Court affirms order stopping NTC’s block vs website of online news outfit Bulatlat

Regional Trial Court

The Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) has upheld its preliminary injunction that ordered the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) to stop blocking the website of news outfit Bulatlat.

In a resolution, the RTC Branch 306 denied the motions for reconsideration filed by NTC and fellow respondent, former National Security Adviser Hermogenes C. Esperon Jr. The motions asked the trial court to withdraw the injunction in favor of Alipato Media Center, Inc. which operates Bulatlat.

“After carefully evaluating the arguments of all the parties, the Court resolves to deny the twin motions,” reads the six-page resolution of Presiding Judge Dolly Rose R. Bolante-Prado dated Oct. 10.

Judge Prado said the court saw “no compelling ground to reverse its finding that the plaintiff (Alipato Media) was able to sufficiently establish all the requisites for the issuance of a preliminary injunction.”

“It is undisputed that plaintiff, being the owner of, an online media outfit, has the right to freedom of speech and of the press,” the judge said.

“These rights, however, were violated when its website, among others, was ordered blocked by public defendant NTC through the Memorandum it issued on June 8, 2022,” she added.

The judge also refuted the claims of Esperon that the blocking of the website did not result from the NTC memorandum and called his argument “an irrational insistence to ignore what is already obvious.”

“In the same Memorandum, NTC states that it expects strict and immediate compliance of the directive from the ISPs (internet service providers), over which it exercises regulatory and supervisory powers,” Prado cited.

“Thus, it is but logical to assume that the blocking of can be largely attributed to the NTC Memorandum,” she pointed out.

It can be recalled that the NTC issued the memorandum based on the request of Esperon to block websites allegedly affiliated with communist rebels.

In the meantime, the injunction will remain enforced until the trial court has determine the merits of the case.