Crossing party lines, 50 members of the House of Representatives found themselves agreeing on the issue of upholding freedom of the press amid the brewing speakership row that currently divides Congress.
House Resolution 431- “A Resolution Expressing the Sense of the House of Representatives that the Philippine Government should Uphold the Freedom of the Press, Speech and Expression at All Times in the Light of the Numerous Attempts to Control the Flow of News and Information, Criminalize the Exercise of Press Freedom and Curtail this Basic Right Especially in Times of Crisis and State Emergencies” was filed today by Gabriela Women’s Partylist Representatives Liza Maza and Luz Ilagan with 48 other solons as co-authors.
“It is high time that the House of Representatives speak on the issue of press freedom, a fundamental ingredient in a democratic state. We commend members of the press and media organizations that immediately stood in the face of repression. This resolution is Congress’ contribution in defending freedom of the press and our civil liberties. Certainly, any attempt to curtail or repress the mass media should be met upfront and nipped at the bud,” said Rep. Maza.
The Gabriela solon cited as recent attempts to curtail press freedom, the illegal arrest of members of the media during the Manila peninsula standoff; the Department of Justice advisory threatening members of the media and network organizations of criminal liabilities in effect restraining media from performing their duties and; the rumor-mongering that implicates a female reporter to the escape of Marine Capt. Nicanor Faeldon.
“Press freedom is being threatened. It is a Constitutional right and we are duty bound to defend it,” said Maza.
Members of Congress who co-authored the resolution were: Reps. Ocampo, Casino, Beltran, R. Zamora, Villar, Tupas, Escudero, Locsin, Abaya, Barzaga, Golez, Susano, Aggabao, Joson, Binay, Villanueva, Chipeco, Crisologo, Cayetano, Coquilla, Vinzons-Chato, Cerilles, Cruz-Gonzales, Fernandez, Velarde, De Guzman, Alcala, Baraquel, Teodoro, Padilla, Yap, Gunigundo, Roxas, Abante, Mandanas, M. Zamora, Ungab, Dayanghirang, Ferrer, Yu, Mangudadatu, Climaco, Guingona, Hataman, Cagas, Rodriguez, Almario and Custodio. #