Online libel, freedom of information, and what Filipinos have done with their freedom


yellowquestionmarkOutrage in the citizenry continues erupting over the recent ruling of the Supreme Court regarding the online libel clause in Republic Act 10175, A.K.A. the Cybercrime Law. Due to the online libel clause not being declared unconstitutional, social media is abuzz with discussion that the end of “freedom of speech” and “freedom of expression” draws near. Anybody who dares criticize the government could, and most likely end up facing a libel suit. Given that the head of the current government, president Benigno Simeon “BS” Aquino is hypersensitive and unwelcoming of criticism, that grim scenario looks to be a real one, indeed.

On the other hand, we’ve got the Freedom of Information (FOI) Bill – something that collectively, Philippine lawmakers are trying very hard to bury and forget. Recall that this was a promise of BS Aquino during his presidential campaign which, up to this day, remains unfulfilled. It looks like it will stay that way.

What the online libel clause of RA 10175 and the FOI Bill seemingly have in common is that they both point to a “freedom” that Filipinos think they are entitled to. A freedom that they supposedly “earned” in 1986. Whenever the commemoration of the EDSA I revolution creeps up every year, the whole issue behind this “freedom” becomes pointed and poignant.

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The question that needs to be asked, in light of the bigger picture, is this: have Filipinos been able to use their “freedom” responsibly?

Recall that in 1986 Filipinos went to the streets to oust a man they had perceived as a dictator who needed to go. By that time his government was losing control, and he didn’t have long left to live due to his deteriorating health. After the military withdrew its support of then president Ferdinand Marcos, Marcos stepped down eventually. His successor was dubbed an “icon of democracy”, none other than Corazon Aquino, BS Aquino’s mother.

Filipinos relished their freedom and their “democracy”. They interpreted their “democracy” as a license to do anything they want regardless of the consequences. They had the power to choose their government officials through elections. They could express themselves in whatever ways they want without fear of censorship. They could strut their sense of self-importance. They could throw discipline and the sense of a bigger community out the window.

In other words, they want back to their old, clannish, dysfunctional ways.

Fast forward 28 years later, after being out of a “cage” for that long, Filipinos will fight tooth and nail to avoid being put back in. Anyone who attempts to do so is evil, a dictator, and an enemy of the Filipino people.

So what did they do with their freedom? Filipinos essentially used it to run themselves to the ground and keep themselves from progress.

With this in mind, it would be worth thinking about and questioning the assumption that Filipinos deserve their “freedom”.


Let’s relate this to the online libel clause. Even before the advent of social media and the internet, Filipino society already seemed to be an inherently libel-prone one. On one hand, Filipinos are insufferable gossips. They will resort to spreading rumors and bits of “enlightening information” about other people if they feel slighted for whatever reason – and usually it’s personal even if it needn’t be. They easily believe hearsay and take it as a very reliable source of information without verification as needed. On the other hand, Filipinos are extremely hypersensitive about receiving criticism. They don’t take dissent very well, especially if it’s well-founded. Filipinos also like to believe that they are entitled to be exempt from scrutiny.

With regards to freedom of information, Filipinos have always had opportunities to scrutinize their government officials before and after they choose them. However, they don’t like tough questions – both giving and receiving. They are resourceful when they choose to be, but when it comes to public affairs, it seems they would rather treat their public servants as infallible. And once they do get their information, they would rather blackmail people instead of hold them accountable.

If Filipinos haven’t been using their freedom in these two aspects very responsibly, then why are they acting like the dog in the hay from the fable?

It seems they have no use for that freedom.

“Democracy works only when the people understand the limitations of democracy. When people think only of the freedoms of democracy and know nothing of the implied responsibilities, democracy will not bring the goodness that it promises.” – Mahathir Mohamad

And the same goes for freedom. When people think only of being free and not of the implied responsibility with this freedom, no good will come out of it.

Once again, another one of those things that make you go hmm…

35 Replies to “Online libel, freedom of information, and what Filipinos have done with their freedom”

    1. Most filipina would love our big sister Kris to become our president. It is good that you now use **** to comply with our new laws, Pnoy is succeeding at bringing civility back to the internet, even among his rudest critics.

      2016 we can watch our big sister evolve into her destiny to become our ruler, in her mother legendary footstep. She is my biggest inspiration, and she take the ceiling so high to provide to opportunity and respect for all the sisterhood.

      Dear Kris! We will all be support you! We love you big sister!

      1. If bringing “civility” means revoking my right to freedom of speech like what PNoy is going to do…then I’d rather be a rebel with good intentions than an obvious Aquino kiss-a** like you.

      2. “Our ruler”

        What are we then? Loyal subjects? Pheasants? of the Kingdom of the Aquinos? You better wake up, Yumi, and smell the crap. The Aquino clan were never for the Philippines. They are only at it for their own selfish ends and gains at the expense of all the honest, hard working, taxpaying, filipinos.

        1. Nice.

          “No one expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise, fear and surprise; two chief weapons, fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency! Er, among our chief
          weapons are: fear, surprise, ruthless
          efficiency, and near fanatical devotion to
          the Pope! Um, I’ll come in again…”
          Graham Chapman

          And anyone who wants the best of political satire just needs to view Spitting Images on youtube.
          I bet every politician featured wanted to sue, but always said how much they enjoyed it!. It kept them in their place.

  1. An alternative EDSA lunch

    The strippers will wear kris aquino masks at the commemorative lunch tomorrow, whilst the housemaid plays cory aquino, in a rubber gimp outfit, hiding under the table, and the servants will wear pnoy aquino masks, or to save money, just a gormless grin. (They usually do that anyway)
    Target practice on an effigy of ninoy aquino will be provided for entertainment, after the cheese and port.
    Any guests who fail to contribute 10% of the cost will be forced to become INC cult members, or to work as a malacanan troll.

    Bon appetit.

    Vive la liberté

    “History is a set of lies agreed upon.”
    Napoleon Bonaparte

    “If Comrade Napoleon says it, it must be right.”
    Boxer – animal farm – george orwell

  2. There is no such thing as ‘Freedom’ here on this planet. You will only find “Freedom” when your buried in the ground. It is all just a matter of who you are going to serve. A who gets what and when situation.
    The Philippines is one HOT mess.
    Suggestion: Try to find a li’l peace and quiet, then do what you must do.

    1. @Bjorn

      “There is no such thing as Freedom here on this planet.”

      Twenty-eight years ago, I was a military volunteer in the one and only EDSA Revolution. I was there to stop our people from killing each other. Why? Because I did not like our people to be divided. A united people also stood against the NPA and rejected them. The NPA were very strong during that time. I rallied to the red, white and blue of the Philippine Flag. I rejected the yellow color because it was just a political symbol. Cory never appeared at EDSA. We symbolically broke our chains from the Marcos dictatorship. For one shining moment in Philippine history the Filipinos united and restored Freedom! That Freedom we achieved is tangible, real and recorded in history books! Yes! There is such a thing as Freedom here on this planet! As long as there are Freedom loving men, women and children willing to make a stand against tyranny Freedom will exist! There is still unfinished business in this country that has to be taken cared of. We all know about the sorry state this country is in. Di palulupig! Di pasisiil!

      1. @ Thomas Jefferson….

        Well, I’m happy for you and that you were there.I was not there but I was at Mrs. Aquino’s funeral.Oddly enough and thru a very strange series of events. SO? What is it that really happened?
        Take a look back and then scan the intervening years that lead up to today.
        What do you see? A tyranical dictator was ousted and what did the people get?
        Nothing really changed. What a vote? Take a look at the constitution and who wrote it, how certain ‘freedoms’/things are left out.By the people who wrote it and how those people or their families are still there, writing the laws.(Look at who was last to jump the Marcos ship and who was one of the writers of the resulting Constitution.).
        The FOI bill that has never materialized for starters. What has ended up happening is almost as bad as Marcos. But now the people have the illusion that somehow their vote matters.LOL!!!
        Oh yeah,Ridiculous ‘automated’ machines counting the votes that are being bought by people who pay P300 per family to vote for them. I could keep going…no point to. Your a bright guy,li’l abrasive, BUT you can figure it out.

        I did not make up the slogan:”Find the cost of freedom, buried in the ground.”. Nor the slightly different one spoken by a Man,on the night before he died (a Man who new he was going to be killed):His tombstone reads:”Free at last, thank God almighty, I am free at last.”. Free beCoz he is dead. You will no doubt serve somebody, and you will never be free, until you breathe your last breath…and BTW, neither will I….and I do not care.
        That freedom shit? It is an illusion.
        And all of that is without going into the realm of Metaphysics.
        and ‘Da palulupig’? just because you have an indomitable spirit, doesn’t mean your free.Congratulations.

        1. Being imprisoned by your own stupidity and naivete may well mean a lifelong sentence for you, but don’t judge others by your own inadequacies and failures.
          Some succeed, some fail. Live with it, or do something about it, rather than just constantly bitch like a little girl.
          So boring and pathetic. The victim mentality.

        2. @ Libertas, spoken like the Typical flip-tard you are. MYOB, if I want any shit from you, I’ll squeeze your head.

  3. It’s Feedom with the Responsibility, to do Right…Freedom of Expression is a Sacred thing. When, you stop people, from uncovering your misdeeds; then, you want to continue in your corruption.
    Aquino has built a Myth on himself and his family. He has some followers, who owwe their loyalty to him He must have given to them, something back , at our expense.

    I remember watching the video of the time the U.S. Army, entered and liberated the Death Camp , at Dachau (pronounced: Da-kow), Nazi Germany. They found corpses piled like logs, everywhere. The stench was about ten (10) Km, away from any pheriphery. Next day, the U.S. Army forced the Dachau residents, to go inside the Death Camp. All the resident had to mumble is: “We were all lied to , by this Nazi regime” So, the U.S. Army forced the local Nazi leaders to bury the rotting corpses, under the threat of being bayoneted.

    It had happened in human history. We don’t want this to happen in our country.

    “Those who don’t remember the past are condemned to repeat it”; as per eorge Santayana.

  4. Very lucidly put.

    “Man is born free but everywhere is in chains”

    It seems that there is a constant imbalance between abdicating responsibility to ‘leaders’, and naively expecting those ‘leaders’ to do the right thing, which is inevitably going to end in repeated failure, since elected ‘leaders’ are rarely of integrity, and always have personal agenda/self-interest uppermost.

    This is magnified in a system governed by dynastic politics, and driven by patronage, to such an extent that corruption is now both endemic and sytemised, and even accepted within the culture.

    Once a politician is on the rollercoaster, the more corrupt he is, the more he can progress. The system almost ensures that only the corrupt will reach the top

    Without depriving the alcoholic of drink nothing changes. Without breaking the dynastic addiction to power/easy money nothing will change. Without having a ‘monitoring democracy’ (media, FoI, etc) it gives the alcoholic access to a free bar, and the politician access to the tax-payers ATM with no recourse from a subjugated press.

    “People shouldn’t be afraid of their
    government. Governments should be afraid
    of their people.”
    Alan Moore

    And without a party system politicians act as individual entities with no accountability, or party leader to admonish/sanction their actions.
    I suspect that if you looked at the profile of congressmen few have achieved in the rigours and discipline of the corporate world or professions. Hard work, professional qualifications, accountability, contribution and constant success are alien to their very dna.

    Pnoy aquino has further undermined the fabric of society and the very essence of democracy. And for that alone he should be castigated.

    “Democracy must be something more than
    two wolves and a sheep voting on what to
    have for dinner.”
    James Bovard

  5. What better way to celebrate our “freedom” than to introduce something that will end our freedom of speech?

    PNoy’s really building a “great” legacy here, folks. A nation of butthurts does not deserve economic and social progress at all, given the current nature of things in the Philippines.

    I find it funny that some of PNoy’s supporters state that Filipinos are intelligent voters – Kris Aquino’s eventual win for a position of power from these idiots will prove otherwise.

    1. They are ultimately proven wrong since they have “elected” someone who is ultimately not fit to lead this country and now we are paying for their stupidity.

      1. Funny how they say her charisma is enough to lead the country yet they can’t say anything as for her political and law-making abilities.

        No self-respecting citizen will vote for someone who constantly seeks the attention of other people and having an unstable life that I don’t give a f’k about.

        1. If Kris’ charisma is enough to lead the country why the hell vote or promote Noynoy??? His wisdom?? Sorry I have an appointment with a barf bag.

        2. They are clearly not thinking straight since we all know how inexperienced kris is in politics.
          The only thing she has experience is on the bed and endorsing shitty shows and shitty products.

        3. @Gogs, it’s obvious why people voted for Nonoy: He’s the son of a martyr and an oligarch, that’s all. Hard to admit it but Kris’ showbiz career is even more successful than Nonoy’s presidential term.

          However, just because she has the charisma and a few more brain cells than PNoy does not automatically mean she can already lead a nation…and there’s no logic with the claims of these Aquino sympathizers that Kris is capable of running the country with just charisma alone.

        4. Ninoy Aquino Jr was not a martyr. He went back to the Philippines, knowing that whatever happens, his family will be at the helm. Not for the filipino people, but only for his family’s self interests.

  6. It’s just infuriating when these politicians give more time for laws like these while they provide no solution whatsoever to more horrible crimes like rape, and drug trafficking.

    1. I beg to differ.

      RA 10175 is a poorly written law that is legally defective owing to the fact that the Aquino administration introduced provisions that tend to curtail freedom of expression and subvert due process. But that should not diminish the fact that the objectives of the other parts of the law are commendable such as the tools to combat online child pornography and similar acts of exploitation. Issues with which you are undoubtedly concerned.

      It is frustrating that because the Aquino government was so clumsy in the handling of RA 10175, its effectiveness in addressing these more repugnant crimes is lessened as the whole of the law now comes into question.

    2. I hear you Dirch. Let’s distract people from our incompetency by creating this new arena to give the illusion we are doing something . Neither will work but let’s do something to show we are doing something.

  7. Hey repressive regime by the stinking river… Try to decipher this alpha-numeric code and see if there is libel.

    … – MAL143HATE666NOY007ASS357WHOLE44SMELL006BAD65421GRID51007DISSAPEAR009DOA!?>>>7865439

  8. Aquino is trying to stop the bloggers, who are exposing his : greed, incompetence, corruption aand virtual dictatorship. I have told you earlier, he is worse than Marcos.

    He wants to make the whole Philippines , like his Province of Tarlac. His family, and business and political cahoots are backing him.

    The NPA MAFIA, who have an ulterior motive, are pulling the strings behind him…

    1. He’s not gonna succeed since its impossible to implement it here. He has no right to take away our freedom to criticise him for his incompetence. We are tax payers yet he uses our tax to fund his army of online idiots. Down with the system, down with the dictator!

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