t1I be used by t~e gov'em rnsnt to control the print mea ~a, .

. R.egistratj,oll' ofprlnt media

While ther-e is no furmal requirement for th e reg istration ef print media, Rep ublic Act 2580, pa.$SEN] i IfiI "11916 by the Philippine legislatur,e, requir,es the publi:ca.tion and r,econj'ing tn th,e IBurslaLl o.f Posts of the names and post offi ce addresses of editors, pliJ bliis hers, managers, owners, endstockholders of 11 ewspspers i Ii1l a sworn staffim'@lnt Fa i IlJ reto com ply with t~ i s requirement resu Its in a di®'nlial of'maTlI p:riviieges 10 the oftie nding publication.

Regl'Stfatlon o.fpub.llshefs

,Republlic Act 804 7 i air'! Act Provi ding for ~he Devel opment of til e Book Pub I ishii ng In d lIstry llhro lIgh the Formulation and I mplementa:ti 0 n of a Nationall Book PoUcya nda INationa I B'oolk Development Plan, enact,ed '0 nJ une 5. 1995, declares it a State policy to promote the devellop:ment of the book pulbUs hing iindustry to en Sli.l re a suppl y of afifordiabJe boo ks for both 'the domestic anci the export mar~9t

Se~ion 6: of theAJ:l.t requires the regiis~ratiiolf1! with ~he NaUonallBook Development Board. crested oytll e' Act, of all persons and e'rlltJlties involv~d in book plUb~ishing. Sec,tion ~ 0 empow9 rs the Oepa rtment of Education to consult the Boarod in the ma ki flIg of the rules and reg ulatlons Ileeded i n the preparsticn of books required by ~he oountry's: pulbl~c elemenhlliry and h~gh schools.

IfIres~ Freuhm a nd Phil i p p in e hw

~~_L_I'_M_I_T_E_D __ P_ .. _R_n_r_~_C_T~I_O_._N __

Oamp~s ·Joluma'#sm Act

In 1991, COrlgress passed the Calffip~s Journalism Act (IRA 7079'),. which recogniz:ed th€: vital role p'layed by the campus (unii'li\Elrsity ano coillege} press in thea nti~d uGtarorsh I p resistarilce ,. andg ranted student journa I lists sulbstanti al freedom.

Th is ~aNIi' limits school ad m i n~$tra.Uo:ns to select pu bl i cason adiviser'S from a, list pfovi.ded by the newspaper sta.ff.. Thefacu Ity adivisera post abolished in 1904 at the University of the Phulippiriles, the country's bigg.e'st Stalis Iij niversiitll a nd its best amid most presUglio~s terti a ry institulti:orl- is I ~m ited to the fu rndJlon of pmvid ling tech n ica I guidla.li1Ice and is completely de niea anyoe nsorshl P role. Staff mem bers also havesecu rity of tenu re ana m.ay notbs expe lied from fhe scncoi solle-liy on the basis of the paper's pe'rlFQmmamice.

Althoug,n the Act appe,E!Ir$ to be lilmited in appHca b~ I ity 10 a nanow, rlion"pmfessional sector of Uile print rned la ,. its sig mI ifleanee can be best a ppreeiated ~n the context of the role schoo!1 new8pa pers p!lay~dl ,dur~ng the· martia I 'law period.

Most Philippiine universiUes. and «;o'II,ege8, whether gov€<rinmentowned or priv8t:e, publish stludlent rrJewspape rs, D I,Jwing U1'S marilial ~aw reg ime (1 ~972~ 1986} a n~ mber of these l'Ie\iVSpape i"'S,for etl<a.mple t~e Univ,ersity off the IPhlilippines's Ph'iifppine Collegian. were at the 1oref'r1Jnt of that resistance. The was widely read ,even oiljtsidethe un iv,e rsity, bud a su eoesslonot its edi~ors was a rre'sted amid indefinitely confi ned in the Mar()os reglime"s d:e·tention centers.

1 i4!. Laws Iregl! I,atjing brQadcasti ng,

In 198.5 the S Ulpr€ me Co,u'rit declared, in a declslon <Q n the t=aslem Broadoast Corporation v. Dans case, tha,t "thefreed!om of televlslo n and bro.adcasting is somewhat I €!sser in scope tha,rTl ~he freed:om accorded to newspa per and Iprint rned nai "18 Cmng US J uwisprud9ri1C€ to det:end its view, the Oourt ~nvoked Bril American case w~ich Vhat broadcasting has only Ilim ited prote~ion ill1l terms of mre~ e;xp:ressiorll bscsusa it is more pervasive and is more readUy acce.~s~ble to eh iila ren,

~ IEaslefli'l j3!ro.a¢lcas! CorlNr,a!fJm (DYRE), 'If. Ba.ns, Jr. ('137 SeRA 628. [19M]}. Dans. was 'b'hel'l hea.d of tiMe Na~iotlCll Tef.eODll'lm1JnicaUoJi1ls CommLssioFi.

________ ~~ L_I_1 _M_I_T_E_D~P~R~OI_T~E~C~.·_F_I_O_N __ GtD

Neventhe I,ess. the SU prems COILa 11. affirmed thatbroadcast stBtiOrrlS deserve the special pr.atec,tion 9 ill/,en t.oa.!1 forms of mad ia by due process and the freed om 'of expression [pmy~sionsJ of th e Con8ti~LJtion. "

A r€view of some 'o,f the main laws rel ated to br{ladcastIJng in the, P'hiUppin 8'8, hQI!N€ver, shows that some pr'Olvi sions \lViithin these nsedl mpl'\ol\lemslilt i'ril order to oflTerthe special protection menf 0 ned in the Supreme Co urt's $.tat€:mentabove,

Bmadcast licensIng'

All r€ld ~o compa nies in the Pn i I oPP i rlies ar,e requ i,red to ~ave oorlii~icat:e5 of pu bllc oonven lenee and ne,oe's::sity from the N a~i.onal' Teleoo mm~ niication s COlmmi ssion (Nile}, asspedi11ned iln E):)ecIJtive Order No, 546, issued Juliy 23, 19'79, At the same time Ule'y needl a lleglislaliive franch iissto opera,te I' as spedflied ii n the Ph iii pp.i ne Constiit~~ion's Article XH I' Section 1·1. Radiio compa nies mu st fil'e their appl iioations to the N'fC I asw'8l1 as an appll ica~lonfor a 1irarrlchiise to the House of IRepresenta~lves of ti'Jri; Congress of ~he Ph i I ~pp i nes, following admlinistra.tiV'e procedures :speCified! lby both. NTC has the power toadmin iiste r and! enforce all ~ams, ru I as and mgu IIa:tio ns ilil the field of eommu PI i oa~lons. As in the case of other Ph ii~ippi rile government eornmissiens, NTC com missioners 91rea ppointed by the President off the Ph iiUppi nes,

U nder inlts mati 0 nal law, it. is well established that bod~es with regllJi latory or adm i iii istmUve IPowers over both! pu bl i:c and priva;le broadcasters shou Id be independent arrld protectedaqainst po I iUca! lnterferen OEL ~t Willi I be difficult for the regula/tory and licens~ng body to be free fro rn porliti,ca I i ril1erfe:renoe lif ~ts rnem bersa re appointed byth e iPre'sident In a m,lIT1ber of countrries I' members of th e breadeastin g board are nemi nated by the publiC and selected by pari ia,ment 19

DUrii ngthe recePlt political crisis in th e Philippins's overthe I'egitimatcy otthe President, the NTC;;l bused its power by threat€:n ilng to revoke broad cast media licenses of organization s thEd conti l'1I ued to air the w~lr~tapp€d conversatlo ns between Pres~denlt Gloria Maca paga I

Pr~n Freell~m and PhillilPpine Law

~r-_L_~_U_.II_T_E_._D __ P_R_O_lr_E_·._,C_T_I_O_N_I _

Arroyoi;'! nd e'lection commissioner Vkglilio GarcillllaJ1io , Under itr'lterfll;3tl0 rlal law, the r~vQcati:on '0'. ncerTlses can only be justified under exue me ci reurnsta nees, and it has to satisiyth e three-part test fur restricnons discussed in Chapt€<r 4..:;:a

The Ka.p lsanaa ngl mga Br{ldkaster ~g Pilli plnas (KBP), the self ~ r,egU!~a.k)lry boa rei for broadcast media, later objected to the NTC warning. Eventu ally, KBlP announced that the med la may broadcast the conversatl Q ns. P ublished 1Wa,~sGriptsawe i ij circlll~ati,o:n ElJS we II as aud 110 reco~dinQIS. The fate of ~hese rned i a gro'ups is pendingl, rega,rding any future NrC action. alth 0 ugh the KB P believ,€s thaJt Nll'C has no leg a I basis in closing any TV or ra:d io network,

Setf-r:egularory mechanisms

Seif-Teg ulatlen in the PMipt;l i nes has been d eseribed es largelya. means of belanci rlIg the interests of ~he gove~nme nta nd p:riv~te med la sector."

As notedabove, the KlBIP ~s the self"regulatory board of broadcast media. Broadcast industry r~preSiell1tativ~s created tihe KElP du ring the marliallla,w perl'od under a govemment mandate for the broadcast meeJiia to reglljllate· th.emselves" After tIl;e coll,apse· of the lMaroo'S d~otalorship. h1owev€lI':, the KB P became the primary trade or'ganf!Zatioril ~~ broadcasting as wen as the regu~atory body for the ina ustry.

ThE) KB P ~asa Sta.rildards Authority thaIl enforce's standards In p:roglralmming, advl3Jrlksi IiiIg, and ~rade IPraC'~ice througl~ its Radio and Television Codes. nne KlB P Board of Directors, which consists ,off Ilrndividiu if! Is frem the broadcast illid liStry, eppoi nts the mem bers of the Atf~hority fro m the broadcast I ndUlst~,.academiia (usua.lliy from the U ~ iversityo,f the Ph ilipph"l€s ).,a nd the allv,€ l1ising i n:dustry.

T1I1e Pm~horlty observes e.stalblislhed procedures in 1 ~vestigatill1lg, heeri ng, enid adjud ~ca.ti rig cases iinvolving v.ollations of the· Codes, a~di mp oses pen alties that ea n ~ncl ude suspension or perrnsne nt dliSiC!ua,M]fi:oablon from KB P me mbership :and fines. A rlIumber of radio and TV stations have been sa.nctioned byth e Authorli1y, but

;,) AIlTICLE19,.(ellt~rf~r Medl~ F~eed~m and RelJMlmsl~[IIlY, p..l& .11 Te~iIoro aJldl t'.iIbaw~ se~ m~~ 2 on P~J],Il 4:,11-56

because the penaJUe!5, in particu'ar the fines, have been minimal (tOI' example, PhP6,(]OO or USD 125 for the first ,offens-e), violalions of the Codes conanua

The· Cod es are extremely detal I~ed, but the KBIP has difficulty in enforcing them due to lack of manpower to monitor .alll the radio, and'" TV statiOrls· all over the Ph iilippi.Ples.


1.5. IIlfOrmLaitlQOi A public rigbt

The right to i ntormanon, the Su p rema court has ruled, isa public right that may be exercised by any citizen. In Hl'I37 lit Irulled that any citizen might claim ~his right "The ri:g ht of the psop Ie to inrormati,on on matters of public concern ." by its ve,ry nature is a public riglht... when the qusstkm is one of publlie right, the people an9...the reall party in ~nterest.. [a citizen] need not show that [he or she] has any lega! or special interest in the result [of llitiglation]" to avail himself or herselt of this ri 9 ht:.

Th rough such r~11 i n1Igs ,. the rig hts guaranteed by Arti.cle III, Sectl 0 n 7 o,f the Con sntuuon have been detl ned as:

1} the right. to information on matters .of public concern; and

2) the corolilary rlightof access to official records and documents.

PhilippinE! juris.pinJ denee has also recogn lzedth e· rig hit of newspa pen; and newspaper staff to have access to publlic records.

However, ~he ri:g ht to inrormatioJiland thel coronary riglnt of access to public records are, illl the words of the Go nstitution , "subject to such II i mit:atiollls as ma,y bel provided by Ils.w." ~OnJ Iy 'matters of public concern' arecovered by these rights,n stated the Supreme Court in 19'73. I rII 19B7 ~he Court added., "the riig M of access ma.y not be ex1ended to trade secrets or confidential commercial and flnanciall info rrnaMon end matters of n a.~ional secu rity. ~ The' Court noted and ~hus afti rimed existing statutory ll rnlts on the, riglht to public ilnformation such as:

1. information affe cti ng national S8'CU riiy,

2. d i plornatlc eorre spende nee re·1 a.ti ng to nationallseourity and nationa.i i nterest,

GBD~~L~I~M~I~T~E~D~· ~P_R~·~O_l_E_C_T_I~O~N~ ~ __

:3. maUe rs still perldijng deds ion, a rid

4. confildential records of different branches of gOlVemment.

The mandatory pu b I i cation of laws is a means of impl'e rnenti ng ~he rig I'd to information.

hi ~ 9816,. the' Cour!: ruled that all laws andomer measures must be published in the OffiCial Gazette:

,.,.rules cannot be recognized as, b,indil'lgl rules unless their exlste neeand oontsnlts airs eenflrmed bya v,alici P Llblication internd'ed to make fuI~ disci'osillre alla give proper notice, to the people,

Respo riding to decision, then Preside nt Corazolil Aq uino lssued IExecurtiv,e Order 200. which provided that the publication of laws may also bEl: made lin a newspaper of general cumulation as well as the omc~al Gazette'.

The Administrative Code of 1981 03,1'&0 provides in Book VII, Chapter 2., Section 3 th at every agency ~sha I ~ f h'll' with the, University of th e Ph i I ~p po nes Law Center three certifiedl copl es .of ,every ru lit;,. adopted by it" The Center [IS in turn required to publish these rules,

lin 1993. PIF'€oside nt Fid e I Ra mos issued Executllve Order 891 requ iri ng national govern ment agencies to adopt procedu res fo,r the public and 'government agenoies to follow when they receive requests for 9 o,vern ment data and i nformatioirn. There ~s also a Code of Conduct and Ethical Sta,ndar,ch;. fOf Public Official's and EmIJloyees (RA 6713) that requires publlc employees to respond within 15 days to letters and routune requests sent: by time pu b.l lc,

In praetice, glov,emment agencies may be said to be, generally cooperative in providing info:rma~ion to the media. Mo'S,t officials are either extremelly accessib~e t'O th,s med ta or active~y&eek. media coverage. In adidlltr:Otl to this accessibillity, a vast system 0001 public inlfomnaijon reglularly chums out press release's, instilg,ates press conferences, and leaks ~infol1l'1a~ion" of vary,lng deglrees of lreliabillity to the Phillippine media.

There are, advanltag €s and d lsadva nil1tages in situ ati on" Among the, I'atter is the uncritlcel use 'of 'g'ovemms nt press releases as well as the publ.ication of leaked int:Oonmation wi~ho~t checking its accuracy or av,s n conslderm 9 the motirv9s Q1f the sources ..

Pr~a Freed~ m and Ph illipp,jn~ ILaw

____________________________ L_.I_M_·_I_i_c_D __ P_R_.·_D'_T_E._IC_U_1 I_D_ .. ~N ~

Iinevitab Iy, giv~n the aggressJve coverage by ~he Philippine, mea ia. offic~al$s~oh as former President Cor8lZion Aq uii no have tried to I'im i~ access simptry by r,e·f'LJ$ing to talk to, the media at all. At one point d~ringl her presidency, Mrs. Aquino arso imp.osed a dress code on journallists ceveri ng the Pre,si'oency, vleladons of w~ lch depr,ived the offfenrd€w of' the rlight to be illil her presence. She .a1150 ~,efusecl to' hold regu~E1ijr press briefings durin 9 the laUe r daiys. of her t~rm.

Detained former president Jose ph Estradal is i for hlis part, curre nUy limitingl access to his person by being ayai~able orilly '1.0 some msdlia pra:~I~loneffi snd medlia org:anizations, !During his i ncumbe ncy (19,98~2001}, Mr. Estrada relied on his SPOkEHl.perSOn to blief the me,dlia ,fomgoil!1ig press cOfllfe renee'S allrogethier.

H ls predecessor, M f" Ramos i on ~he other hand, mad e h iimself genewall~y accessible through prs'ss conlfarencss andl briefungs. and at on~ po i nt ,even thr'O'I..!gh breakfasts, lunches, an d d ~mliers wli~h selected joumalists,a. practioe wh~ch to some observers sEH~:med to bean attempt to gl~alral6i1tee favorabl'e ecveraae.

Today, Mrs. Amroyo uses the same approach, inviting journalists to I unc~ or d iirm€!r an d 9\!Iem appointing them to grrv,e·rnme,rnt poets, In 200.2, Mrs, Arroyoo' E1iJf,)pointed several eolu rnnists fmm Manila naw.spaper8 to gO\l'"8nl ment~conJlrollled eorporatlen s thalt inolu ded ba nks, and thesoclel socurity and gov·emm,ent ilrilsulran eesvste rns .. These are jJijQmtHve positions whlich ean'lthe collumnisls, oepend~ng on the cQrpora~ion, between P hP50, OOO!l1 nd Phi P2S'O ,000 (USD ~ ,000 and USD 5,000) a m,Q nth" 11lley constitute a fOI!11fli:dable i nc€ntive for oommerrlilng favorably on th@ gIOV,E)mm;8r11!, especialWy th e appointing power.

Following her Stifl.te ,of 'tt'1e rNla~ion Add rnSS i rn JlUI~y 2005, Mrs" Arroyo., like Mrs. AqliJ i no, also n mil~d media access to her press conferilnces, Reporte~ from i ndependent ~oca I media romp lali ned against control ofthe free press and Mrs. Arroyo's iStage~managed press conferrer! ces, Local reporters fmm private media wewlll' forced to subrn it quesnons in advance. whille reporters from state~ control led media were gliven prio~i1iy. Th ree out of six mainstfie:amiV channel's ar,s' controlled lOll' t~e g.Qvemme:nt I n one instance, foreign media were banned from covering Mrs. Anroy()'s pw€'ss oonwre:nce"

@'____~_II_U_I_V_E_O __ P _R_O_i_1 E_C _T_~ _O_tl _

11.5i. The draft j I1!fQ[lDartion ad

AlthouQln guaranteed by the Co nsm!J~iion and the executive orders of two prs'siidents, freedom of infQrma/t~on ~n ttl<t; Philippiines ~8 not covered by .any I ;;lW. There have been proposals fur access fo ill'ilform8lUc)!tlacts ln the past. but joumaiisls'groll~tSopposed them beca,liJse rather than wi deningl ~he scops for informa:tio n access, the PIFoposed laws narrowed it by rocusi'!1g on ,offioial info:mn'a~lon that could be withhe ld,

Journalists ha.v'9 also arg lied! t~at. d 9sp~te tiile absenC€: efsuch a I aW,a nd the consequent almbitranlneS$ of officiall decisions onwhichl i ~formatioWil to release an d whiichto wi~hhold, ~he Philippines has not lag:ged 'behind other Southeast Asian COIJ ntriesthat do have i m1IDrmationli law'S. $U c~ as Tha i land. II n tact, th,e!se jOLJ rnalists cia Ii m, official infommatr.on has generally been more Siva i I a ble in ~he Ph illippi nes than ~n other cou nJ~ries. 22 Howev'Elr,[he P Mi ppine n onqovernrnent organjzat~Oml {NGO) Acoess to ~ nformation N e,two:rk {AT~N) awgl~es,. "den~al of access to information on mattrersof public concern in Une P h~ll i P pines remain s wi:despresd,," 23

ATIIIN's obse rvation uS probably true in terms of the, p ublic's, ra.thert~an .Journ.a~.istt$:' access to officilZi I lnformatlon _ Since many gOV1e rnrne nt agenci'es are afraid to incur the displeasa Fe of the media, especially 'the M.anila~blasedl newspapers and su c~ org a nizations as ~he PC IIJ, they eiventu a Ily, if net r~ad1i1y., release requs!Stedi iinfonnatJlon"

This is not the case when 'ordinary citizens. su en as mem bers of N GOs. lieques.t t~e rellease of official ~nformation. 'Even public documents Ii Ik!e' polliceb~obters hl;;3,ve been oesorib@,d by ~he pol~ce as, j"Cilassi1fiedl" when jOlllmOl'llIslm studeWilts requ est access. I n some cases, as Yvonne Chua, formerll'y of PCIJ, and luis V. Teodoro of the Un iJV1Elrsity (If the PhlilippinEl'.S note, s~uden1lt rsq uests for iniforrnli1l.tio:n are either denied. oranswered with inte~mjnalb le della.ys-

AT! N ha.s d Mfit.eQ an informaitiorrl act for the CQWilS ideration of the ftl~~~ ppune Gong ress, ~ lit has notedth at

22 See, for example, 'i¥(mne Chu.l's "llle Philippines: A libe'Ial infmma~ion r~ime ~1(eil 001l1l01,]l811 IIiiiFQI'miil~lon law," \!,IWW. fr~domifi:)u;!Fg po.$ted QJ'I Janu~~ 17, :ro03 ..

:1:j Aooess to Information Nl3lwtork. "The need fG\F a law on access to informOlticm ," A Diall'lgoo w;lVl Le9i~.wors Ol'! Acc~S$'riO ,~ JrrformariOJl. [h~cem~~ 16, 2002.

~ This d'r8i1it has been analyz.oo by AR¥IC~E. 19 in 20Q2, It csn be accessed at WIm!!, artiCle19l..ofg,

___________________________ l_I_M_·_IT __ E_D __ P_R_O_l __ E_C_T_I_O-IN __ ~

TM problem (of iml~ormati:on being witt! he Id) ~s rncreaeuts wah INllgariJ to informat~on that does not tOm"! part of the data and reports ~h!at govern ment age noies, routi nely publIsh or malke .alIvai lableto jhe publ lc, lR.eq uesti ng such dow rnents, records and data from so me govemmentoffic&s ~sfrequently met with iln 8c111on, excuses, ref8nal:s, or o'UJ~right rejec,tion.

One r-eason for this is thlat much of bhe Ptn i I ~ppil!'Jii~ pu btl i estill cons~delrs access to infonma;hon a pliVii lege. The: media practi Del of culltivmiililg illi)(:cllljjsiv€ sources of government ~nformation. says ATIN, lin fact: ~wofcsens the probllem, for it perpetuates ~he sys,tem of relying on ~rnformation leaks lor vital maHers to be brought to ~he people's attenition.JJ'

11l1e recourse of goiGilg to court to compel access is notan answer, says ATI N, bees use the infQlml8Jtiion req uii red is. not im mecHarely made eva i leble, :and what happe ns is that the va I ue otthe informati:on has been diminished by the, ~i me tM courts on:J.El,r its rel:t3,8!se,

A freedom of info:rm!;;l~ion Ilaw is necessa.ry, a~gues ATI N, to deter violations of the freedo:mto info;rfil1labo n, and to dialnty through Ila,w the exernptione to the €<lIIjoyment ofthe right

~leg islatJlon, JJ' arg ues A 'fIIIN ,. is needed "to put in place .~ 5'i rnple, speedy an.d eRective means of enforcingl the ri'g ht to information. - . j[a nd~ to provide un irfo:rrn oonditions and pmced uras in obtaining accessto official inifo,rrnatio:n, ~

~Leg isl a~ion can prQvidle a clle,i9r penalty tor the U n I awfull deril i all of access to official inifonna'tion, ~ ~h8 NIGO 00 ntinues, At th e same ti me, a Freedom of Information Act can define-the scope of the 'guararlltee rather thalm1 I eavingth e' i,ss~e up roth 6' unl.erpretation .of 9 ovemment agenCbt318, whose outlooks: t"ang,€ lbeMeerii II i bewai and restrictive.

ATIN's draft of~An Act to Ensure PubliC Acoe,ss to Officiallnrormation and IF,or Other IPul'poses, ~ h a.s been subm itted to the HOIlJse of Rep reS9ri1taUves for d lseusalcn.

The d raft Act req WI i res ,every govern rnent agency to keep €iIIld m,a i ntain records.whieh ~hE! public ca n access, specifying VhaIt oerta.un rMO rdis may not be destroyed. s:pecifically those perta i n i ng to g.ovemment loans andg uara ntses; govern rnent oontracts El';)(ioeedingl PhP 1 0

m~ililion ; the d,edlara~ion of assets, ua bill ities, and net W'Ort~ rOCluilr~d off government O'fficlallsandl em pioyees; ilrilvestigati:ons of gram: ana corrupt practlices Iby public officers; and any o~her,s wh €re: significant pubi~c interest ~:S ~nvolv8d or m ~y be ~nvoilV€d,

TIh€- proposed Ad a~$o req u~re:~ every govemment body to pr~vide the publi() with I ~1lormationalbout Its operations, its powers, and funcMns i the servlces it del1ivers, its progra mmss, p:ro]edsa nd performance targets iii I1d accorn pllishme'rII!s I' ~he mea nsthm~gh wlh~dh the public C~U'i1 participats' in policy rolrmullation, its recordkeep~ng system, and details of the contracts iintowhich lit e nters.

IJ nder the drain Act, gorvemme nt agerllciesa Fe rnsndatedto rna ke availabl!e to' the public Ii nfermation on al most evewy aspect of the i r operations, pclloles, strueune, and fransaetlens. on the records lin their oustody or U II1!der t~eir COli1!trol.

Fur1Dher, go:vernm:ent bodies ere requir-ed tel' disclose to the public ilnformation not expl ucitly exempted by Une d raIft Act and wi'! Idll POlS-eS possible harm to the pu bl lc's hea,llth. ttrJe 9ri1vi ron ment, or any other mallie r that alnectsthe public interest

The d liaR Act aliso speciifiies the conditions in whidh a governmerill .agency can deny access, amongl them the Plresidenfs declaratbn throlUlgh all eXJ;lcuUve or-der that disdO$ur-e may damage natiQnlia~ seourflty. llni$ tmaiy, however, Ibe d'nalilengle,d befo rEI the Supreme, Court. Neither can,rds reg a rdiflig angoii 1191 i rllvestigathJ ns be releasoo whien dli:sdlosure would ~nterf8,re with the: pro ceedings, dlepriv"€::8 person of a trita.l, disclose time idl€riI~ity of a cOrilf:idenitiia.l source, or e ndarilger the life a nd smety of law e<riIforoement personnel,

The .Act woulld erestea fNlaWional II nfOtrma~ion Com mission ella rged withfQmmU'~a,tl ~g SI natiorlall irrfommal:uonli progra ma nd establishing nn I!<s with alill gOlle'mme'lI1!t bodies to morn iror and report on their im p!em:ent:ation of the Aot, 2iI1mongi ,of hers. The Comm Issio nw~[11 be an indepe'~denlt body wihose members will be nom i nateda nd appoint€<d open heari rilgs ,. The Commission and the Regional [Information Offi:oels, u nder it: areg ilven vast power-s, linc! U1din9 the ai.l!~horlty 10' declare persons I ~ oontempt and tosummo 11 parti:els to al1l issue involvingl access to, inforli1lafr,Onl, as wen as il mpose flnas and p@irnalties,

______ ~~ __ ~~ ~_L_~_M~IT __ E~O __ P_R_O_l __ ~_c_r_i_O_M __ ~

llh,e diraft Act also cl,alrifies t~e scope of the ronstitulti:orila~ gua ran~ee of aeeessto information and irnpcses fiinesa~d p rison terms for its vi:olatr:on.


1 .. 1. Media M:I~GC:a'C:lt-Sm1IIP.s

The fou rndingl of med~a adivocacy '9 roups, a mong the m ~he Center (or Media Flreedom and Re·sponsibilit.y (CMFR), indicstes a growirl9 re·a~iization \I'llithin the profession of ~h9 neeci torse If~evaluaJI:i.or1la nd oolf~,reg uladon in a de mocratJ1Z1i ngsooiety,. The issues of e~hiC$ and r"€'sponsilbl'e mpomng :lU,e8.1 5<0 of' concern to such grou psas the Phil~lPpine, !Press II n stltuta,

lheg rowing 00 neern over the quality ofthe rned ia was a eenseeusnce or t~e ma.rual Ilaw extPeri,e nee, lOuring that perjod the abser'lce of rei lable i nferrnetlenth ~~ug h strl at goy,ennmefllt regul8!tior'! became a weapon of the dlictatornhip, The availability as well as th 9 quality of unfomnia~ion became, critical gO'!J1emanoe issues.

The meet iSiignificant gain of Philii ppine jou mnalislm aft'e r 1986 has been the, 9 rowth, of in\i1es~igative joumallism i nan envir,onmerni s~i II. burdened from the martial law period by the legacy of secrecy. The establ ishlmel'll of the !PCIJ in 1989 was the, tu rningl POUl'lt un til ts rediscove~ of a form ~hat, whille allr-eady ~n exlsten oe befo re 1972, W"'8S fhen I a rge~y Ilim ited to expose,s. and semsationa.llized articles.

Both priiri'lt and broadlcast sectors i. prior to Bind followingl 1,972, paid scant attention to rigorous research" The red iscoYery of inve<stigative jou maillismandl its Nrlll nernant as a form basad on eden:s i'!le resea reh has been erucietto the rnon iitoringl of govennall ce.and has broiUlght lli.E! watJ:h:J(lg fun eben of journalism loa. new leve~1 of pmfiessiiona.ll commitment It was a r-ejuvena~ion for pr~nt as wen as broadcast,

These 9!aii ns, rnowe,ver, had to 00 sustained ~n oonditi:ons that we re not necessarilliy id'e:al., By 1999, when ~he IEstrada go¥e:m ment oompl!eted its first year, it had berom€! in.creas!ingltry evidet1ltti'iaU~esei51dhievem9 nts were not Ilasting ,. !Dedioated and honest media practitioners not 01'1l11y fa.ced more '~ha,liII~h9 usual difficulties in undeliilaking thi€ir work; th~ a~oo had to 00 ntend wi,th presidential b~lllly1inQI andl aotuall as well as iim plied til ream to t~eir physical safely.


But event u ndsr the'se circlij mstances,a nd in response to them, a corps ofd is;si,(~ent p:racliliorners nasdeveloped .. These praotitionelr5 SE;}f;! the limitations 'Of theilr own coverage; they test the political, €:oanom ie, an d ideolog i C~ I I imiits unt1erpiin ned! by the, ownership system on a dla.iily basis; an d t~ey desire, a truly releva nt joumaUsm tttlat ,owes illS alleg ijanice fitl'$ta nd I ast to the people and a we5~on$ibility ro lmpert aeeurate and balanced iinformation. This was 'e'specially €videlnt d ~ ringl the political crisis in 2001, when: the d ~ss:ide nts resllstedl pressures by editors and owners to shape their coverage in favor of Mr. Estr-ada,as weill as aga i nst efforts w buy ~hem oft.

These d,iss'idents we re wide'spread in Philippine newspaper-s~ in Man iliia as WfiliU as in the cornrn u nifles, arild ~nclud€d reporters, colll!Jmnt~sts, and! even editors. llhey souglht th e informa,tiron that wou ld h.ellp IFi Hpi rIIOS ufl.oerstall1!d the~r own society andl its probllems, and e ngage.d newstPape r deeisicrr-makers in daiily struggles to g:et t:h€: n€ws out to a people n ungll"y for infmmaJti)o nand, equally i mportarnt, ~nterpretation" They ar,e ~he mason winy., despite the poll~Hcal eCO~Qmy of the Ph i I iipp,i ne press, eridcala rtieles and news v~1 to the public 1I ~dersmnd ~ng of recentevents sun ma nag e to be pub1 islhed, eV9,nt in tMse ntewspapers whose PQ~icies, ideol,ogical '1I1cllilrllali:ons, and polliti:call acqu leseence to those ~ n power meketh e m \lilrtua~ gov€lm rnsnt mOUlt~tpieces.

~~_L_~_U_~_f_E_D_. _f_R_._O_T_'E_&_f_··~_O_.N _

I n add it~o'f1 to p:ressu res and threats from the glove:rn ment, the media were also faCEl'I::i with systematJic e,fForl:s by govemmen~ affic~als to buy rnedfla practJib1one~" The so-ca II'ed"Jue1e ngg'are~ scandal, in w~ leh Mr, Estr'ada was P'ro5i€;c~redl for receiving moritey from iIIega,1 gamblintg, was~he tuming Ipoin~ in media self..,i5!warentess concerningl Ullis issue. On ~he ,s,ve of People ~,oWoe:r 2 in 2001, th@, IPhiillip:pine medlia well'"eagain in urgent need of reform and rerr!ewal,

line crusis lied toa n em ieall ;;lilrnd p:ro"fe's~:iona~ dilemma arnor1lg many practiiti'o ners: Sho uldthey repo rt the news as they saw firt, or millor their reporlii ngto thte desires off the majority of the owners and ediitor~ho W8'Msilthier w.a ry of M a lacaii a 119 dlispleasu m Oil we re clloloo Estrada a ssoci Some chose to, assert thelra uteno my., a decision that i n many oases led to regular Skin'll"lliishes between dea1sijon-mak€J1"S and Irepol1l!l1r:s. Ii nth El newsrooms of both p rinta nd broadcast organ iiza.tlo ns.

__________________________ ~L~I~U~.~IT~I~E~D~P~R~D~T~·~E~C~T~~~O~IN~~

What lis olea r is that for t~111 its problems, the re are individ.ual prnc~i~ion9rs ~ n th e Ph illipp i ne media" e'!J1e n ii n the mOISt ~i mid 8JrTld mOISt aequ leseent of Philippin e news1pap€I'S., who succeed Ii n reportingllhe newsaroura.teiy. For them, the task of g.;;liJthielring in10rmation and IFE!pOrtilnlg is 6_rJaymto-day struggle with eli irtors a nd even with owners, an o:ng.oi ng conf iet tlhaJt is extreme·liy complex, dl.a raeterlzed by small vucrories ,. rlIi;urow escapes. and many defeats.

1.9'. lihe rise of n,ew medj'a

The I nternet has played an importanrt part inti'1e race nt pomiicall ertses in the Philippin8s. Wh iille tradil::iona.i m.edlia sii III dam i nate coverage, ~ n particulaJ pnlnt, radf:Qo, and televlslon, other suppl:ementary 'forms of media are e merg~ ng. Iff short message system (or text messagling) was a 00 ntfiibLiul n9 facwr to the P, ropagandlaJ of bo~hsid es du ri ng 'the ~mpeach ment of Mr. Estrada, ems i I and online jo urnal s (or b~ogs) ha.v"e taken on a much more prominent 1101'e in the current crisis faci ng Mrs. Arn)yo.

Hie po~itic;alll crials in 20a 0-20011 provoked ~he clf€::~tiOnl or a r'II.1! rnber 'of pol Utnca.i, almost uniformly anti~~s1mda, W\elbs~tes. ,Over 20 such websi~le:s, ella raclE~Hiized by a h i'g h d!eg ree 'OF inleractivity, were identf ed by the eM FR's PhiUppfne Joumcallsm Revis'w ~n December .2'OOo.,~ 1ihey included IErap res!, Impeach IErap. com, Iskand ale .com, Guerri~,lal nifolTl1ati:ol'1l INetwork, and H otMalri1l i la. Most Manila newspapers are also on II~n e, i nolLJding t~e three most: widely circu lated Eng Iljsh~lang,uage br-oad sheets,

ln the 2005-200.6 polii1mcal erlsls threa~teningl the presiden cy off M 1"$. Arroyo, blloggingl has pllayed. a signlificant part Irq pnwidiing Ime pulbliic with unoe nsered informailuonl tlhey o;;:m not g:et from the mSJinstream media. The PCIJ's blogl was the 1iirst to break the story on the €xustance of th.e· recordiing of a.oonvers;;3,fi!Or'1l between the President OJ nd the n electien s Comm lsslo ner Vii rgilio Gaircililano, allegedly prDvi ngthat GarciiUano had he:1 peel manip~ I ate the2Q:Q4 general eileclUo'rl results ,. Apart from the PCIJ o,log! some n.o:talble bl'ogs are MLQ3, The Sassy la\!V)ler, By Jlov,e·!, and Talesfrom lD~siniiland.

2~ Eder, Ederiic, "Alternative press assumes new fmms atid new e)fpres~lons," Pffililj~rl1e JCiUFI"IallSffi R¢\11ew, Vol. XI No, 4 (Oe>oij'tnb~r 2OO0), pp, 31~3.

The latJ~iS'edArficJe 19 mo,nf1o~ ,com:pIi.M~ wiril. aRd advacate.s thfJ highw;t stalJdan:ls ,offroOOom of.fJxpressjo:n gfOOa1Iy;

The Siupremle, Court' for the Defense

By Gre'O Sp. Guerra

TH'E, up EOIF' lE IPOWEIR REVO urne NI~' of' 19fH5 not on~y ousted a ,e! ic'l.'ator but also mstoll'ed afrse pressa ndan independent judiciary, 1he tl.!vo ~nstitutions ~hat, accord i rftg~o the American broadcast j;aun1:alist Edward R. iMurnrw (11908-,1965), truly distinguish a ~ree soci~ty from alii othern"

Sin 00 ~hey involve civi'l libemes and cruHca Illy affeOlt the co~ ntry's political precesses. ~aws Ii Iilvolving press freedem and jud icii~ I independ!ence demi!ind a h [:g her stand ard of jud i:oua'i review ~han those i IilvolvinQI 'economic issues.

in hi,s separate opinion enthe QOfll:s~itu~iclIiI all ity of ti'ne p~1 Llnd,er Ilaw, ret1 red Supreme CO'''-Irt J ~s~iceVicenrte Mendoza mfefil"€td to th lis p:rilliciple as 1iIhe "double :standlaJd of jud i(~i all rev,iew: srnclscrutiny for laws dealing w,i~h freedom of the mind .. ,andl cJefere'fit~:al 0'( r:B:t/onal b;;;lSis standard 'of rev1ew llor ecoriJ;{;l:miC leg is'l atiort u Chief Justice Artemio f:anglanii'ban echoed tie same j~diolallPhilosopny wnen he sa~dthat in case O'l dou bt as to ~he oo'nstitutio~alny ofactJlons of tt1e polliti.oal branches i ~wolVtingtle liberty of ~_he people, he willi resolve the doubt 'in fuvor of oilvi~ Uberties, while a'll'orwirl9 ~he IPresid~ent and Conglress much ~eeway in determining the eeenoreic pol ~Q~e's ,o,f tlhe ooi,Jinlry,

True to, its marndate. the· post-198e Supreme court has cOrilsistenUy safeguarded freedom of speech and (lfthe' Ipr,e's:s as may be seen in the fb~llowing rulings. By no means a oomplete listing. U'nese

Pre s.s Fr a e ~ 0 m ~ nd Ph U i Ip pin e taw

decisions m!onethelessexempllify the Iibert:ariarrJ spirit o,f til e jud lei al branch afgov8m rnent,

In Newsweek v: inre'tmflaiate AppeNate Court, May 30, 19'86 i the Court Q rd!ered the d ism issal of a "class suit" for ~ibe,~ by certali n assccistiens of sugarca ne plsnters in Neg ros Ocei dental ag a I nst Newsweek, Inc. The complaint ailleged that the article ~An Island of lFearli im! the February 23, 1981 issue of tihe weekly newsmaglsziflle Ne'WsweaK portrayed Neg rosOccidenta~ as dominated by sugan:an1le plal'1ltBirs who e,xploiit, brutali!Z!9, and kill sugan::a~8 workers with impunity.

The Gourt heidi tnat the crimp lali nt faii~ed to stalte a cau S8 of actio n for libell since thea rticle ,,~id not $ peeifically r,efer to anyone of the pla~ntiffs., and ~hus did not damage that pia i nllWs reputaUOrlL A d isputed portion etth e arti cle ~hat referred to a pelriliculaJ plaintiff did nOlI identify him as a sugarcane pia nter and merely $,tated Vhat a vi:ctim had been arr€:sred by members. 'or{ as-pedal unit bro ught ~f1to tnfll area by th€: plla~ nW'f, who wasalso its mayor.

"He nee the report, referringl as it. does to. a n offioiaiad perfo rrned by alrl e lec.tJve official II, is wirl~ i n tme realm of prirV'ilegl8 and protected by the constitutiofllal 91..1 a! rantees of free s,peecha nd press, m t~e cou rt liull!ed.

lin Ayer Producfions pry Ltd. 11. Capufong, l~82380 and L-82398, April 29, 1 988, ~he Court dil1ectedi ~he dismissal of the oomplaint of former ['h3,fense Juan Po nee Emi le agla.ilnst the p rod uetlo n of 81 min i[-series m~€Hla!)ting thle "Peop I,e Paws r Revolution." En ri~e had a,lllegedl vr,Qrla~ion of his figM to privacy,

The Court, howe¥e r, stressed that. tM fr,eedom of sps soh and expres:sJan ~ nclud es the freedom tomm and pirod uee motlon pictures and to €,<xh iibit them in theeters or show them on te~evision, lit he,ldthat the projected motion pictLJr~d id not. con stitliJUe an un I awfu~ i ntru sl a n into Emi Ie's right to privacy, \i,lhiclh it said is "n€cessari~y narrower," he beii 1'191 a pubiic ~igure precisely becau ss of, among other reasons, his parf cipation ilf! ~he "P,sople Power Rev"'Olution.1i

11'1 f!Julretin .Pu.bfishinrt Corp, V. NOl:M, G,R No, L-716565, Noyembel' 9,1988, the Count directed the dismlissall of the comp~aint for libel

~~~l~I~~~I~T~E,~D~P~R~O_T~E~C_T_I~O_M __

for lack ofa cause of action by the family ota deceasec Maranao polihiaian. Applyi'ng community standards. the Court saw nothingl defamatory in statements in the article "Challlgingi of the GlUlard''' in ~he J une 22, 1986 issue of Philippine Panorama that said the politioian wa 50 a com mone r and had I iil/,ed in an Ame:rican household,

~ Any ,O'~her mule on d,emmation, in a na,tio nal com mun Uty like 01Ul rs with rna ny d iiVsrse, cu Ih.llral, socla I, rellig lous, and oth erg rouplnqs, is likely to produce an u!lIwho,lesome, 'chilliing effect,' UP01n the constituti'onally protected operations otthe press and other instm rnents of infommaUon and education" the Court said.

In Pita v. Court of Appe,a/s, GR No. 80.806" .october 5, 198'9, the Court reversed the disrtlilssal of the trial court, as affirmed by the Court Df Appeal s, of the com pllannt. of the publlish,e r of Pinoy Playboy, ,8 ~men's: maglazilrle.~ se<eking to restrain IM;;ulIll,a cilty auUnorities from oonfisca,ti rig copies ofth e magsJZine orr othe'f\l'II'ise preventing its cilrculati:o.rl.

The Court sai:d that, "speech is speedh; whether political or 'obscene." It ruled that since the presumption is that speech may be validly expressed, the burden is on the Stat'e to demonstrate the existence of a, clsar and present dal1ger to, justify ilts snppresslen. Pen ding that demonstration, it. must. be ,a I lowed" The COl:! rt held th at the autllolrUies had d to sl10w cause to justify a ban and to

'4Any other rule 0 n defamation, in a national community like ours with many diverse, cultural, social, religious,

and other groupings, is likely to produce an unwholesome 'chilling effect'

upon the constitutionally protected operations of the press and other instruments of information

and education," the Court said.



warrant oonflscation of the magazilill8 iin the absence of a lawful court order fiindling it pomogmphic and authorizing the said authoriUes to carry out a search! and s@IILiure' proceedinqs,

In SQ.rianoll. Jnt~rmediatB Appellate Couti, GR. No. L-7238,3. Novemlber 91, 1989, tha COo!Jrtapplied the amendments to Art, 360 ,of the Revised PenJa~ Code in holding that the erirninal case for libel filed bya Chairman of tile Cornm tsslon on Audit whose place of work was in Quezon City against the editor-publisher of a liIIewspaper published in Quezon City should be filed in a Quez,on City court, The Oourt noted that the purpose of the amendments was to prevent the harassment of media persons through libel suits til,ad ln distant or out-of-the waiY towns, by public officers who could more conveniently file cases in their place olf work. It thus dir,acted the, dismissal of the' libEl!! case against the edirtor-pliJlbllisher then Ipending lin the IRegional Triall Cour!: of Palo, leyte.

In Santos v. Court of Appeals. GR No. 45031, October 21, 199c11, '~h,e Court definitively broke away from ~he d()ctrine in the la,w <em libell IMt ,9 report ,on a complaint fil-ed before an answer is filed or a decision Ipromulgated is not Iprivileg'ed carnmunlcation. (The presumption of malice in a defamatory lmputation does notapply to, privUeg€id communicatlcn.) It thusacquiUed a colemnlst who had told his readers th at a ,complaint for frau d ullent practices had been filed arg,ali nst. a b rokis,rag'e·firm ,a nd reproduced the pleadingl verbatim ~n h j,g columiil.

III Borja/v. Court of Appeals, GR. No. 126466, January 14, 1'999. the Court. held thaUhe enumeration underAirt. 354 ofthe Revised Penal Code of pl'li'lfil,eged communications is notan exclusive list It held that fair cornrnentsnee on maUers ot public interest are also privileged, It thus disrn i ssed the, 'oo.mplslint for d a mag:esagainst a colu mnist an d a pu blish,e-r for the' former's celu mns, nne 000 I umns alleg ad a noma 10 US actiVlities on the pa rt of an ~organ jzer of a. conterence. ~ TMl' COU"J rt noted th at the declla red objectirv9 of tthe conferenu:;e to resha pe the transportation Ilaws of the country. the composition of its members and participants, and its be,ing tntended for funding by donations fr-om g:ovemment agencies, among others, imbued the maUerwith publlic i nterest,

In Vasquez v: Court of Appe.a/s, GJt No. 1118971; September 15, 19·99, 1:Jhe Court ordered fhe acquittall of the accused whose· denunciation of his barang.aycha.irman was reported in·6 newspaper. The COl..! rt found the accused to hav,e elilgag:ed in the performance 'of a civic d ll!!ty by seeilng to it that pubHc duty is discharged faithful ~y a nd well by public offiicials. Th'e Co urt fu rth€<u held that 'even if the defamatory statem ent were false, t~e accused cou I!d not be held liabl'e. if the statement relate,s to officiall con.d uet, unless the public official concerned proves that the staternent was mad e· wj~h actual melice-« ~hat is, with knowledge that it was false or with reckless diisr-egaJrd of whether it wasfa.lse or not In this case, the Court noted that the prosecuffnn had 'failed to prove not only that tile char·ges made by tile accused were false. N eltner did the accused ma.ks them while kn owi iilg them to be f:a~se or wilth reckless diisreg.ardl of whether they were false or not.

In ASS-CBN Bma'ocastlng Corporation v. Commission on E~ection s, GR. No. 11 334ae, JanualY .2,8,2000, the Court nuillified the total ban of the Commission on E.I:ections (COMELEC) on the ~o~dingl of exit pollsand the dissemination IOf their results. The COMELEC felt ~he polls would undermine both its official count and tile quick count by the INaliornal Move rnent for Free EI:ections,

The Cou rt h.e I d ~hat time COMIELEC had failled b) overturn the presum ption off un c.cmstitutilOnall ity of thie ban. it. be i ng ani act .of prior re,s.traint

In Social W~8ther Stations, Inc. v: Commission Ofl' E~sct(OnSl G R No. 147511! May 5, 2001, the Court held unconstitl!.l~iona~ the COMEILEC ban on the· publicaJtilOll of eleeton survey results affecting candid.ates 15 ,days pl'lll'oeding a national election and seven days before a locall election because (1) it imposes p~ior Irestraint on the freedom of expreaalon, (2.) it is a direct and total supprssstcn of a category of expression even if the supp reSSiOnlWDU I.d be in force onlly for ii'l, limite,d penod, and (3) the governmental i.rnier'es.t sought to be promoted cou Id bea.chieved by means other than suppresston of freedom ot expression.

In Estrada 1/; Sandiganbayan .• GR No,. 148560, Nov,ember 119, 2001, the Court heidi that a facial challenge as to the coverage arid v,agueness of a statute nas a, special app I leanon only to free speeoh

~r-_L_II_M_I_T_E_D __ P_R~.~lu~r~E~C~T~II~O~N~I __


cases because of ~he possib~e "d11 ililing leffe~)t~ on prot:ectedspeectn and ts not apiProp,Iiate· for testung the validity oW pel1lall statlJ~es IGke the p~lund,e:r Ilaw_ ("Fa,ciall chaHenge" n~fers to festinglth:e slart~te ~on its tao~" as contrasted wii~h dQingl so "as applied" to a pa mcular defendant}

~a~f GIoo sp" Guerm .Is direclor of tile S.upreme Comt's IWbJi(; ftrfomlaM:m office. Iter commWlts .{fIJd ollbservaooi'l-S are her p~[$ollflm vi~ws ami 00' mlt llElC$s-sarity reflect tnoseofthrJ S~me Cou.rl.

Pnu Freelll~1'Il a ~d Phil illpine Law

THE PHIIUPP'ltIlE IMEDIA. are under sieg,€. Thcsesccuetomed to what was once "the fr-eest and most rarnbuneticus press" in Asia have reason to baeoncerned. 1'llle (:0 urdry lhaSg:tlli ned the u li1Ienviabl:E~l lreputa;ti on of beinglthe most dlarilgem us pllaoe for Joun1Ialiists next to II raCF- a nd for ju ~is,ts, roo, I mig M add, It did not h el p that the gov,e rnment blund ered ~hro~gh .a series of exec~~ive orders an d presiidenti all prodametlons that andy succeeded in creating the flll<af- a, ~chillingl effect," if YOll willl- thalt i~ is de,l~rmitiled to curtaill free expression. [13 ut the S~ preme Co urt, as expected, lived up to its reputation as the last Ibulwark of liberty by com i ng to the rescue of '~he beleag uersd media. Tlheaocount that ffollowsfo cuses on c€1r1z1insti II unresolveo lssuss of press hedom uFltse,tlJl i ng to, thoS€ com mitled to theexpansiertct ~he democratic space as a cond ~i:on for polliluca.l and E;l,QO nomt~c progress.

~~. __ b_~_g_I_T_~_._DI __ P_R_O_T __ E_~_r_l_o_~_· ~

unsettled and Un.settllinlgl Free IExp,ress,ion lssues

8y Jsmaei G. Khan, if.

The p.eople'$ right to kno1w

The people's "rigtM to know"- short hand for the right of the people to i rllrormatioll'l on matters of pu b!ll,c conc:erifl- is 9 ~anlmteed und!er Article III, Secti:otil 28 (D:edaratfon ofPrlncfpJes) and.Alrticle 1111, Section 7 (Emf o.f Rights) of c ur present Constitllti on,

Anticle III Sect~orll 28 st.ates thalt ~Subject to reaeo nablle cone ilUo ns provuded by Ilaw,th e Stale adioptsa,lfIId iimpleme nts a policy of full disclosure Qf all its transactions iinvQlving pubnc interest,' This prQ'VliS'ion W;;JS not in the 19'73 or 1935 Constitution.

___________________________ L_I_M __ IT __ E_G __ P'_R~O~l_. E C_T_I_O_'N __ ~

Artide IIIII SecllQn 7 is more speoific as weill as emphatic: "The ri,ght -of the people to i nlforma~Qn on mati:er:s of publ lc con cern shall be recognized. Access to Q,fficial records, and 'to d'oouments and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisi.ons, as welt as to government research data used a's ba'Sif;; forpolicydevefopment, sMIl be afforded the citizen,slJbjecl: to such Iii mita~lons as, may be provided by law. ~ Exoept for ~he ita I loized phmse! this provision was e ntir-ely lifted fr;om the 1973 Constitution and ~s not in ~he 1935 charter.

There has been much debate and controversy 011 the correct i rrterp mta.tion and appllncati 0 n of these provlslons, Many press assoolenons and CiVd11 society gmu pIS Ii nslst th at ijt is a matte r of right. It lis not a matter ot riglht, of course, the operative words, bein1g "subject to such limitations as may be provided by law." Th us, mandamus mSlY blot necessa lily be resorted to as, a remedy to ii nslst on pUlbUc disclosure, In the 1989 case of Valmonte v. .Belmonte,. Jr. t, ~he Court ruled that before a mandamus may be lssusd, It must be clear that the linformation sought is of "public lmereet" or "publlc concern" and is not exempted by law from the operation of theoonstitutiorilal gua.rantee'_

To quo:1:e the Court in the case of Legaspi v:. Civil SeMce Gommissio.rr~, there is no rigid test to determine whether or not a partioular pieoe 'of lnformatlon is of public concern.

"Public concern ~ike publ ~c i nterest isa term that alludes ,e:xaot detlnnion, Sotl'D terms. embrace a broad spectlrum of subjects which the pl..Ubllic may want to know, either because these dir'ectly affect their Ilives, or SJimply because such matters naturally arouse the intere·s;t of an oro i n"nary citizen. I n the final analYSiS, it is 'for the courts to determin e in a case by case basis whether the matter at i ssue is of interest or importance, as it relates to. or affects the public,"

The' ~nformatJion sought Iby Leg'aspi in this cese was the truth of tile claim of certai I'iI govern ment employees that they were' civill s~Niice eligible for ~he positions to wh ~ch ~hey we re appoillt'ed, S i nee "a public office is a public trust," the Court gr,anted legaspU's petition to linquire into, ~hes€l' empl'oyees' civill service eligibilities.

1170 SORA 200 (1989). ~ '151!l SCRA 5M (1987).

~~_L_I_U_I_T_[ __ D' __ P_R_O_T_I_E_G_T_I_O_N ~ __

In the case concerning Executiive 'Order No. 464~, Ul~· Court. explaiinoo Ij''hat the:r,e are cl!ear distinctions between the, rig ht of Co:ngw,ess to information which unde.rlies the power of inquiiry and Uile liiglilt of the people to information on matters of public conoern. Nevertheless, to the extent 1ti,at il1vestfgaiioris in aid of legislation are generally cone ucted in publ lc, any lssua nee to undu Iy limit disclosures lnsueh investiga,tio.ns depriilles the people of inrormation that is presu mably a matter of pu bllc con cam. I n that sense, EO 464 directly impairs the right of the people to the information to which they are oonstitutionally entiiUed.

It is i liIier,es.ti ng to note that th is issue has become an an nual bone of conte ntion between the Phmppin e Center for Itwestiga,tive Joumalis.m (PCU) an d the Su pre-me Cou rt The PCIJ req uesta the Court each year for copies of the Justioes,' Statements of Assets an d L i abiU~ies (SAL}. Thus, the Supreme court has 1103 icl down the ru les Iby wihich any private dtiz,en m,ay be given 00 pies of th e SAlLs of the Justices, as we~ I as th e justlees of the o~her appellat,e COIJIrts 8111d judges of lower courts. A Resolution of ~he Court authorizes the Clerk of Court to. [tJi"nish copies of their SAls to any person who reg uests if so long as there is a leg.itimale reason for the .request. The GOUIr1 'fears d that the ilndependence an d objectivity of a j IJIstice 0 r judge in perfo rming Iii i s or her duly may be compromised since public accesa to inJorTTllation about his or her assets and lialbilli~ies may expose him or her to retaliation fop aoverse decisions, or to kid nspplnq " extortion, blackmail, and other unw.a nted eonssq uenees, Moreover, the experiel1lce of the Cou rt is that many such requests are merely fishing expeditions against judges .. The' situation might be different if there were 13,111 actual case against a Justice or a judge in whioh ills SAL may be the proper su blec,t of ralle-v,a nt inq Qj i ry,

Laws restrl,c.tlng ,a' to information

While the people's riglM to access government mrormetlon on matters of pu b.lic concern is gUia ranteed by th e Co~stitution, this right i So ;subject to lim ltatien sas may be provl ded by I!a,w. Indeed, there are many such laws, il1lcludingl the amplifrication of these laws through Court decisions and the IRules of Court.

~ Senate oHfi~ ~hilippines "I, Exec, Sec. f:rmfia, G.R, NI:I. u;9,n, April 20, 2006

__________________________ ~l~I~I~~J~I~T~E~D-l ~'P_R~ •. ~O_r_E~C~T __ 1 O~I_~~~

To. begin wii~h., the Constitult~Otil itseM considers as iIIwi01 ate the pmlvacy of' com mun i ca.~ion an dcc rrespond ence, except urpo n a lawfl.d Gird e r otthe court, IJ nder Article 357 ofth e Revlised Pena~ Gode" it isa n u nlarwfull invasimll of privacy to r arilY rnsm bar of the media to pu blli:sh 'informati:on on 'the private me o,f "ulotlher and that are "o1liferi15ive to' ~he honor, vUIn1:ue, and reputation of said person" even 'though the pu bl~cation is supposedly nscessa ry in the narration of any jlldicial or administrative proceed ~n 95 ~n which such fads had been mentioned _ Tn is s","called ~Gag law" rompl e rnents ev~ry citiz~n 's ~riglMto be left a lana," although its app~ lcanon th wUQlh the years, has boon oontrovercsiallat best Further; the dlselesure of illformart~orll acquired in the course of certain j udidal proceed i ngs, for exampl e, is severe Iy restricted not only because it is sub judioo bu~a lso because of stat~rory proscription. Conse,q uently., 'the I aw considers as "privileg,ada nd confldleril~ial~ a~ I such ~ nformetion ebta i ned i rrJ cases before ~ha family courts iinvolving adoptierr', jU\l'enil~es iln contlict with the law", violence ag a i nlst wom.enand their ohildrens, and the gUiSj,rdian 81m i P of minors 7• The testi mony of ch i lid ren is also generally protected from the p:ryingl ,eyes of the press".

Other exam ples of ~priviillegecl and confi:dentialm ~nfo:muf~io n pe.liain ill mediation! hearin gs9a nd ~he~rade secrets of corpo r.?litio~s under rehatrililtatJionto. G.enerally, infcrmaficnthus obtained is inadnlissible as evid~nce,

The sub Judice ru I,~on@ off the most. mijs'L!ndle~s,1tood jud icial doctrines in mass media law- is best illl WI$,~rate,d by the GOilJi rrs argument h"! the leading case 'Of In Re TOrffiS11 whllch was d added i n1931_ Th i scese involved :E! newspaper edtor who wmt'e an an~ioi patory arl:lcl,e on a pendingl cas€: an d who spec~llatedi 0 nits

41f!.eputl'liG Act No, 8552. !Domestic Mo;ptiQIi'l A.ct of 1998,

5 A,M. No, 02·011· 1 a;.SC , Re; 'PJQJJo$$dl Rlile em Ju,ven~es iffil D!mmct \Ilith ltie, Ap:M115, 20102_

a A M. No, 04-10- U.:sC, Re: Rul~ on VtOlefice AgainM Wom.en !3ndlth:eir Children, HO'\iIelITiber 15,2004_

7 AM.'03-oo.,o6-:SC, Rule 00 Guardiam~hip or Mino~. Ma~ 1;, 20m3.

B.A. M_ NQ_ oo4·07·8C, Rule 0111 ExaminaticlrI of A ChilllJ Wi~tleSS, f'iJovember 21,200[),

9 A,M.iMo, 04-3-15-SC, R~'ilised GlIide1illii~ for Ihle Implemei1ta.1iorJ~f Med iarli1nn in the Court: of Ap~al&, MaJ,ch 23,2004,

105 A.M, Nn. o().os.. ~O~§C, ~n:terim Rules 01 CofpoDrate ReIDItlbilikltion, Oecember 1 S,. 2000, ~ 56 Pih~,. 799 ,(1931),



ou~oo me by a nnou ncl rig what he thought the decision! wou I!d be. In pu rn is,h~ ng hlm fur 00 ntempt, th e Court held that its proceed i ngs rnust rerna i 111 confidential until decisions or orders had been properly promul'gated_ It said:

10Th 8 reason fo r this is so obvious fhat HI: hardly needs ex,plamdl on. In a Qiv,ji case, fc r exam pile, prior IkrliowJedg:® of the result would perm iit r,:larti'es to com prom lse cases to Une detriment otthe parties not so we~ I ililformed. In oriminal cases, advance advice regarding the outcome would permtt the accused to fig€! the jUn",lsdiiction of the court. The court m ust therefore I nslst on be i fig perm itted! to proceed to the dispositi:oril off Its bus'i ness in an orderly manner, free from outside ~ntertenmGe obstructive of irts functions and ternding 'to embarrass the admiinkj;tration of justice."

Fora more deta.iI'sd accou nt of these laws and adlm I n lstratlve rules, a publh:;art~onll of the Supreme Court's lP~blli,c; Information Office, with tine ponderous ti'~le Compilation ot Laws and of Supreme Cour( DeciSions, Resolutions Pertinent to the Disclosure of and Access to Judicia/Information, is instructive and usefu I.

.De-crimi'na/i'zi'ng Iibe.1

The letest attem pt to decrim i lila! ize libel, that is. defang it as a penal offense is that. by the Na~ional U nion of Journensts of the Ph iilippilliles (NUJIP)_ The N UJIP claims to speak for moue thia n 600 Journal lsts, It is cencemed that libell suits seem to be in ion 1 with Jose Mig uel Arroyo, President Gllona Macapagal Arroyo's husband, suiing at least 43 columnists and editorcs for libel. 'This situation Ihighliglhts the predicament of joumelists who rlisk im prison rnentwhen reporf ng on controverslel issues. particularly those involving pO'W'srFuI ina ivid uals, ~ the N UJ P was Quoted to have said by lihe international Herald Tribune. The Iintsmatioiiisil Feder·ation of Jo'Urnallists in Belglilum, as weill as the Pari's .. based Reporters. Without Borders, have beth voiced ~heira pprehension over thlis. development,

Actlil.a~ Iy, the Ilaw ,0 nil bel, fea redias the SCOIUI rge of a 'fme press, has been Illbelrnlized throl,J'g h the y,ears tlii mug il a nu maer of leglislatiive 'enactments and Supn3me Court decisions, The boundaries of press freedom were, significantly en Ilarged du rl ng Gh iev J usuce Hilario, na\i'lide's watch, and! the process Is C:on~inL,iing to inch fOf'INsrd under Cillef J1ustioe Artemio Panganiban's magistracy,

Press Fr e edu rn a lid Phil ilPpine Lalli

____________________________ l_~_,~_!_I_T_E_O __ P_R_·_O_T_E_C_f_·_I_O_1N~~

Article: 361 of the Revii:sed Pen a I Code specifi es ~hat thetfli.l!~h of a supposed liy libelio,us statement can be at defense in I i bel, p[rov~ded ce:rtain condition s are met" in a.~y orimiina I P:rQSE;!cuti,orn fur libel, the tnJl~h may be 'g iv~ n ~n evider1lGe to the Court iiff it .a ppsars that the matter chargled as Iib911o~s ls true" and mor€>ov€ r, th8Jt it was publ~s~ed with good i nt:entiomls and for j ~sbif~able en ds, the diefem;lla,nlt shall be EtQquitted _" TihetnJl~h, howevoEllr, comes un a.e r manlY shades alnd guises, and in fact may not be recognized as s~c~ especially if malice- whiidh is presumed, to begin with- is palpable. Truth as a defe nse m~st be accompan ~ed by ~g:ood intentions and for j ustifia bile ends. ~ Apparently, the Su preme COl..! rt ooncludedthat this test was In ot met i nl the very, very recent Cia;OO of Jejomar l:3tnalf! for and in beni1j!f of his minor daughter .Joanna S. Binay versus Secretary of Justicf;, Genillfl Fflilcfao and Vicente G. TiroJ12,

The case referred to involved an arl:icle· entitled "Aiyi3JS 'Erap Jr," whicnappeared in ~he Anoy Timas' special edition of Apr;il 15-21, 2:001. Parag rap~ 25 wh iich of that article reads:

~ Si Joan fila Maine Bianca, 13, ang sin.asabing anak I1g .mga Binay, ay bumiMi ng panfy na nagkakanaraga ny P1,OOO ang isa. ayon sa isang writer ni Binay. Magarbo ang pamumuhay 119' fJatang ito dahl! na~5Poiled umsno .ng kanya.n:g ama. ~

Dr. Ellenita S. B i nay, who was the Maka.ti :mayor at the ti me, med a nb€1 oomplaints;gainsl the write r of 1iJhe arti c~e, Gem ivi, V Factao ,~mdVicente G, Tjrcl, pu tJl i'si'rIerr of the Pinoy Times, fora nd in be half of' JOSlrll na, her minor daugihter. Sine was ~ater on :srJlbstitutEH:i as petJiticm,®f by her husband, Jejomar. who is now ~he city's mayor. 1he Makati city prosecutor filed! the case ag8J~n st private responde nts lFactao and 1Ii11ol, ~pon a findling of probable cause. The :S€Cir'€<taIFY of justice, however, reversed the PWos.€!ClJIIDrJ's recommendation and ordered theWii~hdrawal of the cr~m i nal eharqes. This was sUlbtSequ.ently affirmed by the Cour!: of Appeals., This prompted the IE! i nays to e~evate the matter to the Su p reme (lOUIri! on a petitiol'lfo r i'e'Vi,ew"

In t~eir petition, Mayor' Binay claim ed tlhat the art~cle was deta mattory snnce"~'t tends to, Hf not 8JctlJallly, injure Joann a's reputation aad

IlGR No. 170643, Septsmber 8, 20(]!fi,

~~_L_I_U~I~T~E~D~f_· R~··~O_T_E_C_'f_I~O~N~. __

diminish tlile esteem, respect, and goodwilll that others have, of her." Hie fl.lllrther alleged that "there is no g:ood intern~ion or justifiable motive in publlishing J'o'anna'sstatus as an adopted chUd whlich is essentianya priivate conce m and the p urchase of an expensive (piece of) intimate apparel. but to ridioule and to induce read,eors to Ilo.wElr their perception of Jea nna.' On the other hand. F actao a nd Tirol countered ''that they did not harp on Joanna's ststus as ,an adopted child as ~he same was mentioned on~y once in the arnde: that they d id not Ii ntend to i nj lire he r reputation (l,r diminish her selfesteem; that tihey referred to the pnce of the underwear not for the purpose of rna I i 9 ning her (If to make her ~QO k 'frhlolous in 1!lhe publ ~c's eyes, but to sl10w that petitioner and his family lead lavish and €'xtrav;;3,gant lives; and that this matter is, within the rea I m of puiblic interest give n that petitione r is an aspi rant to a public office while his wife is an i ncumbent official."

The Supreme Court reversed the court Of Appeals and the secretary of J l!ls~ice, and ordered the Makati city prose cuter "to 00 ntinue and proceed with th e ease for Ilibel aga i nst p:rivat,e respondents Vicente G. Tirol1andl Genlivi V. Factso." In its decision, penned by Justice' CQn:sue~o Yneres Santi.ago., the Supreme Court said:

"111"11 determining whether a statement is d€'fama,tory, th,a words used are construed in tl'ne,ir entirety and taken rill ~heir p,laiin, naturai and ordinary meaning as ~hey would naturally be understood by persons rSI8ding the rn, un h3'SS it appearsth at they 'W'ere, used and u nderstocd in another sense.

''Tested a:gainst the foregoing, we 'find that ther-e is prima facie sliowiing that paragraph 25 of the subject article is defamatory_ It lis. opprobrious, iII-n a~ured, and vexatlousas it has a bsolutel'y noth i rilg to do with petitioner's qllallifiication ;;3.S ,9 mayoralty candidate en as a publlc figlure. It appears, that private respondents' only [purpose in fuc;!Jsi~g on Jcanna's status as an adapted child and her,extravagant purchases was, to maligln her before the public and to bring her into disrepute .. lhis lis a clear and simple invasi:on of her prlv'acy .. "

lin other words, truth is not neoessarilya defense in I i bel, Note, that un der Artici,e 354 0" the Revised P,e nal Code, every de'fa mato''Y imputatl.on is presumed to be mallcious even if true, in the absence of "good! lntenticn and justifiable moflve" in publishing it as in the above case.

________________ ~ l_I_I~ __ I] __ E_D __ P_R~O~T_E~C~'T~I~O~M~~

lit may be helpfu ~ to I'Isfer to an ,eialrlier case inwihidh tihe Supreme Court elabomt8d on prec~sely what GonstftiljEeS defamatory I,anguage, InJ MVRS Pub. inc. V~ Islamic Da 'wan' Gocum;U of the, Inc. 13. it dieti ned defamatory 121 nQlJage as:

". .. _ bhe offense of injur~ng a person's characte,r,fam:e Or reputail:ibn throU'g h falsea nd malidol.! s staJte rnents, lit Is~h.a.t'WhicJh tends to inju rre repulta~ion or to .oi minish tlHie esteem, respect, goodrwi~11 or ool1!fidenoo ilr! the p,lali ntiff or tosxcite derogatory fee,1 I Ii1Igs 0 r opinions about the p,lainWl It: is the publicaJt~or1l ota nything whlich is II njuriOlJS to the good name or rep~mtion of an Qo~her 0 rtendsto b:ring hi I minto disffipti1te.. Defamatf:on is an invas~oril of rei ano nal inh~Mest since I~ I Ill/olves ~he opinioli1l which others in the cemm unity may have, or tend to have. of the pla~ntiff,

"lt m ust be, stressed that worns whioh are merely i rnsu~IDi ng are not actionable libel or sllandier per se, and mere words of general abuse" Ihow~,€ r op pmb hOUtS, I Ili~natUirediOf vexatious, wheth erMiUe n or spoken" do not constitute a M8~iS mrs n action fOr defamstion i mJ theabsenoe of ,a n aUegla,tl.on fur specl!s I da mages. Th e fact ~h8tth€ lang uagl9 is offe nsive to ~he plaintffiT does not make it actiona b le by itself."

Butwihat iflhe I~bellous alleglstions tum out to be false? Will this automaticailly lead to the convletlon of the wliter Dons Idering that there lsa I ready a presllJmptio n of malice even ilff t~e ,defamla.tolry itmputarUomJ is lJrll e? Fer the answers, we need to first exam lmieAr1ticle 354 of the Revised pie nal Cod e whlioh pro~ides th at

'''Every defamatory imputation Is presumed to be malleleus, even if i~ !be true, If no goodl intellltion and! justifiable motivefer mak!l ng it ls shown, e-')()oept in the foHlowing cases: (1)a private, commlmication madle by any person toanother in the performamlC€ of SIiW ~ega,ll, moral, Or social duty: and (2) a fair and ~rue report, made ln good fa I~hi withoull any comments or remarks, ofa ny Ju:cHc~all, ~egislative" Or other effioia I' proceed i ngs which ;l:I1"E) not: of contfid,ential netu ra, or Qf any, report, or speech delivered i nsa id p roCEH3dii ngs, or

1~ 444 PhiL Z3J)) (20()3).

~~~~~I~M~I~i~E~D~P~~~O~. T~E~C~T~i~O~N __

of any ether act performed by public officers iin the e.xemise of their 'functions."

The p resu mption of malice is what the Ilawyers r-efer to as ~malice iin law", need not be proved by the prosecutlon. I t is the job of the accused to re but til i s presu mptiorn by convl noi ng the oou rt th at his or her intenti(ln was good and that he or she h,ad a juslifia,b,le motive i nI writi rig 'the arllidle, Onoe he or she succeed s in d~slProvi nig ,aclual malice. the court wi II ,acquit him or her.

The two exoeptions to the presumption of malice mentioned above pertain to cases fill! whioh lit is the offended party who must prove malice to rna ~e his or her case.

What if the defamatory alleg'abons are false? It is instructive to refer to the I!eedingl case of Vasquez v; Cauri of Appealsf4, promulgated ~ n September 1999 thro ugh Justice Vi'oe nte Me ndoza, now rie~i red an d a Ilead ung authof~ty on cons:titutiona.l issues. I n that case, the Supreme Court ordered the acquittal of the accused whose denunciation of his .barangay chail1malll was reported in 8 newspaper, The COUIrt concluded that the accused merely engaged in the performance of a civic duty to see ill it. that IPubllic duty lis, scrupulously performed, The Court further heidi ~hat even lit the de;mmatory statement was. false, there can be 1110 liability as it lrela,tes to' official conduct, u Ii1lles$, the public official concerned proves that the statement was mad,s with aChJ'13 I malice - that is, with the ki1lowiledg'e that i~was false or with reckless disregard of whether it was false 'Of not.

Citing this doctrifl e will save many reporters who are only doing theli r .ilob" especially if the daimed defamatol)' stsJtemen'ts made against a public official ara 9ssell1~iallly hue. In fact. the Court extended last. year the ap pl'icabillity of ttl i s doctriine to "celebrities. ~15

Indeed " ~he rnu en bi:ggerqu9stio n is why shou ld tners be a. prssum ption Qf mal ice aft alii? UkENll'ise, why rnest other media executi'\j\8S wiho have nothi ng to do Wli~h ~he wlFiting of the 'offeli1d~ng articl,e be haled b) court as well? This state ,of affa i rn has only fad I ltated the filii ng of

14 314 SCRA 400 (191m).

15 Gulnggurng vs, Court of Appeals, 471 SeRA 100 (20()5),

__________________________ l_I_lg_I_'_E_. D __ P_'_R_O_T_E_C_T_I_O_M_'~~

harassment :su~t:s again st p ubl~slhers, 1e;d,iroWS, colum rII lsts, ,8 nd news reportsrs reg'itllfdless of their role or parl:icipatiion iin the offending article or news Hem. C~elarly, there is a need to rationa.ll~ze many of the provisions i iii the I,aw on libel.

Sed:iUous tibel

II n~he' d ivl,sirv'e polii~lcal olimate toda!ll', more and! more peop Ie have become em boldened to cr~ticize the Arroyo admiin istration and tiIle gOlvernm,il)liIt iitSt9~f. Citilzen criticism of govenilment is the essenc€: of 'liree speech in a democratte 5!oci:ety and is an expr;e'ss,i em of the sovereignty of the people. Peopl~e I#ower, a distli net Filipino inlilov;3,t[O 11 i has [rep I,a,cee! ubloooliess revolution" on the' voca,t) ulary of litre[rta rtan reformers ,evel)fwhereas an acceptable pmo9<Ss of mgime-cha ngs. Its success pl8111y depends on ~he exist9m1~ of a f'N~e press jeal:ous of lim 1reedom. Ironically" ~he media can conrt~ibute to tie fail ure of the' reglime change lt helped oroug ht about unless it eXieFC~~e!S as friEHEldorn respon$~ b!y"

The mad la must 00 constantlyawa Ill: of the movilng limits of its pr;ivi~eg:9's. a nd prerogativ~s., The COllii rt as an al'~y can on~y do so much witi"nout transg ressingl Uts own oonstituttoll1lai duty as tie guardian 'of tie Rul!e of Law and the prlCl,tector Qf the~ta~us quo,-

Seditious UJb'E!il is a co:mplele'ly diiffe:ren't alii iima~fro:m ~he usual d€famatory im put8Jtions WiUl w~ ich membe rs of tJhe work~ng press are more r!l1m~nar, IFor one, the comm i ssi:Oll1l off ~his crime does not proscri be in one year as in the case of crimJina'l or civil libel. For anolheJ. [it can be prosecli.l!ted deoficio in that the govEimnmen1lt can initiate prosecutf:on _ III is mot a '"lpriv::3,te" cf~me bUlla 1:1 olfe nsea,gainst pu ol[le order, The Revised Penall Code calls it "inciting to sedUton, ~ plll:lishabl~ withrollJ r to six years' ii:mpri scnment,

Amtide 142 deseri bes anum her of ways in wihiC!11 Ile crime may be committed. My person who Ii noires o~hers to commit sed ltion or rebellious lfIots or co:nspiraoies by means olspeeahes:, proclam!i3tions, or writi rngs "wlhich tend to d'ustu rb ~he lPubllic peace" or by 'wr'i~i ng., IJlI bl i:sh~ ng, or circlJllating .scu[rr~lol!J:S ~ i bels agl!l1i mist the govern ment or any off the duly con sUtuted ,!l1liJthorii~ies ~hereof, which tend to d nS1~ rb the pub lie peace m~y be' subjected to arimin a I pros-ecl!]tiQIl_ ~ Note that the person m!ay be hel d eu even ur he or she does not

Pr e ss Fr e e:dol1l .no Pnni ~pime Law



paFl!ioi pate in ~he causes he or she is espo usingl through his or her ~itin gs and speech as.

How will the courts determine whether such a crime has ln 'fact been committed? The doetrlne of ~clle,ar and present dangerll is the accepted test. The words used must be sJuch that by ~tterilng them th 9Fe ls a, d arIIger that a public uprilsing 'that, poses a clear and i mminelilt thlreat to the government may be fomented, This is stilll the pl'evailing doctrine, first enuneieted ill the 1948 case of Primioias v" FUg05016 at the he,ight of the' I-Iukbalahap uprisii ng. I n1!tere'sti I1gly enough, ~he Co urt decision 'on that case is still celleb railed today as a "lido!), for frsedom of speech and of the press.

Quoting fue American case of Whitney v. Ca'l'ifomiei7, the Court said:

~Fear ofs:e mous Ii njury can 1II0t allone justify suppression offree s psech and assembly, Men feared witches and burnse women. lit is the funcnon of speech to free men from ~he bondage' otlrrafional fears, To ju stify supp rssslon of free speech there must: be reason a bleg rou nd to '~8ar that serf:oUlS evil willi resu ~t if free spes ch is pfa.cti oad, There must be reasonable gro~nd to believe that 'the danger apprehended is imminent There must be reasonable ground to believe that the evllito be prevented is a serious one" , " " The fact tha.t speech lis, likely to resu I~ in some violence or destructio~ 0:1' property ~s not en 0 ugh to justify its suppression. There must be the probabillity ot serlous linjury to the :state. Amol1g free men, the deterrents ordinarily to be ,applied to pr,event crimes, are edueetlonand purtishrnent for violations of the law', not abrfdgemenllu of the riglhts, of free speech a nd assembly."

Reglretla b Iy, the lesson s to be I earned from Primicias v, Fuguso ha,ve appar'ently been ignored by the Arroyo administration. 1111 til fee landmark decisions promulgated during ltssummeraesskm in IBaglu i 0' ~his yealli, ~ha Supreme CO~lrt struck down as un 00 nstitUitional these natiol'llailly sig 1"11 ifi ca nt cases Ii nvolving the freedom of speech of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the govemm,ent for redress of grievance,s:

16130 Ph[!. 71

11274 us, 357 (1927).

______________ ---- L_I_M_I_T_E~-~D~IP~R~O_T_E_·~_. _T_I_O_N~~

1 , E)(e clLltiv9 0 rder [NJ'OI. 464, wh lch ba rred ,e,x9cutive offici a I s from testiJryin-g lin conglr,essional investigations without the express a pprova I of th,e Presidenpa:

2, The so-celled Calibrated Preemptive Response policy of the ex.ecu~iv,e department ilrwolving tl'le people's nigM of a,ssernbly19; and

3, Pre sidle ntia I Proclamation N,o. 1017, which had declared a

State of National rgency last f ebrua ry 20062~.

In these trailblaziing cases" the SUlpreme Court made shari: shrift: of the govennflel"lfs ill,-advised moves by reaffirming as secred Al"tiide lilli, SecUoli1 4 of ~he Con stltution, whioh mana ates tha't "no law s haU be passed aJbrid9ling th,e freedom of speech, Of expresslon, or of the press, or the right of tile people peaceably to assemble and! petillion the gOV'ElHii rnent for red ress of 9 rievanoes."

Foreign ownersh~p of .Philipplne mass media

On e of the propose Is fur Constitution a I a men d rnents us to ope n Philippine mass media to foreign QWIfi'E!irship. f<t present. the ownersh jp and management of mass media a roe reserved e ntir'e Iy for FilipinO's. Article XVIi; secnon 11 (1) otths "1987 Cons,titution 50 pWViides:

"The owners-hli p a net mana,gem,ent of mass rnsd ta shall be lim itedl to citizens of the P'h I I I P pines, or to corporatlons coo psratives '0 r alssociatiolilS, wholly-owned and managed by such citizens. The Congr,e:ss shan regu I ate or pr,o.hil bit monopolies in comma rcial mass media when the pubtlc interest so requir,es. No comblnatiens in restraint of trade or Imfair competition therein shall be allowed_"

Because of this p revision. IiIO fOfeiig n 9"1 uity i 50 invo~\I'ed in ru nning ~he natton's daily broadsheets and tabloids" its TV stations, and ~he thoijsand or SO AM and FM radio stations scatts red thro'L!gho ut the srch i pelag'o_

18 SeMle of !he Phi~~pines v, Ermita, G.R. No_ 1697n. April 20, 2006. 19 Sayan v: Ermila, G,R, No_ 16983.8, April 25, 20(16,

ro Diilvid v: Macapagal-Arroyo, G, R. No. 171396. May 3, 2(]06_

~~_l_'_~_~_T_t_D __ P_R_ .. _O_I_t_C_r_I_O_N_· ~~

In fad, under ~haIlsalffie (mnstituticma~ arl:iGh~. the, adiverl1sing ~ndustly lis s] milariy r,estriot:ed to Filii p:1 nos,withforeign.e liS II I mitedlto OWll1ii Ii1g 11:0' mom than ,2;5 percent of their capit~ I ste ok 0 n ~heth€<o:ry that th k; business is ~ rnpressed with public interest and lh erefore m ust be fe<9 ulated for "the p rote ctio.n of ()O rils'Um,e r$ amd ~he promotion ,c)f l'Ie gel1iem~ weIMr,e'.~ r!olh)r,s<over,. the participa,tlon of foreign ~nvestoliS· ifil tI€: boercs ,of dl redo liS of adiverl!ls~ ng com pani~s is limited to, 1heir pro portio nate sha,r~ i rl! the ca~~;l'ital thereo'f,. i, e.. 25 pe reent or less, and all the e,xeoutiveSi1! nd rna lfIag:@ffi mlus! be Fill i plnos21 .

It, is i'n ighly BrglL!abl~e lif the avowed p'urpose of l1estate to' ~plli)vide 1llhe policy enviiro:rulrtenitfor ~he f~ III development of IFiilipiM capa,o i Ilily and Ule emergence of oommunica.tJion structures s'llitabl~8' to U1e needs and .a.sp i MUons ,of ~he n!l1Jti,on and the balarnc:ednow of infommatibn into. out of, and aCf05:S the cQuntry, in accordance with a pol,icy that rnspeots Un.€! freedom of :Sipeecn and of Ule press'''2:l: is achievable undersuen a regime. One l1Iewslpape;[ cOliIg~omerat9 iis: not convin eed. I n its edlitomia! on Oot:obe:r t7 ,,2{)06, ~h~ PhiJipopine Daily Inquirer batted fur '''1Dhe eni~ry of fo reiglli1 iinnlesf.Qrc5 illi1!m mass rnedla t)ecaJu 00 it \i\i'oUld iFllflJl'S@ much needed c!3,pltal iil1lm ~hese organizaitLons and make possibleth.s, ,8.cquisition of' title latest equ i pment and tecihnol~ogy" Modem rechrdogy, iil1l tum. would help Philippine mass rned ia disseminate news and i ~furma~ion Imorn q,iJI fck:liya nd mom effj:cte,nrlJy. m ~~hQllI:glh the' pr'l)pose~1 am,Emdime nts would cap SlUm p~rticlpaltioli1 to a maximum of 60 per-cent, ~hesa me as in theroreign ,eO(!pioit!3!tion of Ph illippi rile fl!:a1iJurall reso urees, the' inquirer conleli1ds that t:O!reigli1 eq,i.II ity in mass medlia lHOuldl make it pOiS~j btle for medlia ,entities to. sendl more Filipino jOlUn1Ial~sts as: co 1T8<spOnd8<nls inthe key Cit~9<S or the worl:d. M says turtnerthat "i n th i,s; ag:e whe~ the world has beeeme one big globa~ med ia vUliage. the Phi i Ilipp i nie med ia, cam net alful1G bl be, paroc~iall in their cover,age."

This argument. is dOL! b!loEH;,:,dged. These is a downSiideto ita lildtha:t is the !loSSiibi Ilitythat Philippine' media mig:!H fa~1 IJI nder lrne clilltches: of Une Mun::lochls of the WQr1d, thus deprrl'!i~ng them of.EII ri'i1i~iona~ lidenltuty in favor of an aliien~dI i,cta.ted:agend,~ . line U piSide-aithoug h some

21 Article XVI,8eoolln 1,1(2). Phjlillpine COFlsNtulion. ~. Attit::le XVlI, 813m 'm, Philippine CcmstitutiiOln,

may argue Ul,8,t it is already happeningl - 'is, that Fili p:i no journellsts will have th,a oppornm ity to join the ra nks of intemational journallists 'ope ra,ti ng ~n a borderless enviroml rnent Wher'9 news d iissemijnationl travels at the "speed of UiOUgitle

Ph iii Pcpine media is rortllJ nat,€, in havi lUg nile Supreme Cou rt and 'ltie entlre Ju:d ici!e I establishmelFll as its nJatiUra~ ally. They share the same values and both are committed to, ferreUngoll.lHhe truth for ~he efFec1liive admin i,stratiorn of justice. For so 1,011g 8;S they persevere in sSJfeg uard i ngthe, ideals of' freedom and democracy, ou r people can sleep a littl'e, better - and perhaps ,even dream ota better lllfe ~n a climate of liberty ana prosperity.

L8W}W I$mael G,. Khan, Jr; is Assistant Court Adminjsimlor and ClImf Qf th~ Public Infmmaoon Offloo ,of !hili PhilippIne Suprnme Court His comments and O;I)s-ervs#ons are /lis j:h5'lSCtnaf views aM 00 no~ necress-aril'y reflec1 tOOse of thtl' SlJpreme' Court.

®,_, _L_I_M_i_T_E_D __ P_IR_IJ_, T_' _~, _C_li_~_ID_1 N_I ~_

'Teaching L,awyer.s the "lExp ress ive" L,i bert les

!!y Rauf C. Pangalongnn

~ WILL FIIRS1!' show now Filipino I~awye rs are exposed to lrne varuOI:,i$ I~ws 10 n medaffi€edom and 9XiprIlHB;sii\lI€' Iii berti'€s duri n1g thei r yealffi in law schooL I will them le:x:p~laii n whelhe r this ~ra i nl i ng shalrpen:s or l1emrosth.ei r appw~ciati:(j I'l of medl il~l freedom, I Wiil I also demOrilSwllli!e that ~he legl;tl I bainingl of potential free speech OQ unsels is shaped and cons:train ed by 'fsdors ~arger tihan ~he law :schoolsa nd whry th~s c81111s for broadera dvoeacles that f~ndamenta lily redefine the 1101 e of lawyem in democratic govennanos.

Preliminary nQ:tes

A" Iwm use the broad term ~e.xprle'ssive lil)@fli:es" to refer to tne who~a rnng:e of consli~!LJtiona! preteetion f'Or free ex press lo iii, wheth e r it Ii S "pure speech~ ('by news WGiitefs, II ~tera ry wnite 'S, 'Ii 1 m rna ke rs. Of bloggers) or "speedh !pi LIS non-speech! e'iem snits ~ Uke protest raUiies {wh~ch cause noise and traffic) 'Or lbWboarx;l ads (which pose aes~hetic andl safety "nutsaaces"), ~ wm alst) 1lI se fie Anlerican expression ~ first Amendmel1lt law" to refer to, th iSI just ror I i.tsra ry fi!i8Xibillily.

lhelrs are varyi ng sta ndatrds ror different kinds off speech ,8 rid til e focus of this study is mainly med la freedern-e-th at is to say, e)(pre:ss~on through 0 rgani:z,a~i<cma'l forrns such as rIIewspa pers or broadcast netwo rIks, wh ere i ~ the seeech Ii s medlated bya hierarchy capatli'sl off elilfortC~ngl e~hilca I sta ndard sa nd BccQuntabiliity. nat h ~era rchy is all SOl 81 cre8,tu If€: off the rna rket andllhe 'Olrganiz.:ati OIIfllS~ oj, ed, to lieg IlIh:di'orrll as a bus'i ness-

__________________________ ~L~I~M~-~IT~E_ID __ P_R~'O~l~E~C~l~I~D~N __ ~

B .. The Ila,w subjects I mention bellow are largely uniformly tauglht across differ'ent Ilaw schocls, thoUlQlh there might be same slight d iffe·re nces in labels: "Poliiti cal Law" is archaic, ~he me re m 0 de m Utile being ~Constitliltional Law." 'rnat is why It is necessary to distJiii1lguiish Ccnstltutional Law II (or the old "Political Law") from ConstitlJuionl.a I Law III (or Co nstitutional Law p roper, the ecru rse on th e Bill of Riig.hts). This study is the refore presented! as an analysis and prescription for Philippine leglal education in generalL

C. The reason for the uniformity in course offerings is the Supr'e me Cou rrs de facto' regu~ato ry power throu 9 i'n th e bar e·x.a m i mati Or1lS, notwi'l:hs.ta ndi ng th e· proposed Legal Ed u caflon Board (see below), The bar exams are administered once a year, over four SUndays af September. It is dividedllnto eight subjects. Signnicla,rrtlly, fn~n'1!dom of ,e.;:.q;m;!s.sion is ta.lJ·gi'nt in Pelitlesl Law, Criminal Law, Civil Law, Com me rci a.1I Law, and Remedial law ..


1. The law of free express ion is ta uQlht in Sle·parate· courses i n lalws(;hoD~.

HIe first and threshold fact lis that there is no one, singlle subject in which First Amendment law is taught Rather, instruction is spread over diftere·n'it courses: Political law proper, Consti~utioPial, Criminal Law, Commercial law. and Hemedlial Law.

lhis means that instruction is seg menteda ndth us i rIIefficient. That much is true. but tha,t much is also pedag'ogically difficult to avoidAn.e r a II, these regulations be 1'0 ng to d ifferei1lt areas of law and are properly larw ln those subjects and alt s:pedflc~l''l:s. in I!aw school.

Tfle fe-liil problem, however, is rflat each subject will contain its own disciplinai bfa's, aggr:a vared by the te'fidency o.f .lawyers to be "one-dimensJontil men" and singfe-issue lobbyists. Thus when :sRujoyin 9 nne Bill of Rights ij n Go nstltution.all Law. he or she willi read the free speech Qluarantee as a. dyed-iln-the.IINool II i bene rtan, Wh 8 n studying libell and defamation in Criminal Law, he or she will assume a prosecutorl a I mli nd-set and read the Revised P·e rIIal Code as a

Press Freed am 31lld P bi I ip pille L!I\\I

paaee-and-crder advQca,te (at worst) or mectnanicallyfit a ease i:Ii1IID the' lm8ltriX. of "'elem,ents of the cr~me~ (at. best).

8ii nee lheseMQ COlli rses are itakenJ hl ile S~ me semester, ~he law student becomes a ve~itable schizo~d, Thomas Jefferso n from 8- 1 o a.m, , Ra ul GOl11Za,~ez 1irom '1 O~12 _ That he '00 n oomfo:rtaiYly eat lunch soon atfter means that ~e is stso con cI,ltlonea roaccepl ~M sin af "cpportuntst legal reasoning," and to seE! his mi.ssf.on as a lawyer as Imerely til at of an ,effioient mEflr.oenary,who cans!lJllt his le9,a~ argum,ents to the biases of his '00 ul"se and wo:rSB, the 'biases of his prufessor.llhis, way" le9a~ edu:ca'liona,r,:1iLlBlly' E):)!,;9 Its: a m,o:ral ina ifiference to aotual euteemes. whlile exalting ~he eternal fiflless~ ng of Ilegall tedhniqilll@,the' ~peooction of means, ,oonfUsion of ~l'oals-~

(a) CONSTlITIJ110NlAl LAW 1 (or PoHitieal La,w proper) (34 c~edi1tS. typioalliy fa llIgM in ~he 1 ~ 'lfe'in as 8 required 00 LlIrS€::)., The fu nda mental guar:a,nte,es fo rfreecio,m ow speech a nd oftle press are taken up in this ~ ~ year (lOIJJ rse on ~he Cons~1tiIJti mil.

Con lawl d e,a lis with the sirljctmeof govem mentano how ~he"great powers of govemment" ar,e, diivlld,ed into separate lbranchill's thiaJt check one another: COIiI'Q ress, makes IhSltl;'ll'S" the IPre'si:d ent €Xiecutes th em, and U1e: courts ,d €'temmi newinetulIr Congress or the President have crossed oons~itutioril al Ibound'aJi eSL 1Ihe theory is that a Ittl Q<~g h ~he IBili of Riglhts, taken up UII,e next. semelste,r in Conlaw2, coata i IiIS protected nberl:lies, ~hese liberties are meani ng~ess without ~hii.s govemmi91i1ta.ll s~ruoturlll:. lin the IF ederall ist. Paper:s ~hat '9 III ~ded the d rati ng of Whe IJS ConsU~LlIDkm,lhis slrllctur€was called "A Maohiirl,e that Goes of IIt,se~f."

~n its most I~te ral se nse, Co'n law1 doesn't perta,~nspeiQjf!cal'ly to free expression, whlicll1 is mahlll y reservedl for GonLaw .2 on ~he B ilil o~ Rig'hts. However, ConLa,w 1 covers tme ~re's~~~e'!1It's comfil"lia.IiH:ier-in~chief POWE!Ir's and'the co:rrespolild~liIg checks by Congress ~8,.,g., auto:matic review of a prodlama~io:n of martJlall llaw} and tIMe: courts (, ha:bea's corp,us),

Note that S'O me of the I!ea,(j iin 9 free ,exp resslon eases are actuailly sitlllated in ConLaJvli'1, liln.cluidlingl David v. deale withl th:e ra iol on ~e Daily Tribune'. ~ne 1~11i UliIPpine INa~io nail Police (~NP)' '9 i)I UO ellines o 111 the, m90cHa, anol~he ~hreartel1! ec!

Prns hndom ucl Phnil~pine Law

____________________________ ~_I_M __ I_T_E_rn __ p_R __ IO_T_t_C_T_I_ID_·_'N~~

talile;Q,v,er of' broadcast n€'Morks under ~he ~elmergency powers~ p roVii slon for econo m~c crises; KBP v. Comelec and Osme:na v. Come/ee whiclh deal w~th ~he regulatijo n of paid nl poUUcal ads; a nd ABS~CBN v. Comerec on ex it pons. wI! ic!h pertsJlfl S to suffrage.

MO:Feover, iissues like EX!E!OIiJUvE! 'Orde:r 4!64, or Plres!ident Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's ban on exeoo~iv,e offi cials tes~ifying before tllle Senate" wh icll 'tllle S ulPweme C.OIJJl rt struck d'own in Senate v. Ermita, do impinge on the capaciity of ~he rneo ia to iinv€:stigate .. These are part of Go'~ law11, b~cause they perta ln to the sepa ration of powers doctrine.

(b), ,OONSTIilTUTIONAl, LAW 2 ~or t1iH3' Bill~ of Rights} (34 cr€diiits" typi:cally taught ~n the 2fi>i1 year as a n:::qluiredi ecurse). The f'll.mdamenltaJ guarante'es for freedom of speech a nd 'of the p:ress aretaken up in this 1 &! year course on ttl e Consbltllti O'rIi.

Whe,rn onespes ks off ins~ructio n in the Ilaw OIf free expression, the eore o,f th at 19iw is taught in Con La,w2. Amno u9 h the BU II of R~glhtsd'e'a lis wi~h j ~st 0 lilt! pertlen oftihe Consti"h,!ilion----nam.e~y, tne ~~niventOrY'" of mig nt$ l1at calls for special prote cnon I ike $~eech. worship., ~iberty (as aglainst i3lrrests wuth:ou:t W8rrrants), privacy (as against searc!hes wilttilout warraliltsand o~her state i nt~us;i o,ms), freedom of move ment, totr8!l,I'el, the seourity of one's home---an e nui re course is bu ilt arou no lit. Co n Law2 embocHes a b~iU~in lideo!logicaJ bias, both academic and poliiUcal" whuchl exalts tl1 e em of Riglhfu3_

Free expression com p rises roughly 15 to, 20 percent: olthe e:nij re course. The freedom of speecih portion Ibeg~ rJS, with fhe foundational t:eX.t ,of ttils, 'fr,s·s spes ch guar~mt9€ C' No law shaHI be passed abriid 9 ~ngllhefreedom ofspeech, ef the press and of ,exp ressl OrJI .... "), lit proceeds with ~he d iff.e rent Idn d s of p:rotec,ted speech and IiJ I'1lPm~:eDted speedh. lit, tihen provides ~he dirffe'rnnt CO:nS~itlll'lioliial tests.......e'.g., the dangerous tendency rest. the elea r a nd press ~t dang er lest ,e1C. It appllh;!'sthose '~sts to dififer,e,rnt lkililds of speech; obscenlity, de'famatory speech, 'flghitingsp sech, hatesp €;9ch, and symbolic speech. In other parts ,orf the course, scrnealtention may be give'J1i to the kl nds of pf(lteclJorT! for poli~i ca.~ speechl, re I ugiOus speech,

~ [L_I_U[_~_T_[_D_I _P_R_._O_T_[E_C_T_I_O_N_. __

The re are also corollary rightslhat faciilitat:elhe ~ig ht to free expressien+e .. g." the "riight of the pee pile to in¥om'l'ation 0 n matte rs 'Of pu bilk; oo,nH)e m", w~ lch £!IU8Ja ntees "access to official r,e 00 rds, a nd to dooumen:ls, an d &:N9 pers perta,iningl to ,off]lcial acts, transf:u:;,tions., or ,d,ecusions. ~ Agli3,in, this mig M, strictly speakingl, lis not IPfU1 of thiefr,se Sp®El ctiJ glu ara ntee, but makes til at '9 ua rantee more meani ng1iuL

and ecmrnerelel speech. it 8'1510 examines ~speecih p I!u s" whlich takes ii nw acoou rrt th e III o n-speech elements in ~he ~reed om of assemb~y; the no n-speeeh impact of intrli.l!swe mea ia Iii ilIIe rad io and1V; the non-speech medliulTrlHij.p e'cufic problems ari:sifllf;i from time I ntemet

Finally, the lfigM to privacy~bd~ 11m tts most traditional form as th e' priivacy of cerrespcnde nee a nd in its most expansive form as the ~rtglht tD be letaliofil et (Brsnlde,i s, d'issenti ng, 0 I ms:tead v. IJ n ited States )-is discussed both under ConstiLaw2:su'l d as &lIe rt of thle Civil Code 'Of the Phli I ippines, wh loh wou ~dawa ru da mages tor th,e violatlo r! of p.rivacy" 5i nee ~h~s be'lo"g5 to, tne ch a ~)ter Q n "19 um a rII Rela~!iQ ns" (If the Oivi! >Code, it Is t:ak.en IJiP eiths'r under Persons Olma Family RelatlonJs (a reqllJlilr,sd ~ ~1 y,s,ar ceurse) or in Torts and! Damages (a required .2m:1 year ()OIH'&S).

(c) CRIIMIINAL LAW :2 (3-4 oredits) {1Bt yr., required QO~!I'se)" Criminal law consists of 1!WQ separateeeurses, C rii mLaw1 de,alswitn the bas~c prindp:le's ·of criminalll,aw (e.g.,a.ggravating and m irtigating circum stan css, or the a:Uem pteda ndfrl!Jstra'l.ed stages of cilimes) ~hat a pp~y~o alii th.e crimes.. On the other hand, CrimLaw 2 deals with slpeciific offsrllses ~e'.g., murder; no micl de, parrl cide, ilnt:a rIIticide, etc.) a nd iitem ilzs's each '''elementm for sach crume" IR,eievanf to our concerns, the law ow I'ibel and {j efa mati on flstaug'ht in CrirI1L~iW2.

The law of defamation is taught in Climil.aw2., h1lter,eiS~lngly, the New York' Times v. Sullivan test is not usua'lly taken ~ n Crim law2, but rathe r in ConLaw2. ~n c~her wor,ds, U~,e Cioncern1! of Ciril'll1lLaw2 iis to baa ble to tell when the· ori me of [I i bel has been 'oomrniiHed. On title other h and, the concern of GonLaw2 is to say what special defenses may bel nvak.ed w~en there lsa pubUc interesti n the s peech,



There is therefore a dangler of .~ disconnect between tha fwo. 0111 the· side of ConLaw2, ~he d,octrine is that all speech is protected (and therefore covered by the Bill of Rights} but loses protection once it is defamatory. The New York Times (NYJ) test merely raises the bar before ~hat m!antle of protection is lost. The NVHesf says that defamatory speech, aga~ nst pu b~ lc officers re mains pro,tected as lorng as thete is no "actual malice." Converse·ly, Cr~mLa'W2 focuses maiinly on the prosecutlon of offenses and m8re~y assumes that the speech, be·ing defamatory, is already outside oonstitutional protection ..

Sed i~i~o us speech i,s mu:g M in Cri mlaJw2, and the same d iSDO nneet pelrsists, th is time bew.reen the ~cI!ear and prese I'It dang er" test and unprotected seditious speech. Justice Viioente Mendoza, the Court's resident eonstltunonallst during his tenure, verbalized this concern hi! a Supreme Court decision applyi~g the "clear and present danger'" test

l[T]ilIe clear-end-cressnt danger test is not, howiW,er, a sovereign remedy for alii free speech problems .. As has been pointed ,0 ut b,y a thQug htFul student of consnnruonal I aw, it was origina'lly fonnu/afed for th>e criminal la wand only later epproprieted for free speech cases .. For the criminal taw is necessarily concerned with the line at which innocent prGparatton ends and guilty conspiracy or attempt begins .. erearty, it is inapproprialea'$ Q test for determirdng t:he constitutional validity of 'aw wh ich ,_. [isJll1ot concerned Wilbh the content of polutiical ads but only wirth thalr inddents. To apply ~he dlear-and-present danger test to, such reglulatory measures wo uld be- like uSing a sledgehammer to drive a nail when a reg 1J,Iar ham mer is a II th at is need ed. (Osmena' v. Come/ec, in relation to Schenck v. United Stales)

The clear and presenit danger-test was devised forcl'iiminal proseeunon of sedilDlous speech, and title LIS Supreme Court easentiallysaid that the sed ltlous speech is pr,oil:ect:ed until the danger is 50 imm i nent that. fu rth er speech will not suffice to avert the peril, ".8 qusstl 0 n of proximity and degr€e.~

(c) COMMERCIAL LAW,. specifically IN1ELLIECTl!JAl PROPERTY LAW (2 .. 3 credl~s) (2~d or Ihi'ghe~ yr-s., either an elecniv,e ,or .8 reculred course)

Preu Freed urn a lid Phnil~plme Law

Co mmercial Jaw is, a broad subject coveringl, amo'!IlQ others" the Irlte~h;,ctUial Property Code (RA 8.29'3) and the E-Commerce Law (RA ,8792). A'9,ain, the disconnect persists. nile discilplinal bias of these' courses is to see, say, the protection of alrtis,tiic productsor the regllilation of ~he 1110'1# of electronic data malinly StS business tra nsaonens. Yet these com merelsl ,a.mivme's h!l1ive ,expressive aspects ~hat be l1efiit from special ccnsfituf ona I protection.

Fortunately, Intellec~ual Property andInternet Law (see' below} are tau 9 hi as seperate e I active courses and! Illb;),Uecbual Pro,perty is a "car subject" and therefore effective~y a ma,l1Id.ato,ry course.

Also, note thialt in David v. Arroyo, the SlIpreme Court rejected th e' Pres ide nt's exercise of the power to talke over broad cast facilii'Ues under the separate "economic emer.g.ency" clause. At the same time, other government 6,9,enciies asserte,a a se,parate power to r,e,v(l,ke the' franchise, of ~hese broadcasters, under a built-in clause 'gMng the Preslident extensive powers over the fran chise grnnrtees.1h I s law is ta,ker! u po h3'SS under Commercial law, and more under ConLa,w1.

(d) IIINTERNET ANID SOCllEfY (2-3 credits) (2nd or higher }Irs., usuallyasa PI 'e,1 eetive].

The p ulb~ iic re,g'lJ iation of new oommunicath"e' tech mol a 9 ~es in the Phililippines began with the E=Commera= Law. RA 8792, which was rushed by the Congress aliter th,e' '''I LO\l"E! you~ virus that oriqinated iln Msmila caused damage worldwide-and we COLi lid n't extrad ite' ~he culprit: bseau sa the "dou b I e, or! mil nail i~y~ p ri ncilplle req 1.I ir'ed tha;t the act. be puolsheble under the laws of both ~he req u es'ling and the req l!Jested states.

There' are regulat.ory lsaues rela,tingl to new tecl1noloQlies. HIe, Movie and Te I evisio n Review alrld Classif1ication ,13 oa rd had hi~herto exe rei-sed regulatory powell's of much of ~he medii II m (P D 1986,5 October 11985). Newer reg I.IIl'ations i'nave evolved to oov.e'i' cable nJ (EO 205). opticall media (RA 9239). and advertiising in genera,i ( RA 7394 ) .. Genera Illy, these issues are taken up in Admin~stratilve Law (3 unlts, a requ ired 2md year course). which lis a small course under the umbr911a of lPolitioca.ll Law..

~ __ ~l~I=lg~l~l~IE~D~. ~P~R~. ~O~T~E~C~T~I~O~. H~ _

________________________ ~L~I~U~~IT~E~-~D'~P~R~O~T~IE~c-T-I_n_N __ ~

(e) REMEDIAL LAW, specificailly Evi:denoe (3-4 units) (2M or higher yrrs, as a required course)

The S ~ prerne Court has prom IlJ lig ated the ru las of proced ure, wl'n ich iin cludle tile law of evidence.. Am ol'ilg the stalldn ngl dodli nes relevsnt t10 freespeech are; the rules 0 n P mlvlilege (on what matters a person may relJse to disCi ose );the rul es on co ntempt (under wihic~ we ~nclude the sub judice rule): and t~e rules on judicial notice and presumptions. Lately, the Court has, promulgated the Rules on lEI ectron lc Evidence.

2. IPhilliPIPine leglal education Is shaped by the' SUlprelll1e Court through the Bar IExaminations. IRefunn effo:rts are ;Rl pededl by the hegeRillony of tJhre b~r exams, th o'Ugh :S uch centraUz-ed C' a Iso ease· ·the pr-ospects ,af IliRl ited, foc'Ulsed reforms pertai n~n 9 to expro8sslve 'freedoli1l1s and media law.

Apart fr-om the Uni'oJerni1ty of ~he P~li I ~pp i nas Go II ege of Law~, all ,othef IP'lhlilliip,pine law schools. (som,e·1'OO such law schools exiis.t) are regullated by the Commission on Higher Edu!r;ation (CHED). Theiss law schoo~s have resisted CHEID. as a result of this entrenched chauvin ism of the ~prnffissi:oiilal~ over the ~academic~ side rat legal education (,e.g .. , "Why should lawyers be governed by nonla,wyers?'l

The iburtlaucra1iJic result is t~e Legal Edu ca.~lon Boarl:!. created by Gongr,elSS, through RepubHc Act No,. 71662, the Lega! Ed ucsuon Rerorm Act of' 1919'3.. However, the Supreme Court has not been roo keen about the Board. The Court in fact registered its obJedions in a formal re,solution.

Almost eight years after IRepubHic Act No. 7662 was appro,ved intra law on Decemb-er 23., 1993, people concerned about the Quality of lega,~ education Ii n 'tiil is COUIiI~fY ~ave yell to see its imp~ementa!tion.. Organizatiions like the lP'hill j ppine Association ot ILaw Sdhooisa nd the Phllipp,j ne Assoclaton of Law Pro,fessors h i nlitiaredi moves towards the cOn"ls.m!Ution of t~e Legal Education Board Republlic Aot. No.. 7'662 creat.ed. However, ~he road to the law's implementa,tion appears to have been paved with stumbling blOCKS inherent in the Ilaw itself.

~ __ ~L~II~M~I~r~~~D~p~R~·~o~r~E~C~T~I~O~. M~ _

The law was enacted primarily to give flesh to the declared State policy to raise the standards of Ilegal education, And yet, a n~lading of ~he law would reveal certaln provisions ~hat go beyond the educatjbn of aspiring fa·lWYers and into the education of persons duly licensed to pl"glctioe rhl8·/a'W professJem. These provisio ns do not on Iy expan d ~he purpose ()f the Ilelw-thesea 100 impinge on mettsrs that miighl render their i mplementatiol1 constitution ally infirm. (Supreme Court, B.M. No, 979-8, 4 September 20M, In Re: Lega'/Educ.atlon) (emphasis suppllied)

The coun found those "infirmities" in otherwise innocuous clauses where the law ret:ers to "contnm,lIing legal ecuceson" (Section 2) and the promotion of ~awareriless among [lawyers] of the needs of th e poor, deprived and opp ress9-d~ {Sec-tion 3}. The Court t~ IJS cOl1al uded th at Gonglress had fjherebyoverstepped ~t:s po,wet ol "I egal educatlo n" and encroached into the S upreme Court's constituti onal power over the i'~egal prnfessioiil."

Vliewed in the iliglht of Section 5, paragMph 5 of Artich9' Villi of the Constitution that vests the Supreme Court with powers over ·~he I ntegratedl Bar 'o·f the Philippines, said portion of Section 2 of Republlic Act No. 7662: niS'ks being declem!ld constitutiona.llly inf rm (id)

Since the law ass igned to the Court and the J ud lela la nd Bar Cou neil (J 8.G} the power to no minaitel the members ot thle, Leg1al Ed ucation Boa rd, the Court siim plly did not no minal€! any Board members. .A y,ear ago the Jl8 C received nom i nees for the Leg,al Edu.catio n Board, but the IBoard has not been constituted as of todsy.

On th,s other hand, the most powerful force ·that shapes leg.all educaaon in the Phillippi Illes iis the bar examinations, Under th,e ConstituUon, the Supreme Court has the exclusive power over "admission into the practice of law' (Constarticle VIlli §5.5), and the key i nstru ment for th at is the bar exam. Given the almost total p:r-eemin el nee of t~e bar exam as the ull~i mate test of exceilenoofor I~aw sehoolsa tid law stud snts, allilaw schools d e's.i'9 n their eurricu I u m and course offelringiS to match the su bjects in the bar exams.

Accordin.g Iy, ijf a law is cove,redl by the bat exams, it wm be talJ'ght in law SChools, even if it is officially a mere electirv,e. Conrv·ersely, if a law is excluded fr-om the bar exams, it will not be ta.ught in law

______________ L_I'_M_I T~E _O_P_R_Il_. T---=--E -,,-C...:...T_I_O_rl_@

schools (e.g .• RA No. (Dig, the Campus Journajlsrn Act of 11991, Of RA No. 8371), the Chilldren's TeleviEiiiion Act of 199;7).

The llst of the statuites cove·red under each ba r su bject is made by the Supreme Court through the Chairman of the IBar Examination Committee. The Chairman is always a member of the Court, and one s uch Justice is appointed to.S€ rv8 each y,ear. For the purpose of our advocacy. therefore, one avenue is to OQ nvince the ell ief Justice and the yea.r's designated Cha,irmanto· progressively include one or two statutes that perta i 11 to expressive Uiberti es, OrilGe 1Dhat statute is part of the covaraqe of the bar exams, lit wi~1 be taught in 'aw school classrooms as part of the Iilew "Bibre",.so to speak. (Admirtl:edly, the coverage can be altered by new gods appointed each year, but glivelil bureaucratic realiitiles, once in, ~t stays in. He who wants to change it beUer giveSiome g.ood, saM explanafion for the change! J

3. .f the problem i.s the <'disconnect' in the teaching of Filf'~t .Amendment law, the soluti,on is ratherslmp,le .. ll1Ivent it new ands81parate coulI'Se on 'f'reedom of express i'on.

In refo:rming legal education in tlile Philippines, the startingl point is ~he ba r exams. Since Fi rsl Am endrnent Ilaw is scatt,e red over disparat·e subjects, each with its own disclpllnel bias, the practical solutlon is to bfiing these· laws into one' distinct course offe'ring on Freedom of Expression. Th at COIlj rse wm then teach the I aw of rebeillion andsedifion, and in the next breath discuss tlile ~clear and present danger'" test It will discuss the President's commanderiril-chief powers, me courts; Ipower of judiciaJl1 review over these' powers. and time rand On tine Tribune iSSU8.1fiIC>e of PN PfNaUon all Telacornmunlcations CommisSion guidelines for broadcasters ..

lt wlin also explore the I nts met both as new techno,logy, new commercial forms, and new challl,enges to freedom of expression. For iinstance, the' Crimina I Law requ lrernent ot "pub~icatiorl" ot a defamatory im putatiion was desigm~d for tradition a I fo rrns, na mely, printed or broadcast media, for which structures of discipline and ClccoulltabiUty have evolved over the y~ars. Email and b.loggling should ea:8~iy meet the "publicalti:Orb" requ irement, yet they are unCOlllstrained by these traditions and are often beyond the reach of the usual mechanisms for ethics and accountabllity.

PrBU Fuedll m an d P Iii I~~ ~rne Ln\l

~~_t_i_U_~_T_E_O __ P_'R_'O_'T_E_C __ T_iO_._M ----------------

Ffnally" it can ex.rplor,e the Ilarg:er poHcy issues: abol!Jt how to pll'Otect prhtacy whiil:e ,enhanc~ng ,democratic Sjpace:. Trad~~lona~ law reachill'nQ is gea wedl towardl th e' l'it~9'ator; whQa ppe:am, pest hoc aier 'the dispute has snsen and 'wlhosa r,ol~e so~eliV is to resolvethia,t d ~SPl!t:e. That ITa~ l"Iing is suite.d fo:r CrimJif'la~ law, and 'Will serve we'lll me tmecHa advocates who, wlilill nandlle I ~bell ands,edition cases,

At the same '~fme. we fileed to pr,oolUC8 lega~ prolfessionals who \Mi'l II h9~1 P 'Oongr'9ss drat the laws and the Execl.I!tiiv·,€ d raft the ~ mplementingl ru I~es and ~he execUJtuve orders, wh~le cam paigning as advocates for legislative reform. For thti6 purpose, t~e ~Cttlrati\!'8~ approach of the litigator mllls~ yh1!il~d to ~e "stnlctmaJi" impullses ,of' ~he reformer. (Ta~' for ,eocample the tiS Fedeml CommunicatioPiis Comm~ssiolili. lt hals jurisdiction oVier radio,television, wire. sa1e'lllite and cable, and enforces 1ihefedeml 18MI' bs Ii'! on as~nglle business i nrer€'s;t 11rom holding i rnterests ~n more ~han two, med iia .. )

Fina'llly, this course mnst also expooe ~he local ba r to more advanced media p:ractioos abroa~l They need to hear ,oHne ~ri:gh1l of trep!liY". fur instanoe, o:ronhe deQriminallizatio'l"l of Iii bel in other jlll!r1scliCUOri!is" They need to hear ,of I a I"Iguage ~hat hasevo1ved to a¥oid (lti!Sorimina,tlotn on 1ihe bas!s of g:ender,seXlual orientation. phtysucall diisability.~ re~ig~on, or raoo.

A. group' like the Center for MediaJ ,jFreed~omalild Re'sponsibility (CMF R) can foster Ilis course by ch;!v,e!loipingl a cour&eoutll ne" course roe;adingis and me,teMals, andl iclel1ltifyhlQ good locai teachers to hla nelle Ule 'OOllJtrse" ~hefiei Is a ~h illippj ne AssociaUon of !law' $choo~s,. QOrllS~;stl ng of alii Ilaw deans." and! through U'lem. the eM FA: can askthlat. such an electiivi€ be: ta.ught.

TIlle diffi:o~'lty vs to 'explain wny offer an e~e.ctii\fe tif~it won't bea,s~lk.ed in the bar esa !In , ~ Ad miMe~Jiy. tJhere win be overll alPS withl ~he ~rad iitronal law courses, and much of U"le new course, wi III 8n1tail a r,9vi:€w off old stuifl'. BnJlt there is a ''value addsd" m m:9Ire:ly dealing with eld doc1!t'ines: in ons (lonsolidated course, where the irn6)'r-relationshiips are ~Sl.l!liifaooo.~

Fina'lly, whe,~her in ~he trad iti'Oinal Ita,w CUtrliculuffiI or inths' propoSied sepa,mte course, there slhollilid !be no. expectation theteach and ,every ne,w statnJIM pertailil~ng to media law wm be: taken up. IF~r:st

____________ ~_.;L;;_I;_;I M;;;_::._II ~ir ~E ~1iI___:_P....:.II:._O:_. ·.:..._T.::...~ _:_C_:_T_:_I _:_O....:.N~@

of aU, aJt some ,point, teaching ~e miinutia:e off media ~aw ts flr1;!Hely ~infarmationaV' (e.g" fit mils th.e stUd'8li1tthat sucha ~aw eXis,ts,i3Ind what that Ilaw says). without.a ny anally'llic ~valu€ added'" (ili.lg., itteMhes tl1lestudent abou~ a new w~ o~ I.ookingl at old issu es), For instance, a new billboard! law may' f,egulate lne size, I'ocatiio:n OF ·e~gineeringl of bUll boards I' but li.1 wo:n't e'xpia~11l why ~eulnuisal"loer doctrine ~ ~e ol~dest and. mos~ trad litl 0 nal gro~ ndfor the [public .regulation of prlivate prope.nty ~ gains strength given tll:e new teohnologlY that produces photoglraplt'ns inglig 81 ntic proportions,

S~Hl]t1d, info:mn:aijonalle-adhi!1g mere~ fosters the old law sdhooll roUit~liIe of memo:rizingl. n risks infol'ill'lalHorl oll/erloali, whlile yUelciingl no benefit forthe ~;aw stud!(im~ and future free speech advocate.

Finailly, it. ~llld.efeatthe pUlrpooe o·faseparalte. course 1haJtai ms to roster a cohererlit.a nd en 00 mpassingl v~ew o·fjif.l~edQm o~ €\'I(ipre:ssi'O n. Toach~eve this aim, it: ~s Ii mportall1t. tilhat tie course trallll$cendl the usual bar exam-orlented. blaok...andl-wh~te, nutsandi~boltsalPproach to law,i3I rid aspire '~owiil.rn more PQ~icy'-Oriernted studli€<sebou~ the rolle, iO~ im99xp resslen in ;31 robu sf and' vibrant

l.aKi}"tl' Raul C. Pimgat!3l'lg<li'i is a :ta~JlrofesSOf al tfie Ufliver&fly G! fhe f'_irl~s Co1lege of LaLlI'' l:te. 'Was dean from 199.9 to.2l:i'!lJ'& fi:fe Itl ,elso 8 oOOimlllsi tot the Plililipflloo I)a~y IIWlq;ulrer.

@_-=-~ _:_I .:::.M....::,I,,;,T,.:E..:D;,...._;P...,;R;;_,;;..O ..;_T_::.IE_:G_:T_:r_:O:._:tl:.:.__ _

Understanding the Culture of Impu!ni'ty

By luis V. TeodorG

FOR MANY MIll: D IA advccacy and ]o~ rnalssts' f;J rQU ps wo~ldwide., the· "culture 0<1 lm punity"expllainsWhy journalists are sUfveilllled, threatened, b~a~n! j,ailed,. tortured, ana ki~lled, lrrsorne cases despite I'aws prate dive of press freedom.

Dd ned priim.8lrily as the way some societies lignof-e, permit or even encoi.J rage varioUitS forms of violenoe against jou rna I ists as we~lla:s their harassment a nd intimidation, sind aillow these to go un p uniShed, the cultur"El of Ii mpu I'll ily has become a com mon ohenomenon in m·~my countries in the· post €In 1 era. As II as been widely observed, for exam p.le by the int'€ rnsno nal Three 9'J<pression watchdog group Ilnklmational Fr,eedom of IExpressi·on 'eXohangle, amo n9 the (;.0 Fls9q uences of the eventset September 111, 20tH was ~he reversal or an earl i:e r tr,a nd, as ~he wo~d m oived into the 2181 cenlhtry, toward s the Iibera~·izatiQn 'O'f free expression. 1

The "CLJ~~lJr.e of i mpun frly" is today a I most exdl uslvely used to expla i n the· conlin ~ i nlg asaasslnanon of jeurnel istls in the Ph Ii I ippines. It is based on a pa radlox: its power is rooted in the weakness of the lPt'ni I i ppine j us~ice system. n is weakn€'ss is ~h9 prod uct of tt'ne synergy a~ a r:J umber of political., econorn lc, and social factors. But equa~ly evid'ent is the feeble will on th,s part: of~he pol~~ical aulhorfrly to protect citi:.mns i nduding journalists.. In the cornm unities journalists

1 Wh:ite, Aidan. "Has Fr:oodom of lE~p~$$101l Suffered a Selback World"w!'l7'lrrterl'\latiiDnal r~d!)mof Expressron E:,<ch;rnge Meeting. Dakar, Sel:il~al: 2003_

cl,aim to serve, the apathy of rnucn of the oitlzenry is as plain. It is an apathy so pronounced it vaJidates the view that. the press' own flaws have led to 'Wiidespread skepticism over iits claim that it is an I nva I uable public asset

Press fr~dom and medliaadvocacy groups like the Center for Media Freedom aad Responsibility (CMFR), ,and Jio'urn.allists' ofigarlizati:ons like Une Natiolilal U noon of Jlourna~lists of tie Philiippin as (N UJ 1='), have found thatwhile ~he synergy oUhese factors is what dlJiives the Cl!j~tu re of impunilty, the key reason for the oontinuiing l<jllliing of journalists is still the near-zero arrest, tri,al, aad convcdon of their Idiliers.

These killings have ste<:l!!:ilily eroded the Philippine press' reputahon for freedom. Once regarded as the Coulfltry with "the freest: press in Asia," the Ph i Ilipp i nes has been d ascribed by the press freedomwatch gmlUp IReporters Sans Frontieres r(RSF) ,a;$, "the second most dl~l!lger~us place ~rn the worlid" in wnllch to practloe j'oumansm, and by ttl,e N,ew Yo:rk-based CQmmiUee te Protect: Journalists as "the most murderous place in ~he WOI'IIdm for journalists."

The a.l1nuall RSF Woo,rld Press Freedom Iindex has also steadily downglraded the countrts press freedom standing. The 2006 IRSIF Index ranks the coumry 142M among' some 200 countries, three' places below its ran k,i ng in 20050 (1391h). The Philippines ran ked 89!h in 2001" but was 11811n in .2003 and 1111il tn 200'4_3

Th iis altered repndatlon lis based on the unabated killing of journalists, ,all~houg h ,. fa r .2006" ~he rncreasin 9 use of the I ibel law to hsraes jou rnalists was also a facto r, (Libel is a cri minall offense in the Pihilippine<s and hug:e amounts in damages have been awa.rded, in adldi,tion to lengthy prison sentences handed down; by judges in recent caees.) Siinoo 1986, when the fllstituti'ons of liberal democracy ilncludingl a free' press we,re restored, 62 journalists have been kililed I n the performance of their public duty, 311 of them fro rn 2001 to the presant4

2 "!\.sia still pla.Queoci by the old,dem(Kns oJ authoritarianism," May :3. 20106, http://WlWl_f$.f. Qrg'rubrdq;ue.php37jdl_rull~ique=57ti

3 'iNorth Korea" Turi:m€misk:m, Erilrea lhe, worst \liiaJatoliS of press f1ieeclom: Octooor 23, 2000" htlip::ftwww.rsJ_ollJ/rubrlque .. ph.p3?icUu.brique=639

4 Centerb MedIa Fffif!dom and Resp.nlilsibiliry, Journalist Killings under ttle Arroyo Adminislratlon (2001·,2006), (Sep!~mb~r 2006), p, 4.

Preu heed~m arnd Ph ili~pillU Law

,Justice .aeniif!d

WhUe the Philippine NaliolfiallP'oillce (PNP) eleims that most of the ki I nngs h ave been solved, O~ Iy three oOrlV'ic~ions have been recorded s'i nee 1 !:l'86. The reason for th e, d iisparity lis that ~he PN P regar,ds, a case' "solved" once It has ide'rluified a suspect or sespects,

nne convi.cti:orll of the killer of broadeesterand pri nit joumalist I~dgar Damallerio, who was kililed in 2002 in PagacJitan Cilly, ,Zamboang,a {jell Sur, is regan1ed as a watershed in that it was ~he first instaace since 1986 in which a killer had been tri'ed and sen~enced.

@1-.....;;.L..;.I.,;;_U:_:II:_:T:_:E=-=..OI__:_IP:....:R__:O:._T:._- -=-E :....:C:....:f_:_I_:O_tJ_;__ _

On October 6" the latest convlctlon, that of thaas:sassin who shot and lkii~led Gen eral SarnO's, City"s, Marlene Espsl'at, fuelled hopes tha,t the, comb I nation of media advocacy and Joumal ism' '9 rou P'$,' efforts, (particu I a r1y those ,of C MFR an.d IN UJ P}. th,e wide publicity the D6 rnelerio and Esperat cases receiv"'9d rom the previously oompl1acent national media, fU'Id the Vlictllms' famitles' dete:rrnination to see the cases th rouglh the Ph i I ipp I ne courts, could pu IiIlish ~he killers of jounnalis.ts despilt,e ~he weaknesse-s of the justice system.

The Damalerio and E,spel'at cases hay,!!! only been parliy solved, however. The in,diiVid~al or indiividuals suspected ofordering the kililing of both jou mallists have not been prosecuted. AlI~houg h gov8mrment offl cia Is in cllud i ng a police colonel th e erusad ing Espe'rat had fji~ed eorruptlen charges halv,e been mentioned amo:ngl lhosewlho could h ave had her assassjnated, the charges aga,~n:st them i1Iave yet to be r'El'i nstalt,ed, while the suspected masterrn i nds in the IDama~el'io case are also, at large"

Evel'l more dish.ilrbing is the dismal record o'f these c-onviotions iielatiiv,e, to the number o,f kililings, Ol1lly 31 murder charges halve been filed agalins,t the suspected kililers of journaUs,ts snrme 1986, and orlily thl1ee "resolved", I PI no case were the masterml nds who or-dered the k II nngs even charged, much I!s<ss ~ed, althoygh there were s~rol1lg suspicions ~ n a I'iI urmbs,r O'f cases as to who these were" s

Fundamental wealknesses afflict the Philipplillie justlee system at the apprehens ion, prosecurtmial, and pen a I levels. These weaknesses

___________________________ L_~_M __ ~~T_·~t~ID __ P_R_O_T_[_·_C_T_I_~_M~~

are lin turn based on the we.akne<ss ()ri the centra I 'govem rnent 11m ttH!l communidesrihe exlstenee o~ 10 call cent€! rs of [power wr~~ ill~e:rests-atmOfilg them corruption .su'1Id/or such crii minal aetlvltl es SiS iIIeglsJ gla mbling---iiril cornftiict with those of ti'H~) pu bl lc and will i ch therefore have to be eoncseled: and, if tlhey ar,e not intimidated! into passlveacqulescence to wrong-dioi ng I Uile conseq u€! nt (1O II us ion of the police, prosecutorsand j udgss with ~hese potH!i ca I and Grim i nal iinreroe's·1ts .

Many ,of the kililli ngs of jo~ma I i,s·ts have th us beentraced to theilr repolrting or com men~i ng on local issues like official cor,rup1:io n, gambliing, IproiS~i~uHon other com mUll! itv concerns. Th e very system they Cfriticize, howev@.r, is what makes the arrest, proseeution, an d convicUo n of their lki'll~er$ dlifficaJ~t and at times nea rly impossibre.

This was weIll mustrated in the Ola malerlo ease, in whicha police offleer was convicted of carryl rig out blle killl i ng on the orders of a su perior. The acnona of the I:oca~ pol~ce encourEJ9'ed the suspieien from the very beginning, whie'rIi, artrivingat tne crl meSQenewUtnill mlnutes (a rare event. in the IPh~llipp~nes, where the po!lioe often arrive hours after a cr~me has been co mmiUed )., the police cleaned the area, mm;oved lJam:al,e,rio's bodY,and impoundedthe vehicle the jo urnsll is:t ~ad been dlriving'whern he wa:s sh at The two witnesses to the shootiing who had beefl in Damalerio's velhic!le said the pollee rook no phdographs. Of course the:i r havii ng cleaned the area aliso destroyed whatevEw physf:ca.l evlidence ther'€i: had b aen,

Damalerio's media coneag~€s and his widow, Gemma,erngag:e.d the ~ocaloff:ice of tn€: fNJal~onall lBu reau of II nv,elS~igation (INIB I) in tne hope that it wo~ ld be ~ess biased. The I'ead N Bi invesligatortoo!k the bYo w'~1Dnesse's' resUmony,found it. credible andl recommended that Ilocal prosecute rs issue a warrant of arrest fa r pol h:;e'man G~ ill!ermo Wapile of the: P'agadilan City police .. Wapilelhadllbeen positively Iden~ifled by witn€:sses Edgar Amoroa nd Edgar Ongue who were with: IDama lerio 'wn€:rn he was shot. by a gun man rld.i ng tandem on ~he back of a m:ororcychil.

w'apUe wSJS deta i ned but released a fuw days later beceu se no chargle5 had been tiled aga.iln:st him. Wap~~e's lawyer then aroused the<€s ~hemse~ves of be·irilg accornpltees iin their fri,end!s'

The Dama,renios--Gemma and her fiv'e-month old sen=had to flee Pag1adiian i r1I th e face of threats ;3,gainst them, as ~he case came to a 9 hi nOlin 9 halt. IEventu ail Ily G,emmla and witnel<ss Amoro decided to ask the Justice Department illl! Manila to 1fansferjurlisdiction over the case to a ragi,onal Department ofJ~stice (DoJ) office. One of mhe positilVle results of Gemma and Amar,o's ,appe,al was the relief of Pag'Eldiian poilice chief Asuri Hawani, who, together with the' Pagadh:H'l mayor, had been a frequen~ subject of Damaleri:ois broad casts,

~~_l_l_u_r_r_E_D_. _P_R __ D_'_E_C_T_II_O_N_· __

murder, even as ~he Pag,adian pollice claimed that a Ilocal hood, and not. W,apile, was thelir suspect in the' murder. The local iNS,1 cried foul, saying that th e, person the tocel police h ad named was not in PSJg,adian at the time of the murder, and that the locs I pollk:,e was trying to, muddle the case SlO' one of their owncculd evade preseeutton,

Eventually Hawani and Wapile were dismissed from the aervlce. A we rrant of arrest was event~al[[y issued agl8 i nst We pile, who was detained at a local pollee camp. He disappeared from the camp, but was trequently seen iiii'll P'agadialfl and other nearby cHiles, He officially surfaced i n 2004 0 nlyafier a sustain ad, two-yea f 'i,jfort by media advocacy and jou malists' grQups to hav,e him arrested. Wapi I,e was eventuallyconvicted of whe crime Or! November 29, 2005, but ollly after the trial was moved to Cebu City.

Wapile's convicUon came aft€r the killingl of witness Amoro, Like De malerio also a jou malist who had QO~ rageously stood by hn~ testimony that he saw a pol iceman kill h~s coil league • Amaro became the first Filipino joumalist killed in 2005 when he, was shot dead in FeD rua ry th at year.

The Idilier of Damallerio has been cOlfllvidedl. But behind ev,ery killls;r for hilr€!! i,s a mastermind. In the Damalerf:o case, Hawanli, the formar Pagadian City police chiet has beeii'll fr'equently melfll~ianed as the brains behind the kililing. Damalerio, had been I'ool<ing into and criti ci,zi ii'IIg police oorru ption at the' tim.e, he' was killed. Another killer fa r ihir,s !had told the N B I tha.'t Une fformer po I i,ce chief had as ked him to I<illl Damalerio for PhP,50,OOO, but was himself killed befoftil he could tes~ify,

IPress Freid Dim an d Pllllli~l~i Be L,n~

___________________________ L~I g __ I_'V_E_D __ P_R_O_.T_._E_C_T_~_O_N~~

~ n lhe Esperat kUl i rag, two()i officials o.flhe IlDeparlmeJ1lt of Ag rieu ~tl.!re h ave bill en m·entiorH1Jd as possibly itnvolve,a. becau se they [hac been among t~e subjects of Esperafs weekliy colum n i rII the common ity newspaper she wrote fo:r"

Another case in point is the kiU.i rig of anethe r Pagadian jQU malisl, Onmplo Jlal1apit,a radio, broad!caslelr, JaJlapitwas killed in 2000 in circumstances s!imilarto Dama!erio's kilUng. Jalapit had ~reqliJentlly cri~i ci~ed one .of the most p OMjel'ifu II pol iticallfam i Hes in Pagl!3.diian. NIQtniing mas ti'i:'lppened in theJla.lap~t case. His family teafs ~hait nothing willlle'ver happen, becaase the 1:0 ea I police refuse to dlo anything sbout ~t-a fact tlhat raises susplclons abo~t pollioe invo!lvem~rilt

llhe eo mmon bellief t.ihait~he po!1 i08' ar,e usually involved ii ill th.e very elii mas t~ey're suppesedtesolve, while ttl 8'1 ar,e at ttl e' same tiime ~ noar~ng about the rig~t$ of suspectaa nd due process, ad,d up to a pol~ce the pllIlbliio thinks is more Ii nto law-breakingl rather than law'enforci ~g, This pereecnon is the basis of ~he wlidesplIl;)'ad II,aok off 1faith in ~he jl!! $~ice syst€<m.-t1e belief that no one can get j U,II,sti Qe ii n th iis oO'untry whe1ilher he's a, 51!! sped. ina crime or the ag grieved" unless one has the we.all~h and the conm~c1ions.

A nu mber of COlru::llJlsio~s rna,,! indeed be dir,8wn fro m the above cases. Til e first iiS the p rnlle~ or possibl:e, ii nvolvem e nt, nat only of <one or two poliicemenJ. but even of entire po I lee forcea as we~!1 as local oiicials.,

llhe seoorad iis the reamy .of the dI i mate of fear arisingl from ponce inrvolv,e:mef'llt, thli1d not only dro,ve lDamlallsrio's wid!owa nd th.e' witnesses to his III un] e r into, Illid iing, b~t also afected eve~ local p msectflQrs, one of whoml confe's:sed that "it w,asln't sa'fe" in Pagadian Ciily for him,

The third i,e; that iitre~,lIIi red the 9 realest efoli on 1iIhe pa M: of the, Damalerio family and h~s co~ I€agll:es, and ~he eM F R among others, ~o eng1age autho:i'ities i n Ma nilla into acting on ~he ease, wh tcl'n wOlllld oUnerwise have! ev,entua.lliy Wii~hered away Ilike so many other mu rdsr c;;;I!;>es i,~ ~he pihmppine!s" No:rmal ilnstitutiona.ll processes, ins~ort, were praenca Ily inoper.a~ive because 0,1 the Ilethal comlO i nation of

police invDlv,ement, the flabby justice system, c"Elntrall government indifferenc9, andl the climate, of fear in Paqadian,

The dismissa,I's of Wapileand Hawani should have proceeded as part ot the normal chain of events, far example, as should have the workings, off the jusfice system. How'ever, not d ue cou rse but the' proddingl of media orga nizatiorns appare,rlltly led to lhe dismissa I s, whlich occurred more than six mill nths aft'er the policema n was i'dentified by witnesses as the killer, and hils superior apparently tried to protect him. Media attention also helped generat,e the unusl..Ual enthusi,asm of local prosecutors in pursuing the Esperat case. The court c-ases aglaif'ls,t the 10'lTi1er inched! forward and IEs,perafs pmgr,essedi, only as a result 'Df those organizatiorls' e,ff'orts,.

The TourlJh equailly critical co ndusion is that witnesses have been inti m~daled an d even lkiiUed, Ii n testiimony lo, tlhe many,s, of the DoJ Witness Prot:ectiol'l Program, among them its beingl urnder-ftlnded, and 'the near-interminable process before witnesses to, crimes" in thiis ii nstarn08 to the kililin 9 of journalists" are placed, if at ,alii, in the Progr,am,

Justice as prlvll'ege

In severe lather cases cu l'Tern~ly pel'ldingl, proddingl the ju sti oe system to function as it should, as difficulit as this already w;~!'i,.lhiad not been en ough eii~her. It was 81.1 so' ne09,S'S2Iry to engagle ~he services of lawyers as privat,e prosecetore, among oth e r ressons because of insta nces of prcsscuterl a I biias or feat

To sppreclats what this means, observers of the IPhiillipipine media need to look at it in the conte,xt of the, limitedl ,eamilngs of media practitiorlers in ile commtmli~ies, Basically consiisting ot a Na~ional Capital Region-based component (the "national press") and a comrnu nity-based sector (the "comm unity press"), the IP hi! i ppine press ts pOlPulalted b:y ind ivi:d uels Qf vast d i,sparities in tra,hil i ng" ski IllS, and lneo rnes.

Although the same dispaliities exist withill1l each segment the disparities are most pronoun cad between fhem. Some j,ournaHsts based in Metro Manila may e;;1Ii'1n tellS of thousands of pesos a month" but most. journalists in the communities earn considersbly

____________________________ L_I_~_'_I_T_E_g_. _p_~_··~O~l~E~C~r-1 _I_O_IN~~

I~ess. with some' being pa,i:d oniy when their media 0 rgan iza~IQns ca n afford it, 01', in some instanoes, asadvertisil1lg solicitors who. receive c,ommilssimns for advertiisi ng contracts.

This creates, among others, an inducement lor jcumanats to engag:e' in work. that may be on coiil~1 let with their wo!"k as jo umalists, But it also affeds ~heirfam i Ii:e's in a way that's only being r:lOoted in connection wiith the k.illling of journalists.

The i r low incomes mea n thet journalists ~ n the co:mml.unlitJies hardly h ave <:'I ny' money left to put astde Jar erne rgen cles aHe'r providillllg for their famili,es' needs. If the journalists killed were the sole breadwimilers, their ramill les must contend with Vi nding the wherewith all WiUi which to survive, thus making the prosecution of the late provider's kililers a secondary pri.ority as well as problematic if they have to hire lawry,s rs for this purpose,

And yet, as an unpublished study commissioned by the Freedom Fund for Filipino Joumalists (M.a. Aurora Fajardo, .issues and Challenges in the ,Prosecution O'f the .Klllers of Jouma'iists, 2006) repeatedly recommends, the Vlictims'famili;e,s have to have lawyers tcact as priIV,ate prosecutors of tile cases ag ai nst the killers ar,s to p:rog ress, Eve ni n those inslaiilces in which other members, of the familly worked and were earning, the hiring of I'awyers W8.S nevertheless a heavy financiall burden, giiV,en the vast diisparilti,9S between 'tile salary of say, a dlerk in a. gavem merit .office, a nd the fees laW)fers command,

Med i,a advocacy and jourrnaliism; grOll.1I ps have tried to meet: botl1 the survlvsla nd legal needs of fam i Ilie<$. by pllovidingl scholarshi p stipends for chilldren. for example, and when possilbl,e; helping pay for !a,wy,e rs, Th'Bse grou P5" resou rces are also iJi miited, and the SOIJ p port they p rovid e smalll (for exam pie, N UJ P provides 5e1lect:ed chlilldren of slain journalists ,8 monthlly sdholarshipstipend of PhP400). But the cons.equenoe of ~he failur~ to h~ re law:yers, is to make justice a luxury an.d a privillisge available only to those who C8Jil afford it.

The boftom line

Because it has been raised! often, but even more im porta ntly because, ,among its undeniable results is publi,o indiffer,ence even in

theraoe of the tul'li3.bated murder of jOIJi maliala, q ~estion s re~atedto jQuma'~8ts'lrnrning', oorruption, lack of skil[lsand know~edge and, i!1! genera [ unpr"Ofessi:o nal oonduct, have to be addressed,

~ ~_~_g_II_I_E_ID __ ~_'R_._O_T_E_C_T_I_O_._IN __

While insi,Sli ng il1 at ~ere is no paMern in th e Id~ ling of j;o uma lists and flat iit has so~ved most 'of' the cases, PNrP spotkesme n hav,e' alse i mpned that the kU I i ~gs would sto,P if leu mallists we re fa i rand honest.

PNP spokesman L~opoldo [B,8.moil ~hus Ii ns~st€ldl in sta~e ments to thill, media, last year ~hat ~he kUling,s were "isolaJtedca;ses,,~ even aSi31 PNP press relea.:Se last week.aHegedi ~hat. ~t had "solvedl~ one case' wHth the id'e ntiflcation of tN() su spects. On the nth e r Mnd ,the, CebiJI Prov~ncial Police Off] 00 [D~lrector. one Vlicerll~e, loot, said[ j:o'llma ll sts meed only to 'be fair for ~he attacks to stop.

'''Media shou ['(I be fair; llhey sh,o~[[d report. facts, a riel real 'i ssues and rd ueSOnito personal a~cks. You can.. . shout to the whol'e,worl!d about a~ [eged anerna I les '0 ~ ~H egal deeds as ~ongl SI,S they're with ~n the ethical standerds of broad cas,~i ng, ~ said Loot

"fhe um,pl~caUo!1 of Loot's (p rono unoed !liloh~ ont, ~ incid e ntaUy) pmting us flat all these killed we lie ~l!Jnfa i Ii" and did not ~reporttracts and real lssues," which is 'whythsy waHll [k!i[l!sd, and riglh~ly so,

N 0' media organ iizalti'o n or pracl111illoner has ever claimed that the press is perfect p~ i I iipp,i ne lou melism doest€€m with dishonest end Ii nept practitioners, many off them ~ iii thie p mvin del, press who cs n't tell the d~f8rence betw,een a SIJJ mm!a ry ,lead and a sum mary ,execLilUon. C!.llit to, i mply ~hat. a JOM ma[[ist who has been unfair ~f11 Iii ls repcl'riin 9 deserv~s. to be snell: to death is sQmewha~ like, si,lIggesti ng that a tax ld river who crosses: a red liighl d eservesa lethal inj,e dian.

AS mistaken and mis[eaclinglas some current se'ntilme,fIIt$ may be, it is nevertheless !1 ecessary to point out that rnedia adi'iJ\ocacy an d leu ma I i St5;' groups as well as med i a organizatio ns themselves are well .aware of jo~mansl irrloornperenoe, contllcts of interest, ul1Ifuinness ,e nd cOriruption and have bee n 9.ddwessilrrlg th sse issues. eM FR I fo r example, net on ~y p ublishas the m,sdia monitol1i ng PJ'R Reports thatfooLJses attelil~ion on bothwors:t and best pr.a.dlcesa:s

P ras s Free d 0 m 8 n ~ Phil i ~ P i m ~ L H'I

____ ~ t:.._I=__IM=___:_1 _:_T -=-E -=-1J___:_P_:I1I:.._O:.._I. _:_T -=-IE -=-C~T..,;.I...;;[I...;;M~@

weill as those irn-belween, but also monographs on :s,elected medna, ~ssues $ucha:s confliot and peace report~ng and mecHa and g,snder. At Ileast one Man i Ila-bsJ5!ed broadsheetand the Mo largest. N [lehtvork:s have a lso del,l€<lloped their OWrii ii nternaJ rulleiS on eth ica~ beharvUOf and pr-ofession al conduct

Wiillle,too lffiarnyjO~nllalnsts are eithe~ poorly trained or,8:v,€nllmtrained, ~he efforts of media advocacy groups h8i¥€ ~flltdll!JdQdlth9 cr,eation of community press eeunei lis by the eM FR:, and the conlt~IiILJ~ ng training of j:ouIFT'hall lsts inslkilUs and! ethics by the Pihil~lPpin9 IPrl'eSS InstitJute, C MFR and N UJIP.

Mill<a nwihile, asa last resort, ,anyone ag:g rieved by the mecHa hIs.s U'1;€ I~bel laws, the law ,on priivacy and o~hers to full back on,

[Much more orcourse needs to be done, but ilt wiill 1lak.e ~ime and effort. Nievsll1he less. ~he very ooMom line is ~hatth ~ oor1up~ion, incompstence,a.nd lack: off taMness some journaliis1ts are accused of cal'll not. j usmy tli1eir assas\Sj nation-the a:ppl1eda~ion of which should. appar€ntly, be ~ nculcalted in the IPolice"

Looking ahead

The steps needed to sto,p the killing of Joumallists and plreve~t fUlrthe,r killingls i MI ude bothshert-term as wen as long .. te.rTr"I measures. Wh~lle trne strateg lc aimorf rep~acing ~he eli! Itulre o,f impun ~ty with a oulttm~ ot accountability theJt punishes the guilty will take time to achieve, Eli, number orf measures can be taken now b:y med tiaadvoca~ ana jo~ma I iists' groups as w€1 ~~1;S by ether groups equalliy conce'rned over the killingi$: and' ~heir ri mp8Jc1: on '~he Philippine press, Among these measu res are:

II. P,:oviding legal assistance to th~ families of victims to, ~ ncirude ~he h ~rin:gl of cQmp~t~rnt ~.awy€rs to pursu,@ p9ri1d ~ng cases as private prosecutors, In the longl term" hewev,er, tiils ~rai nhlg of lawyrers as advocates off flree Qxpression is: of even more lmpertsnce .. As,s~ggested by former lInilversity off ~he IP~ ir~ippines Law Dean Ra 1i.lI11P' n, the reform of '~he law ourrk]ulum to' eo ucate futu re lawye rs on. and encourage ~heir ad!vocacy of, pressfreedern and ether free ,€xpmssion ~ssues is urgent

~r-_~_I_,g_I_'T_E_~_D __ P_IR_.IO_T_·_E_C_U_II_O_IM_. _

2. 170 show ~ocal <COli! rts and prosecutors Ila~ they"re beingl monitored" maintai'ning a o(mtinuifig mediaadv;ooacy afK' jOUfn'€J#s'l group presence-even if it be only through statements and the sending' of observers-during hearings on pending cases,a mong th em ~hose of (1) R.oger Mariano of D,zj C .Aksyon Radyo Lao8ig City; (2) Ph ilip .Ag us,Un of Starline Times Recorder Dingl~l_~an. AII.mlwa; (3) Elp:id to Bi noya of DZRHI General Santos Ciity; (4) Marlene Espera~ of 'The Midland Review Tacurong City;" (5) Rola'ndo' Ureta of Radio Mindanao iNeMo,rk's ID'VKR Kaliibo; and {6) H:e:rs.olil Hinolan of Barmbo Radyo" Aklan,

3. To help assure the p,f-otediorll Qf witnesses, c;am,{)aigning tar the-strengthening of the uflder4!unded Wi(mss .Protection Progtam of the Dw. Because of s!lo,ppy pelice worik,lhe oOl1lrviolijon of criminals in ~he PhiHppiines most oien dependls on tne ava i labil ity of WUtli1€SSi€S and thei r win ilng nees to testify.

4. Continuing and' enfu'Jnc~ng c-urr:~.nt efforts at theon4.M~jofj tr:~in.fnfJ and ,~rj'ur:;afi'On of mMia pr:actitio'fiers riot 0111 ~y Un rough the usua Iisem ~f1Iars '0111 ett! iies anolskilll:S workShOps; bUll a,lso thr-O'l!.Igh systematizing and ,or-gani:;il'Jngl the dislparate efforts ef various rned ~a9roll! ps into a continuing education eenter,

5, 1"0 engaglEl! the commllJlraity rn m,ed~a monitoringl and enhance its unda rsta ndl! rig or ti'H~ i mportali'l ce off a ~ree press in fi:g ii1t~ng ror g:oo<l gove manee and dem;acracy, media litr8racy programs, and 'e$ta.bllshing mo.m regional a.nd' oomml.lnfty press ,oou:nGi~S (whidl~he CMIFR 'has i i!l~Ua!~ed} that. can a!;Sio be venu:es for (;QmmllJn!i.ty-ITiH!!diia, di!a.~ogllJie'.

Thslast 'two initiatives are meant to hell,p €:nco'Ur.8,ge the d~ew~opm,e nt of 8, press whose pra;ctiitilonersa resli<iml€'.a and ethica,ll, as w~1I as a mea us. literate pubUc that can appredat!ll: til€: rol,€ of'th e press i mJ th,eiir communities and insoct9:ty as, a who'I!€.

Skilled and elh icsJ jourrna~ iiSts ab~e to meet t1e~r com mun fltV's need t:9r information and the ~ nre~p:ret6.tio:n of public issuesare more II ilkJe1ly to be ap;preciiareda nd protected by ~he cilti~e nry, whille a med iia Iliterate public calli demand that journalists provide the PilQbliic its imorrnaUo:n needs. Public outrage is, too oienthe vita I m i,ss~l1lg i ngred.ient in

__ --------------------------L-I-M--II-l-E-D-1 _IP_· R_ .. _O_T_[_I~_T_I_O __ ~ __ ~

~he effort to punish ~he assassins and masterminds i n the killing ,of JOlunilal~:s,m "

Providing, I€<gal assistance to 1!heifam i Ilies of slain lou rnalists can be expensive b ut. is Ilmfol1unate!ly necessary. Giventhte flaws of the Jl!Js~lC€lsystem, amongl them the ease wVth which powerfull glr1;lups and individuallsare abl,e to influe~ce!, bury arlld/or intim idatethe polk:e. U1:e courts and €<'!,!I€fl loea I govemm,ents" the killers and tJhe masterminds can and do liter,aillygeu away with mlll rder unless pmivare proSOOiU!WI'S pursue ~he cases a,gainst the killers ofjolll malists withsuffidiernl zeaL I n add~tJiGn, Ilegal a:s:s~stanc9 to the 'fa,m!i I les provi des them adviioe on the Ilegal intricacies off the C8JS€'S, and can help protect witnesses from coerelo n I' inltilmidation, and evenassess' li1Iation whUe generatingl oommUi n~ty support.

Engagingldiiffferent.govemment,agencies is, atleast in some localities, cri~ica~ in bri ~ging the kililers and rnasterm il!lids 10' jusUce" Engagement with ~'he D!oJ and Dep6JmmeIllt of InterirO:ralr1d Local Gove:rTllrnent (whlic,h su pervises the police) helped oQompel tme government to pay somea.tttenUon to the knnng of jro'l.lrrnaliists, and ~ndirecUy ii1ellpedl try 8ri1doonvict Edgar lDalmsJ~emio's lkiilllre:r. Mea~w~ill!e,that sustairlled 9ri1ga9l9menrt wiUn the PNP and ~he DoJoo~ 1:0 I!ead to po~icea nd jud i:dall reforms may not !be as forliom 6J hope as many imag iine.

Luis 11: T.eodoro is <l profe'Swr of jormralism at the UfiNersity of th~ PhilippiMs Calt~ of Mass Cammunk'a!ioJl, Qf w1tkil he was dean {(JI' two femm He is afro a I'i"iIfmJber of' f!re CMFR t90am of Advi:sers and a C'Q1wmrl$~ fOr the a'Usline~ Mirror:

~r-~~~II~lg~l~l~.E~. ~D~~I~R~O~T~··~~~C~l~I~O~N~I _

Pn u Fr e e d n 111 an II IP 11111 P 1I1111.e Ilalw

Abou't (,MFR

R7! ~~"""'?';-r:::'Ii_"""'/-:,~~N.:f":"-"-" .. T ~


"Ti~ !,;~;:':':';.J:~.,~-"~. '!o:..,."";:.: ':-..~-;.'::, ••• .:-r.'), ~


~. '."::):::.:: ·J'rjt.I.' •• -:o:'f ·.7·:::.:·.':,::· .. :.,:· . ..; •• --:.:


- •• ~ .·I~ ...... ~ .... ..._ _. ,..- ••• 'j:.. .... ~ .~-'" ~: :~

The fortl'llila.tlon ,of the Genter lor Media Freedom and ResiPons~bi Ility (CMFR) addresses one of the eritleal conoens oon'ifol1!ting the Philippllr1les8Ift:er People, Power toppled the Marcos dictetol'sh ~p in FebU'l.Iary 19186" That oo~cem calls aMent~Qrnto the power or the media and the role ofthe ~ree press in tie dev'eI1op:menl of Phiilli pplne democracy.

All over the world, press ffileclom has been fOll! nd 1:0 be essentielto the demeerane system. Effec~lve pal110i patory gO\fern ment. is lPossib~91 onlywihen it can count on a well~info:mn,ed society where individu!;;:! Is freeliy ex_dhallge ideas.wihere publ lc debate and discu5isio~ arise from :kJnowledge and unde:rstalildiing of nationa.llafifaifs.

Thall freedom involves ned only media professionall!s, ,but a loo,~h,e publiooo:rved by the medlia-p:ublic offi.cislis, ~he p:riwl€o $ec~or, civii~ soci:sl'y groups, readers, viewers and list:eneffi-"W'~o li'eoe,iiv'e i'r1imrmalion andl are part ofth:e oydle of pl!.lllbliic eornrn unieadon, Eh)lt fr~edom ()~ the p:ress, Iliks allllliltieli1i9s, has ~ts nm~ts, ror the simplle reasenthst ~f is vl.IIlne,rabl!e to ablU!se,

~ L~_g __ IT_I_E_~~P~R~O_T_~_C_f_I_O_N ___

IDElm()oraJt~c recovery confl10r11ts serious obstacles on the, media tornt The press and the m;ediia need to e_xert specia~ efforts to measure up 8JS a colllecti'V19 vehi j c~e, of i nrormation, as ,an instrument for cllarHyii ngoomplex issues and di~emmas off development Ul!at the pulbUc sheu ld understand.

Ag8J~fiIst ~his lbackglrClund, eM FR was mga~ ized iill1l 1989 6,S a p:rivate, nons~odk, nonmprofirt organiza~lon Irrllvo~Vilng the different sectors off oooiet.y, Ms prog;ram!s uphol!d press free-om, prom.ote ~e$poli1ls!i b!le joul1nalism and encourage j,ournal jisth:: ,8xmlllencE!.

Alii over the wor~dl press freedom

has been found

to be essential to the! dernoc ratic system. Effective

pa w ti c i p a to ry glovernment is pcsslble on Iy when it can count on

a well-informed society where individuals freely exehanqe ideas, where p'ub~ic debate and discussion arise from knowledge and understanding of national affairs.

FlllIPINOS. TAKE liHE free flow of informstlon and til 15 iii bundan CI5 [If news for glFanled, but appear incapable of making effective use of them, Preaching press freedom seldom rises above the [evel of a motherhood starement

Despile the high profille gilv·e n media personallities., rna ny jouma!i$:ts remain, vlJllnemb'le to ms rnipuh3ilion a rnd harassm ent, their fr,eed'o m and liV9& sUlbjecl to th'reats· and attacks,

IPuhlilc; officials ban medi<ll "ri~ics from coven ng their activities. Judge'S awe quick to dedare journallists "lin contempt' for negalive reports on their deels'lol"ls or their eeneuet Mayors have ordered radio stations closed for

aneged violalions ,of busl mess regu latlons,

an excuse bJ silent strident oriiticism, More, recently, Pre<sident AFroOYO'S Proda rnatlon 1 017 aulJhorizilld the L.J1'I~hin kaMe': the poilioo t9Jkieo"fer' of the offices of a nffii'll'SlP<lper identil1i:ed wi~h tlri e· politi!ca~ oppo~lltiolll'_ None ,of these violatlons have pro¥o'kedl pu bile protest.

Given the number of lawyers ilnlhe country, one miglht preseme the exls:lence of a st~ol'lg legal framework to defend the press and ils 03l.1tonomy_ But eXpl;lI"Iienoe shows that legal asslstance ts not allways automatic mar ,easny

availa ble. Not for the prosecution of kil18l'$ of JOu rnaUs!s, nor for the protection of jo'umalists from politicaillamssment

The 1987 Conslilulion clearly protects ~reedom of speech and exprlSssioll in the Bill of Rights, But tneterms of this protection are; vag ue, even in the interpretation of 1:!hs courts, wh'ere tllooe in power can file libel charges against [ou rnal lsts wHh iJhe grea~est of eZiS.e_

The crises facing the, press, IIbIle those confrontin,g~he rest of the counlry. rllsults from the convergence of many-factors <100 oonmil:lulory causes. And {here is clearly no one simpl€:so'lu~ion to the problem, It ""ill, lilie manlY of Ihe national problems, require the slJstained and col~ec:live action of many om'l5ren! 9 ro ups,

SlAt the fi rst s1ep mllsl unlan9 Ie the many strands of th IS lssue. 'This, publlcalion seeks to make its, conhlbutlclnI by localing lh~ issue In th e rea'irn ot law_

Laws express principles and values !hat em1body the standardls we set for oursen ... es, Ifllhe laws are week in the proteotion of journalists, it is not only the joumal[;sls 'lit!o are endangered; we are al~ 'IIulnerab-le.

IPub.llsihed by lha

Cm:I'IITF..R r'o R [It EDIA - FR~~DOM

-UtES D'ONSI HrnIE. rrt"

Center f:or Media freed.o'm a: KespODslbWty 2/F A:tel1eo Profa<sslonal Schools-Salcl!!d'o

#130 HI. V. dela Costa St, Salcedo Vlliag e

Makatl City, Phi'lippines 11227

8'94-1314 • 69~·1326· 840-0903

.(telefax) 840-0689