By Czarina Nicole Ong Ki
Overseas Filipino Worker (OFW) Elanel Egot Ordidor, a caregiver employed in Yunlin County, Taiwan, earned the ire of government officials after she made “nasty and malevolent” posts criticizing President Duterte and the government on Facebook.
Labor Attaché Fidel Macauyag said that Ordidor would be flown back to the country and slapped with a cyberlibel charge because her posts were intended “to cause hatred amid the global health crisis brought about by the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.”
However, Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Spokesperson Atty. Jacqueline Ann de Guia urged the government to rethink Ordidor’s deportation because the Bill of Rights, enshrined in the 1987 Constitution, guarantees the citizens’ freedom of speech, expression, or the right of the people to petition the government for redress of grievance.
“We continue to remind the government that public service requires a higher tolerance for opinions and criticisms, especially [when] a democracy works best when there are healthy discourses on governance; thereby, allowing greater accountability from our public officials,” said de Guia.
Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Silvestre H. Bello III announced on April 26 that “there will be an observance of due process” in the case of Ordidor, which the CHR appreciated.
However, the government did say that certain rights can be restricted in the context of public emergencies. The CHR cautioned against the application of these restrictions beyond the allowable parameters of human rights law.
“In the face of a pandemic which threatens almost every aspect of our life, we hope that the government, including its representatives here and abroad, can direct greater efforts in preserving the rights and dignity of Filipinos by finding ways to curb the transmission of the virus and cushion its impacts, especially to vulnerable sectors,” said de Guia