The Center for International law and the Southeast Asia Media Defense, counsels for Davao based broadcaster Alexander Adonis, amended yesterday their petition to have the recent Cybercrimes Prevention Act of 2012 declared unconstitutional. In their amended Petition, Centerlaw asked the Supreme Court to expressly declare Art. 355 of the Revised Penal Code providing for the crime of libel also to be unconstitutional. Previously, the Center asked the Court to declare only the provision of the Cybercrimes Prevention Law provision on libel as being unconstitutional.

Prof. H. Harry L. Roque, Jr  of  Centerlaw and the UP College of Law explained the rationale for the amendment:

“We’ve had to clarify that pursuant to the View of the  UN Human Rights Committee in Adonis vs. Republic of the Philippines, libel under the Revised Penal Code is contrary to freedom of expression. In its annual report this year on the Philippines, the UN Human Rights Committee also decried that instead of complying with this view and repeal Art 355 of the RPC, the Philippines even expanded the coverage of libel through the  Cyberprevention Act. Hence, its important to have both libel under the RPC and under the new law be declared as illegal., Prior to the amended petition, the petition only asked the Court to indirectly declare the ordinary crime of libel as unconstitutional by implication. Since Art. 355 was reproduced by way of reference in the definition of electronic libel with the additional element that its should have been published electronically, it is incumbent for the Court to also consider the issue of whether ordinary libel is constitutional. The amended was necessary since the law does not favor implied declarations of unconstitutionality”.

Alexander Adonis was detained fro three years upon being convicted for libel in a complaint filed by former Speaker Prospero Nograles. According to the United Nations, Philippine criminal libel is contrary to Art. 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights because it is disproportionate to the ends that it seeks, that is, the protection of privacy of private individuals; and that there are an alternative in the form of civil libel.

Roque expressed the view that those whose right to privacy may be violated by the media after criminal libel is declared unconstitutional or repealed by a law of Congress can still have recourse to a civil case for damages and recourse to the media’s self-regulating mechanisms such as the Philippine Press Institute for the print media and the Kapisanan ng Brodkasters ng Pilipinas for radio and television.

The Adonis Petition against the Cyberprevention Act is the only petition that challenges the constitutionality of libel law in the country. “We’re excited to argue this issue since we believe that there are now changed circumstances to warrant a reversal of previous Supreme Court decisions upholding the legality of libel. Some of this include our ratification of the ICCPR itself and the View of the UN Human Rights Committee”, Roque added.


Here’s the text of the amended petition:


Letter of love for Christmas 2: To the Magdalos with love

imagesAngie (not her real name) was apprehended together with suspected members of the Magdalo somewhere in Filinvest, Quezon City in July of 2006. It was alleged that they intended to blow up Batasan Pambansa.

She was charged, together with the alleged Magdalos, with the crime of coup d’etat. She somehow eluded detention and lived literally the rest of her life as a fugitive. She later succumbed to an advance stage of cancer.

I knew her well as in fact, she was one of my closest friends. I did not see her though after her apprehension. I only had a glimpse of her during her wake a couple of years back.

Needless to say, she was a comrade in the struggle against President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. She, together with my other comrade, Josie Lichauco, probably would be sad to know that even after GMA, we continue to fight for the same causes that we did: good governance, public accountability, and an end to extralegal killings and other forms of impunity. I am sure too that she and Josie would have turned from their graves, had it not been for their cremation, had they known that the “when we hold on together gang” that surrounded PGMA continue to surround P Noy.

Both she and Josie are at peace knowing that they fought the good fight. Meanwhile, we -their friends, continue with the struggle.

I miss friends like Angie and Josie. Knowing them during their lifetimes continues to be a gift that I will cherish.

In this second letter of love for Christmas, let us cherish the words of love of a patriot for her adoptive warrior sons. I am sure she was not alone in caring for the Magdalos. Sadly, many of those whom she

took under her wings probably do not even know that she has passed on.

But her love for them, through this letter, will live on. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all!

7 July 2006

To my family:

Please make sure that June and Peter (her grandchildren, not their real names) is able to join their mother(who’s been abroad). At 10 and 12, I hope we have all been able to instill in them precious

Filipino values while they were “on loan” with me.

I do not know what will happen to me but I am writing to you to help me explain to my daughter what happened today. I am proud to know Jack Rabonza, Sonny Sarmiento, Rajah, Pat, Zoë, Gay, and Bumidang. I saw in them the hope of the Filipino nation. I wish for everyone to know that their parents, wives and children should be proud of these men. In my short stay with them, they were voracious readers, eager to learn and have great love for their country. They are soldiers of integrity and highly patriotic. They are the only hope of our nation.

All they desired is to save this country from the corruption and graft that pervades our system.

They have repeatedly told me that they are prepared to die for this country; that they are mentally and physically prepared to undergo any hardship to awaken the Filipino people into action. The only way to do this is to rid this country of its lying, stealing and cheating President and her cohorts.

I love them like my own sons. Please do what you can to help them as well.

You know that my heart is bad and my diabetes is not controllable. I can go anytime. It’s ok. If you can, please visit the wives, children, and parents of my adopted children and convey to them how proud I am

of them. Thank them for lending their sons to me.



Letters of love for Christmas 1

imagesLetters of love for Christmas 1
(Since Christmas is the season of love, I am sharing with our readers two letters of love appropriate for the yuletide season. Neither letter is about love between a man and a woman, but they talk about love – nonetheless. The first is a letter from a daughter to his father, Dieu Cay, a Vietnamese blogger who is currently in jail after being convicted for being an “enemy of the state”. As we read this letter, let’s remember that until today, a Filipino child may still be writing a similar letter to his or her parent.)

Dear Dad,

It has been a long time since we last talked; it has been forever since I last saw you. The past six years feel like a decade because time seems to go so slowly. Every day we are waiting for you to return. Mom, brother, sister and I are missing you very much.

I remember your pictures. You love to travel the country and take many pictures of the scenery. In my memories I only see buildings, traffic, pollution and busy days at school. In your pictures I see wild mountains, sandy beaches, fruit trees and beautiful rivers. We know you love photography, and I know it is because you love to capture the beauty of everything. You gave us so many memories to keep and to reminisce. I don’t think many of my friends my age have many photos of

them as kids to look at. But you captured all of that for your children. In your pictures we see the love that you have for your country and its people.

You have always been an honest, gentle, kind-hearted man, and you trust everybody to the point that life has become much more difficult for you. I have seen many people, including friends and neighbors, who took advantage of you. But along the way you have gained so many more friends with your kindness and your never-failing honesty.

What you have endured all this time really breaks our hearts. This is the price you have to pay for your love? This is Unfair! This is Injustice!

I was naive to think that maybe things will be okay after the first two years they took you. I thought we would have you back in our arms again. I was looking forward to the day I get to see a picture of you again. I bought you a pair of new shoes so you could wear them to travel because I know you have worn out your last. But you did not return. They kept you for so much longer. That was when I realized things are worse than I thought. Justice will never have its day in our country.

And time stretches its legs, one heavy step at a time. You don’t know how many beats our hearts have skipped when we heard news about you or the trial, many worrisome days when we didn’t know where and how you were. I had many dreams about you, and many nightmares. I am angry at

the many hardships mother, brother and sister have to go through, yet I know it is nothing compares to what you have endured, and that makes me even angrier. It doesn’t feel good to live in anger but I can’t help it when there is no justice where you are.

We were all holding our breath before the trial. There were many people who wanted to come to the trial to support you. You may have heard what has happened to them, the violence and nonsense action that they took upon everyone. Nothing compares to what they did to you. After all of the beating, arresting, terrorizing, heartache and tears, after all of the unspeakable things, the result of the “show” was as expected. The clowns of terror always get their way, one of them even

said “F*** freedom”.

Just a few days ago I saw your image for the first time after many years. You look much older and weaker. I saw how they put their hands on you when you tried to speak. I heard they didn’t give you your glasses to read or write, they didn’t give you food until it was rotten. It’s hard to live thinking about my father like that. I know you were already very weak before prison, I don’t know how you cope being in there. Sister said she got to meet you for nine minutes after five years and she was afraid she would never see you again. We are all living in fear.

I know they are trying to dehumanize us but I know you are strong. You are our hero. We miss you and love you very much. I want to see you again one day, father. A few very rare dreams of mine: you came back to us and I was so happy I just followed you everywhere you went (like when I

was little) because I didn’t want you to get taken away again.

I know you have big dreams; they are simple, really, but in this situation it seems as if they are big dreams. Your dream is to help the helpless, the powerless to have their life the way it’s supposed

to be, life of a human being, able to survive in their own country. My dream is also simple but in this situation it is a big dream. My dream is to have our family safe, in peace and I can do my duty as a child taking care of my parents. I don’t have much ambition, I only want a normal life which you worked hard to give me but I want to have you all in it.

You must stay strong. Brother has inherited bravery from you. He is a very grown up man. We are all proud of him although I feel guilty that he didn’t have his youth the way he should have. And he will keep our family strong. We pray and hope for the best. We have help from many

friends and we thank the miracle that brought them to us. We will continue to fight with you and for you.

I have learned to never take anything for granted and appreciate the beauty of life like the moment a snowflake fall on my hand. And I want so much for you and our family to have that peaceful moment one day. I am waiting for the day I get to hug you again and our last hug 6 years ago would not be the last. And you will have a camera in your hands again and the beautiful moments will be captured forever.

I love you.

Your daughter

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