NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUJP)
May 17, 2010
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) welcomes the Supreme Court decision that junked First Gentleman Mike Arroyo’s bid to stop the hearings of the P12.5-million class suit filed by journalists for his unconstitutional attempts to curtail press freedom.
Arroyo tried but failed to get a Court of Appeals order for the Makati regional trial court to continue hearing the class suit, which was filed after Arroyo filed multiple libel charges against more than 40 journalists, in what the media community rightly saw as a blatant abuse of the power and privileges his being presidential spouse bestowed on him.
We are confident that the courts will hear and decide the case on its merits.
For so long, the powerful and influential have resorted to libel cases, relying on a draconian law that dates back to the American colonial period and was meant to muzzle dissent than anything else, to harass or silence the independent Philippine press.
We once again call on Congress to go beyond lip service and empty platitudes. Trash that pending bill that actually worsens the already existing libel law and pass the long overdue legislation decriminalizing libel.
Nestor Burgos Jr.