Responsible exercise of freedom of speech urged

Published July 19, 2020, 1:27 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

A person can exercise freedom of speech but must also be “man enough” to face the rule of law if the rights of others are trampled, according to Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar.

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar

Andanar maintained that free speech does not mean freedom from consequences, saying such right must be exercised responsibly.

“Yung sa freedom of speech, siyempre mayroong kaakibat iyan na responsibilidad eh kaya nga mayroon tayong batas pagdating sa slander, libel (On freedom of speech, it entails responsibilities.  That’s why we have laws on slander, libel),” he said over state television on Saturday.

“So kung mayroon kang sasabihin (So if you have something to say) eh you must be man enough to face the consequences or the rule of law,” he said.

Andanar made the remarks in support of President Duterte’s former assistant and now Sen. Christopher Go’s view against the abuse of freedom of expression.

Go has reportedly asked the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to probe some social media posts critical of him for possible violation of the cyberlibel law. The senator was widely ridiculed and bashed online over his alleged bullying tactic against critics.

Go, however, defended his legal action, saying he has nothing against free speech but cautioned against abusing such right to malign others.

“To the critics, if you’re telling the truth, continue with it. We respect your rights and opinion. If you think you’ve not done any illegal, you have nothing to worry and fear,” he said.

He said those breaking the law must be held accountable before the courts.

“If you are aware that you’re lying and you just want to malign your fellowmen by means of spreading fake news, you should answer for your sins if it will be proven that you’ve violated the law for what you have done,” he said.

“The court will be the one to decide on whether your accusations against me is in violation of the cybercrime Law, laws on libel, and other laws,” he added.