EDSA hijacked

Standard

DESPITE its failure to deliver on its promises, some Filipinos still hail the 1986 EDSA uprising as a model of how peacefully change can be achieved.

The shift in Thailand from military rule to democracy in 1992, and the fall from power of Indonesia’s Suharto in 1998, for example, were supposedly among the political upheavals the event inspired. Changes in other parts of Asia and in Eastern Europe have similarly been credited to the demonstration effect of Philippine People Power, or EDSA 1986.

Continue reading

Actors studio

Standard

AS if to remind us all, especially those so enthralled by Hollywood they look forward to it every year, that February is also Oscar Awards month, the word “acting” has been in much use lately in the vocabularies of some people in these isles of inequity.

Renato Corona and his defense lawyers have been saying it since Day One of the Corona impeachment trial. But they have recently resumed describing some senators as “acting” more like members of the House of Representatives prosecution team than independent judges.

Continue reading

Information, a human right

Standard

THE AQUINO administration submitted last week to the House of Representatives Committee on Public Information its third version of a Freedom of Information bill. The same bill was also submitted to the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media.

Apparently convinced that the administration had finally drafted a bill acceptable to the media and the public, Mr. Aquino himself announced its submission to Congress during his speech at the commemoration of the 112th anniversary of the newspaper Manila Bulletin, describing the Palace handiwork as “a substitute Freedom of Information Bill, which we believe addresses stakeholders’ desires to have more transparency and more access to information in government.” The word “substitute” is in reference to the bill’s being an alternative to the more liberal (and less problematic) Tañada bill the 14th Congress killed in 2010, about which the Aquino administration apparently has reservations.

Continue reading

Colonial and repressive

Standard

THE administration of Benigno Aquino III must review Philippine libel law, decriminalize libel, and compensate a Filipino journalist for the time he was imprisoned for libel. These are the recommendations of the United Nations Human Rights Committee (UNHRC), which has expressed the view that the country’s libel law is at odds with Section 2 Article XIX of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which the Philippines ratified in 1986.

The ICCPR is part of the International Bill of Rights. Section 2 of Article XIX states that “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”

Continue reading