If he’s serious about it, Makati Congressman Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s bill amending the libel law is something journalists should be able live with, even if only temporarily.
Locsin’s amendment to Article 354 of the Revised Penal code, which defines libel and punishes it with prison terms, would make voluntary publication of a reply from someone who believes himself aggrieved by the media — or the media offender’s retraction of any suggestion or implication of wrongdoing — a guarantee against being sued for libel.
Only a people with self-confidence issues and a massive inferiority complex are as touchy as Filipinos. And only a political class that serves no purpose other than to amuse them and to pander to their worst instincts 24/7 reacts as quickly to every joke uttered in the planet that has the remotest reference to these isles of absurdity.
In a reprise of the teacup storm over a column by a Hongkong hack who said the Philippines was “a nation of servants,” some Filipinos are beside themselves over Alec Baldwin’s tongue-in-cheek threat to import a Filipina mail order bride who can bear his children. Baldwin made the remark while a guest in TV’s The Late Show with David Letterman.
I’m sure they didn’t consult each other. But in an uncanny demonstration of the truth that regime minds think alike, within two days of each other the Speaker of the House and the Secretary of Justice used the same metaphor in dismissing Philip Alston’s April 29, 2009 follow- up report to the UN Human Rights Council.
On May 10, a day after the 2009 report was made public, Prospero Nograles dismissed a call from some party list members of Congress to expel retired general Jovito Palparan from the House of Representatives, and urged them to instead look into the extra- judicial killings (EJK) in Davao.
Muhammad Ali was no dupe and no unthinking conformist. Instead of going the way of all black boxers to advance his career (which was to shut up and to do as he was told), he made his opinions known, no matter how unpopular they were at the time, and it cost him.
Ali refused to be drafted for the Vietnam war, which he considered immoral, and to fight in which blacks would be mocking themselves and contributing to the conquest of a people against whom they had no quarrel.
The proclamation of Jovito Palparan and of Ma. Lourdes Arroyo as party-list representatives has shocked and amazed those Filipinos who’re still capable of those reactions in this country of wonders.
Palparan is the first nominee, and now the congressman, of a group called Bantay, which he says is a party list group of security guards and of the victims of the New People’s Army, the guerillas of which he sees everywhere, including in the very House of Representatives of which he’s now a part. (He insists that Bayan Muna Representative Satur Ocampo was and still is an NPA guerilla.)