NPC Cebu’s position on legislated Right to Reply

‘Right to Reply’ bill unconstitutional

We, members of the newly reorganized National Press Club Cebu, join fellow media groups like the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC), the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in expressing our deep concern over the efforts of some congressmen and senators to curtail press freedom in the guise of legislating the “right to reply.”

A law that dictates what journalists will publish or broadcast is patently unconstitutional. The right to reply bills — House Bill No. 3306 and Senate Bill No. 2150 — precisely seek to impose the editorial judgement of congressmen and senators on gatekeepers at the newsroom. The bills intend to enforce penalties on news executives and owners for not publishing replies in the same space or program within a specific period. It constitutes prior restraint and violates the constitutional right of press freedom.

RTC Judge Meindrado Paredes inducts the officers of the newly reorganized National Press Club Cebu, namely, Emmanuel 'Anol' Mongaya of Superbalita and Sun.Star Cebu, club president; Eddie Barrita of Philippines News Agency (PNA), vice president for print; Ely Baquero of Sun.Star Cebu and Bantay Radyo, vice president for radio; Janice Callino of IBC 13, secretary; Fred Languido of The Freeman and DYLA, public relations officer; Job Tabada of Cebu Daily News,, treasurer; Mitchelle Palaubsanon of The Freeman, auditor; and Manny delos Santos Rabacal of CCTN, vice president for television. Not in the photo are directors John Rey Saavedra of Banat News, Ely Espinosa of Sun.Star Cebu and Superbalita, and Godofredo Roperos of Sun.Star Cebu and Cebu Catholic Television Network. The induction and Press Freedom Week club fellowship was held at the Wang Shan Lo Restaurant at the 20th floor of Club Ultima last September 25, 2008 in uptown Cebu City.
RTC Judge Meindrado Paredes inducts the officers of the newly reorganized National Press Club Cebu, namely: Emmanuel Mongaya of Superbalita and Sun.Star Cebu, club president; Eddie Barrita of Philippines News Agency (PNA), vice president for print; Ely Baquero of Sun.Star Cebu and Bantay Radyo, vice president for radio; Janice Callino of IBC 13, secretary; Fred Laguido of The Freeman, public relations officer; Job Tabada of Cebu Daily News, treasurer; Mitchelle Palaubsanon of The Freeman, auditor; and Manny delos Santos Rabacal of Cebu Catholic Television Station (CCTN), vice president for television. Not in the photo are the directors Godofredo Roperos of Sun.Star Cebu and CCTN, Ely Espinosa of Sun.Star Cebu and Superbalita, and Joyhn Rey Saavedra of Banat News.

The advocates of the bills argue that freedom of the press is not absolute. They say that offended parties have also the right to have their side published or aired. They even advance the argument that the bills will widen the freedom of expression by requiring the publication or broadcast of media reports and commentaries deemed inaccurate, unfair or biased, and injurious to reputations.

But newspapers and news programs are not passive mouthpieces. The choice and treatment of material especially on public issues and public officials — whether fair or unfair — constitute editorial control and judgement. This is integral in the news media’s function as the Fourth Estate. Our congressmen and senators should leave editors to freely do their jobs.

Moreover, we journalists consider fair play, accuracy and responsibility basic tenets in the conduct of our profession. We serve society best under an atmosphere of freedom sans interference from legislators who want to play editors.

Besides, offended parties already have a wide array of options in airing their sides against what they deem unfair or inaccurate news reports and commentaries. Offended congressmen and senators could deliver lengthy privilege speeches and even malign the object of their ire at the Congress floor before live television without fear of libel suits.

We in Cebu hope our legislators will see the light and reject the bills outright. But in the unfortunate possibility of passage of the bills into law, we will join our colleagues in going to court and win a major victory for press freedom.

National Press Club Cebu
October 2, 2008

National Press Club Cebu
October 2, 2008

Emmanuel ‘Anol’ Mongaya of Superbalita and Sun.Star Cebu, club president
Eddie Barrita of Philippines News Agency (PNA), vice president for print
Ely Baquero of Sun.Star Cebu and Bantay Radyo, vice president for radio
Janice Callino of IBC 13, secretary
Fred Languido of The Freeman and DYLA, public relations officer
Job Tabada of Cebu Daily News, treasurer
Mitchelle Palaubsanon of The Freeman, auditor
Manny delos Santos Rabacal of CCTN, vice president for television
John Rey Saavedra of Banat News,director
Ely Espinosa of Sun.Star Cebu and Superbalita, director
Godofredo Roperos of Sun.Star Cebu and Cebu Catholic Television Network, director


23 Replies to “NPC Cebu’s position on legislated Right to Reply”

  1. Senators who signed of on the Right to Reply wanted to withdraw their signature. Not because they found out it’s “flawed” because they’re being blackmailed by the so-called peryodistas by not covering their 2010 candidacy. Or viciously attacking them.

    By withdrawing their signature from Right to Reply means they allowed themselves to be blackballed by idiot peryodistas.

    That means peryodistas are criminal gangs of ignoramuses who cannot stand the heat of criticism.


  2. Civilized countries do not have rights-to-reply bill because it’s redundant. Their professional journalists heard the other side of the story to avoid innuendos and suggestive gossips thereby making their news factual.

    Look, let’s go back to Ces Drilon news blackout. Was there any news outfit that published opinion regarding the news blackout? NONE! ZERO! ZILCH! Intelligent journalists says they imposed news blackout so as not to ANGER Abu Sayaff when Abu Sayaff himself loves publicity. He even calls journalists where to find the beheaded soldier’s heads.

    Rebels loves publicity. Ces Drilon was person enough to catapult them that Abu Sayff exist.


  3. What about the Glorieta bombing? Any individuals should have the right-to-reply on Ayala’s terrorist angle. Terrorist are bad for the economy someone should have asked why Ayala loves that angle when scientific findings by FBI, CIA and Mossad says otherwise.

    If someone forgets Ayala looms large in Philippine economy.

    Has any journalists followed on Makati Business Club’s invistigation on Glorieta Bombing? Was it ever published?

    Did journalists redicule Supreme Court’s dipping into scientific studies made by CIA, FBI and Mossad? So Supreme Court will rule whether 1+1 is really equal to 2.

    Science is absolute. Period. We don’t need Supreme Court to decide.


  4. What about Nini Cabaero’s column regarding Oil companies “rolling back prices of gasoline”. Nini is making Oil companies like charitable institution.

    Philippine Oil companies are deregulated. When world market prices of oil goes down so does pump prices.

    There are plenty of illogical ignorant columns i’ve read. So ignorant that it incense me.


  5. If right-to-reply becomes into law, the best newspapers can do so as not to “waste” precious news space is STOP INNUENDOS, STOP SUGGESTIVE PLANTED GOSSIPS, VET TIPS, FACT-CHECK GOSSIPS and HEAR STORY OF THE OTHER SIDE. This way no party will have to make use of Rights-of-Reply. If it’s a fact, IT’S A FACT.

    Report factual news without unsubstantiated innuendos and suggestive gossip.

    Follow-up news morning after whose other side was not heard due to the party not able to respond within editorial time constraint. This way journalists are step ahead of the other party who were about to make rights-to-reply.

    Rights-to-reply is actually news that didn’t make it to print.

    Rights-to-reply is to correct the bias and prejudice of journalists.

    Rights-to-reply is filling blanks that was conveniently and intentionally left out by journalists.

    Rights-to-reply is to level the playing field. No more news for the rich, famous and powerful and the common people.

    Rights-to-reply is telling journalists to go back to school






  6. All I want from Rights-to-Reply is post my comments. My comments may be most of the time UNCOMFORTABLE TO COLUMNISTS AND NEWS REPORTERS. I attack sloppy reporting and illogical columns.


    Another thing about Rights-to-Reply is the pekeng-peryodistas try to steer the debate to between Politicians and pekeng-peryodistas. The Common People equation was NEVER in the mind of pekeng-peryodistas.

    Pekeng-peryodistas just wanted Rights-to-Reply trashed.

    Is the Philippine 4th Estate gone out of their mind? Are they low-IQ? Well, must be because we are Pilifinos.


  7. I don’t review my posts. Off my mind down to my fingertips and bam! I hit submit. I don’t dwell on syntaxes and spellings. Englisch is our second language, therefore, mere college graduate don’t mean they have perpekt country club englischtzes.

    Not speakengese impeccable perpekt goot country club englischtzes don’t mean they don’t have brain and ban them and delete their comments. They may have more sense than journalists who write long hours for a couple of paragraphs of column just to impress their literary prowess , prose and poetry.

    We are in dire straight. Englischtzes is not one of them. Let the people post comments regardless of their englischtzes and spellengs. Let’s listen to them as what Desiderata has said “they, too, have stories” to tell.


  8. Just to clarify … journalism is different from literature though newspapers may carry literary pieces in the inside pages.

    Philippine journalists are opposed to legislated right to reply because we already practice it though not in real time even as legislation encroach on editorial prerogative and press freedom.

    People who urge journalists to be responsible should at least display responsible writing to be credible before our readers. Nevertheless, I do not mind the more arrogant ones showing off their irresponsibility and ignorance about such topics as the right to reply as they reveal themselves by the way they write.

    Yes the practice of journalism has many flaws. But free democratic discourse has its way of sifting the chaff from the grain. On the other hand, legislating prior restraint in the guise of “right to reply” smacks of censorship.


  9. Journalism frowns on people who brashly and irresponsibly practice name-calling and propaganda. But I believe such posts have a place in my blog. What I censor are spam and flames.


  10. I don’t trust “Editorial Prerogatives” Philippine-style. I’ve seen plenty of censured rights-to-reply that was snuffed in the guise of “Editorial Prerogatives” already.

    These are high-profile “Editorial Prerogatives”
    – Instant pyrotechnic expert Ayala
    – CIA, Mossad, FBI was over-ruled by Ayala
    – Supreme Court to decide whether it was terrorist or spontaneous explosion
    – No articles re: Makati Business Club invistigation on Glorieta Bombing (MBC were “worried” because their very own insisted it was the works of terrorist)
    – Ces Drilon News Blackout
    – Bungling invistigation of ZTE by Senate
    – Mayor Isfanjani’s alleged pocketing part of Ces Drilon ransom money
    – Incredible amount spent by Luzonites on Jueteng in the year of Erap’s presidency (Alleged commission divided by percent of commission divided by population of Luzon in-the-year-of-Erap = money spent on Jueteng by every crawling two-legged luzonites in-the-year- of-Erap’s presidency. The government might as well run Jueteng)
    – Instant firing of ABS-CBN news crew to appease media’s source of news, the superintendent of police and their failure to redicule, attack the police superintendent
    – Wheeew plenty more high-profile news that’s really rediculously funny


  11. Here’s another “Editorial prerogative”, HEADLINE: Oil companies rolled back the price of oil!

    It’s either oil companies pricing policy are not dictated by deregulated freemarket state or “Editorial prerogative” says “let’s make oil companies look like angels and charitable to people”

    When international market prices go down so does pump prices.


  12. I know and you know that Right-to-Reply gets shoot down. 1st, Senate are afraid of the media especially the election is just around several pages of the calendar 2ndly, no matter what the media says about fairness, regardless they signed-off on the bill, politicians and I still doubt their sincerity.

    On the other hand survival of the media is topmost over innuendos, suggestive gossips and maligning an individual is top most. The critics of fair play (rights-to-reply) are more concerned of “precious space” & “cost” & “editorial prerogatives”.


  13. Media has to be regulated somewhat. Because as what Max Soliven used to say “media always have the last word” and that’s their “editorial prerogative”.

    Media has to be regulated somewhat because we are democratically and religiously IRRESPONSIBLE. Filipinos are not mature enough to exercise democracy and religion. We are still toddlers that needs guidance.


  14. Critics of Right-to-Reply is saying media alone has the monopoly of freedom of speech and further saying that if you want Right-to-Reply “Go ahead print your own newspaper”.

    If the media censure posted on-line comments under the guise of “moderation” and “editorial prerogative” how much more in print where COMMMON PEOPLE depends on source of gossips and innuendos?


    From Tordesillas to Manuel Quezon III to Sun*Star comments tab on their on-line version is a fluke. It’s a decoration. It’s useless. It’s a sign that the Senate cracks the whip on these newbees masquerading as 4th estate.


  15. Oh, Anol, on another subject. I know and very few knows that discrimination is institutionalize because of our oblivious state.

    From fiesta-sa-reyna to employment ads discrimination is smack in-your-face-who-cares.

    Take for example classified ads of Sun*Star need of journalist. I just wonder why someone has to submit a 2×2 picture? Aha! The screening process starts by LOOKS! If someone submit a 2×2 uglies. Bam! No need to waste time on this application.

    What about Wanted Ad with “pleasing personality”? Must be at least 25-years-old 5’5″ Graduate of accounting and yet end-up in backoffice job pushing papers.

    What about Miss Sinulog and Miss Earth! Dude, they don’t look like Cebuanas nor their names and last names sound like locals and yet people texted their vote and voila! our very own made me a 2nd class citizen in Cebu!


  16. Filipinos are BULAY-OG to the nth. Filipinos complain that they are treated like 2nd class citizen in our very own country. Filipinos complain about a law for the wealthy and law for the poor. Filipinos complain about news reporting-style for the wealthy and news reporting-style for poor.

    Yet, Filipinos adore white and fair skin over brown-skin-punked-nosed-curly-tops and we complain that we are 2nd class citizens? HOW OBLIVIOUS bigoted and racist CAN WE GET!!!!


    2×2 picture for sending application? I just wonder why? BUT I DO KNOW!!!


  17. There are plenty of subjects to cover in the Philippines. Politics is not my meat. What good is politics if people being led believes that 4th estate was right in Ces Drilon News BlackOut. What good is politics if people being led believes that Lozada accepted 500k in Philippine money to live forever in Hong-Kong to avoid the Senate. What good is politics if people believe that witnesses to ZTE hear and see, over thick walls, that money changed hands on ZTE contract.

    Columnists from Abangan to Sun*Star talk about politics as if they are talking about thermodynamics, chaos Theory and Evolution.

    Columnists jostle over who is right over who gets elected as if it’s the cure of our ills.

    There are plenty of subjects like why are we this way? Why are immigrants to America who are unemployable and eternally jobless in Philippines becomes “manager” in America and those who are fit, employable, eternally employed, good school, high-IQ when they go to America they are mere paper pushers led, commanded, controlled by led, commanded, controlled by degenerate low-IQ 3rdworld Filipinos.


  18. Another subject to talk on is why is it in exposing Filipinos ill they retort back “Kasi, pare, gano-on ka, e”.

    That’s why Social Scientist don’t exist in the Philippines else they get the same retort.


  19. Another “editorial prerogative” is on the furor over oil exploration in Tanon strait.

    We are sitting on potential millions-of-barrel of oil that can generate millions of dollars to feed millions of children and Filipinos and YET THEY’D RATHER SAVE THE DOLPHINS THAN SAVE THE CHILDREN!!!


    If Philippines go green, children will die! GREEN IS EXPENSIVE!

    If we are to install catayclismic converter in every busses and jeepneys do we really think peanut vendors, balut vendors, school children can afford the elevated fares?

    I love green environment, but now is not the time yet.


  20. … and who gets to watch the dolphins swim? They are mostly the Aboitizes to Zobels and foreign tourists … can I watch the dolphins swim in Tanon strait? IN MY DREAMS!


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