Baguio’s anti-profanity ordinance questioned

Published November 8, 2018, 5:27 PM

by AJ Siytangco

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senate Majority Leader Juan Miguel Zubiri believes that prohibiting people from cursing in public places would violate the constitutional right to free speech.

Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri (Facebook / MANILA BULLETIN)
Senator Juan Miguel Zubiri

Zubiri, during the regular Kapihan sa Senado on Thursday, commented on the anti-profanity ordinance passed in Baguio City which bans cuss words or obscene languages in places frequented by children, such as schools, universities, restaurants, and bars.

Business establishments were also required to post “no-cursing” signs within their premises.

The ban applies whether or not the curse was directed to a person, or was spoken as an expression.

“Because under the Constitution, we have the constitutional right to freedom of speech… It may be immoral to curse or to cuss, but it’s the right of every Filipino people to do so if they want to,” he said.

While the city ordinance does not impose penal sanctions on violators, Zubiri said the ordinance can be questioned legally.

“It’s everyone’s legal right to say what they want to say. We want to talk gay speak or the ‘P word’, it’s up to them. For some, it may be immoral, but it is not illegal to curse in public,” he said.

Asked about President Duterte, who was also known to use expletives in his speeches, Zubiri said he does not mean that the Chief Executive is immoral for doing such.

Zubiri said he defends the right to free expression “as long as he is not inciting to sedition or rebellion.”