The global significance of the Ressa-Santos convictions

Co-authored with Jayvy Gamboa It baffles us how issues so central to our existence (referring to libel as a crime, and freedom of speech and of the press as fundamental rights) can still be so polarizing. But the first part of this series sheds light on the not-so-straightforward task of tracing Maria Ressa’s conviction. As a result, we …

Understanding the Ressa-Santos convictions

Co-authored with Jayvy Gamboa On June 15, 2020, the country saw the conviction of Rappler CEO and Executive Editor Maria Ressa and former researcher-writer Reynaldo Santos, Jr for cyber libel penalized under the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 – the first of probably many more to come. Ressa’s and Rappler’s supporters rally that it is the …

Free exercise of religion

In the landmark case of Estrada vs. Escritor, former Chief Justice Renato Puno traces the long history of jurisprudence on religious clauses in Philippine law, from the signing of the Treaty of Paris between the United States and Spain on December 10, 1898 when religious freedom was extended to the Philippine Islands by the Americans …

A dangerous turn for democracy

While the cyberlibel convictions of Rappler Executive Editor Maria Ressa and researcher Rey Santos are pending finality, this decision has become the worst decision on our great freedoms of press and speech (because we are all publishers now through our social media). Our  long line of jurisprudence on these rights  from 1918 in U.S. v. …

Maria Ressa’s conviction bad for Mindanao

Filipino translation; Bisaya translation On Monday, June 15, 2020, a Manila Regional Trial Court convicted Rappler Executive Editor Maria Ressa and Rappler former researcher Reynaldo Santos, of cyber libel. The decision stems from a 2017 case filed against Ms Ressa by prosecutors after a businessman disputed an article that he said inaccurately linked him to …

Freedom to assemble for protests

In the leading case of Reyes vs Bagatsing, decided in 1983, the Supreme Court observed that the  Constitution is explicit about our great freedoms: “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the Government for redress of grievances.” According …

Terrorizing us, but not the terrorists

Co-authored with Joy Reyes Filipino translation Voting 34-2 on May 29, with only Reps Karlos Zarate and Kit Belmote dissenting, the House committees on Public Order and Safety, and on National Defense and Security, essentially adopted the Senate’s version of the new terrorism act, otherwise known as “The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020” or SB No. …

Dura lex sed lex is obsolete

Co-authored with Jayvy Gamboa Filipino translation; Bisaya translation Do we aspire for a society that is harsh, or that is just? Many of our countrymen nowadays resort to the legal maxim dura lex sed lex, translated as “The law may be harsh, but such is the law,” whenever faced with an issue that concerns the law. …

Victory lap for bar results

With the release of the bar results last week, the Chair of the Bar Examinations Committee -Supreme Court Associate Justice Estela Perlas-Bernabe deserves accolades from the legal community and the public. Last year, this visionary Bar Chair promised that the exams will be “a fair test of the candidate’s aptitude and readiness for actual legal …

Release all Low-Risk and all Political Prisoners to Avoid Covid 19 Infection!

In just a matter of three months, the coronavirus has visited all continents, except Antarctica, and most countries and territories around the globe. In the race to stop the spread of Covid-19, governments are scrambling to set up measures in order to contain and mitigate its socio-economic impact, protect the most vulnerable members of society, …