PRESS STATEMENT OF ALAB NG MAMAMAHAYAG
Contact: ALAM CHAIRMAN JERRY S. YAP at 09178980988
Make No Law, Jinggoy
Alab ng Mamamahayag (ALAM) is reprimanding Senator Jinggoy Estrada not to make any law abridging the freedom of expression, of speech, and of the press.
ALAM makes this slap after the senator filed Senate Bill 380 or the Magna Carta for Journalists.
First, it is unconstitutional. Section 4, Article III of the Philippine Constitution is passionate in making this command: “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press...”
To establish a licensure examination for anybody who wants to be a journalist is a violation of this provision of the Constitution.
Jinggoy must be educated that to subject the exercise of press freedom to a licensure test is a violation of this solemn command of the Highest Law of the Land.
If the practice of press freedom is limited only to those who pass the licensure test when obviously only those who are schooled in formal journalism school would overcome, then it prohibits ordinary citizens most of whom are not even college graduates from making their own news articles and post them on Facebook and other sites in the Internet and prohibits the millions of dissenters unschooled in the rudiments of jouranlism to express their dissent.
In times of darkness, when repression and oppression once again rule, the powers that be will only use license regulations and license revocations as a guise to silencing the enemies of the corrupt and the abusive, the foes of greed for power, crippling the conscience of men in order for warlordism continue to reign.
Jinggoy never learned that the history of this country began with the offer of blood by heroes in order to win the right to express and publish. He never learned that Jose Rizal demanded first press freedom before anything else. Jinggoy never learned that it was the publications of Noli Me Tangere and El Filibusterismo that fueled and sparked the light of revolution that eventually drove the Spanish authorities from the Philippines. And for sure, Jinggoy never learned that Rizal did not have any license to be a journalist, which would be difficult for the national hero to pass because he was a doctor of medicine.
Jinggoy cannot excuse himself by saying that the government will not be the one who will give licensure examination but a body he called “Philippine Council for Journalists (PCJ).”
What cannot be done directly cannot be done indirectly.
Nevertheless, the fact that PCJ is created by law is sufficient to conclude that it is a government action and intention to limit the exercise of press freedom.
While ALAM does not see any good thing that will come out of a licensure exam for journalist, it sees OVERWHELMING EVIL in having it.
The fact that there are hao-shiaos or persons who pretend to be journalists is not sufficient to overcome the greater interest of the country and people to criticize the government and officials and keep these public men aware that the people are watching them.
Jinggoy does not know that those abuses by wayward senators are too revolting to conscience than those journalists who practice extortion or other forms of unethical practices.
Will it be fine for Jinggoy if the journalists will demand a licensure exam for those who want to be senators?
This should be the last thing that should be forgotten by Jinggoy: Even the dumb, the dull, and the ignorant have the right to speak, to express and to exercise press freedom, too.
Support the Freedom of Information Bill, instead, Jingoy!