Posted by Batas Internet Media on Thursday, January 13, 2011
To: THE MEN & WOMEN WE ENTRUSTED TO MAKE LAWS
The Senate of the Philippines
Thru: (1) Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (2) Senator Gregorio Honasan, Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media (3) All Committee Members (4) Senator Jinggoy Estrada, Senate Pro-Tempore (5) Senator Vicente Sotto III, Senate Majority Floor Leader (6) Senator Alan Peter Cayetano, Senate Minority Floor Leader
The House of Representatives
Thru: (1) Speaker Feliciano Belmonte (2) Rep. Ben P. Evardone, Easter Samar, House Committee on Public Information (3) Rep. Rodante D. Marcoleta, Committee Vice Chair (4) Rep. Rachel Marguerite B. Del Mar, Committee Vice Chair (5) Rep. Teddy B. Baguilat, Jr., Committee member (6) Rep. Danilo Ramon S. Fernandez, Committee member (7) Rep. Jim S. Hataman-Salliman, Committee member (8) Rep. Marlyn L. Primicias-Agabas, Committee member (9) Rep. Mercedes K. Alvarez, Committee member (10) Rep. Raden S. Sakaluran, Committee member (11) Rep. Dennis Victorino M. Socrates, Committee member (12) Rep. Angelo B. Palmones, Committee member (13) Rep. Mark Aeron H. Sambar, Committee member (14) Rep. Emmanuel D. Pacquiao, Committee member (15) Rep. Abigail Faye C. Ferriol, Committee member (16) Rep. Teddy A. Casiño, Committee member (17) Rep. William Irwin C. Tieng, Committee member (18) Rep. Neil Benedict A. Montejo, Committee member (19) Rep. Leopoldo N. Bataoil, Committee member (20) Rep. Lani Mercado-Revilla, Committee member
Re: PETITION FOR THE REPEAL OF CRIMINAL LIBEL LAW
We, the people who voted for you, the original source of your power to make laws as well as the power to execute laws and interpret laws, earnestly petition to you Gentlemen and Ladies of the Congress of the People of the Philippines to REPEAL CRIMINAL LIBEL LAW, NOW.
Libel as a crime dates back to the time of the Kings and Queens and it must be thrown back to the kingdom come.
Our first arguments why libel crime is an obsolete law and has no place in any democratic society is that there is still a Civil Remedy available for those who have thick faces.
Our policy is equity and social justice. Such that words must be met with words, NOT SWORDS. The one who is attacked on his honor or reputation can actually capitalize on that controversy to get his message across to the ears and eyes of those who heard or read the scathing words. The members of the Philippine Congress has the privilege to deliver speech without any fear of liability; so why not elevate the people equal with public officials in terms of the right and privilege to express?
The fear of the breach of the peace as the old justification to punish libel with imprisonment no longer exists. To the contrary, those who heard or read scathing words against them also have obligations to obey the law that if they run amok because of demeaning words they must also run afoul with the laws.
Our uncompromising position is that free expression is like a great river that when you suppressed it from flowing will rise above obstacles and destroy everything in its riotous paths. So let freedom to express flow like a smooth river. It is time-tested that in eras of suppression of voices of dissents the people rise in armed revolt to topple the oppressive government.
Libel conviction and punishment do not heal the wounds of honor and pride. The balm of conscience does. One who thinks his reputation is damaged by publications can cleanse his conscience by confronting these with truth in his replies.
At the end of the day, why should we fear damaging reports and opinions if we have a potent weapon of innocence and truth?
Most importantly, it is only by freeing the people to express about every perceived irregularity that we can assure our government is in good hands against those who steal, against those who kill.
We therefore appeal to you to be real and genuine representatives of the People of the Philippines. Please do as we, the people, say for you to do, Ladies and Gentlemen of the People's Congress.
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