KAKAMPI MO ANG BATAS
By ATTY. BATAS MAURICIO
LIFE’S INSPIRATIONS: “… Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows…” (Galatians 6:7, the Holy Bible).
CORY AQUINO ALSO CLOSED A MEDIA ENTITY IN 1987: And so everyone may know, this is not the first time that the government closed a newspaper or a media entity in the Philippines. Closing a media entity or a newspaper also happened in 1987, during the time of Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, the president installed by the United States acting in conspiracy with Filipino leaders, in a power-grab euphemistically called by them as a “people power revolution”.
I am amused and tickled no end to think that those who have been expressing their vile opposition today to the closure of a newspaper, or a media entity which, by the way, is not selling newspapers to the public, were completely silent or even gloated fiercely when Corazon Cojuangco Aquino closed down the Daily Express without any basis, legal or otherwise, except the fact that they suspected it to be owned by then President Marcos.
I personally know this repression of media and of the freedom of the press and free expression made by Aquino in 1987, through her order shutting down the Daily Express because, at that time, I was the president of the paper’s union of employees who, unfortunately, was one of the 300 or so who were deprived of our jobs.
DIFFERENCES IN MEDIA CLOSURES THEN AND NOW: The case of the Daily Express is completely different from the present case of Rappler, so that there is no basis at all in comparing the two situations. In the case of the Daily Express, the government of Corazon Aquino ordered the closure of the newspaper without any prior proceeding before such closure was effected.
The closure was resorted to by her government alone, acting through the Presidential Commission on Good Government which was then headed by its Chairman, former Sen. Jovito Salonga, on account of their collective desire to prevent the newspaper from continuing to be published. They were of the perception then that, because it was owned by Marcos or by his allies, it would become a thorn in their side, as it could lead in exposing their own mischief.
In the case of Rappler today, an investigation was conducted beforehand by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), in which it was established quite firmly that it violated the Constitutional prohibition against foreigners owning or investing at the least in any news entity in the country. What this clearly portrays is that there was a legal basis behind the closure of Rappler by the Duterte government.
DAILY EXPRESS CLOSURE, A CURSE IN THE PRESIDENCY OF CORAZON AQUINO: If the truth be told, I’d say that Rappler is certainly in a far better situation at this point because it can avail of legal remedies to question the SEC’s closure order against it. In the case of the Daily Express then, we found ourselves without any feasible legal recourse at all to question the killing of the newspaper, which was the only source of everyone’s livelihood in the company.
When my fellow union officers and I exerted efforts to touch base and implore the assistance of the different officials of the Corazon Aquino government to help us find the appropriate steps to protect, at the very least, the interest of the paper’s 300 or so workers, all of them, without any exception, refused to lend any help because, they told us then, Corazon Aquino already decided firmly to close it down.
This meant that, because that was what she wanted to happen during those chaotic times, there was nothing else we could do about it, never mind if the newspaper’s closure clearly constituted an assault against the newspaper’s freedom of the press. I thought then that because Corazon Aquino violated this particular freedom, this would haunt her as a curse during her entire presidency!
FOR QUESTIONS, REACTIONS: If anyone would like to ask me any question about what the burning issues of the day mean, or what we have discussed here, or to consult on any problem, whatever it maybe, please call 0917 984 24 68, or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or post your concerns at www.facebook.com/attybatas or www.facebook.com/angtangingdaan. Promise, I will answer right away. Thank God in the Name of Jesus, Amen!
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