DILG backs restrictions on websites of 'Red-linked' groups

An official of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) sees nothing wrong with the order of the National Security Council (NSC) to restrict the websites of groups tagged as allies of the communist rebels.

DILG Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya said the legal basis in restricting these websites primarily emanates from Republic Act (RA) No. 11479 otherwise known as "The Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020" citing particularly the first paragraph of Section 2.

Section 2 of RA No. 11479 states “it is declared a policy of the State to protect life, liberty, and property from terrorism, to condemn terrorism as inimical and dangerous to the national security of the country and to the welfare of the people, and to make terrorism a crime against the Filipino people, against humanity, and against The Law of Nations.’’

Malaya noted that it is clear that “terrorism” is declared explicitly as a crime, not only against the Filipino people but also of humanity and the laws of nations.

In this connection, the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) has issued three resolutions declaring the CPP-NPA-NDF and their central committee members as terrorists and terrorist organizations pursuant to par. 3 of Sec. 25 of the said law.

“In light of the declaration of policy of RA 11479, the resolution of the ATC, and in order to implement the same, restricting or blocking the web-sites of the declared terrorist organizations and their members are in accordance with law,” Malaya said.

“It cannot be denied that the propaganda contained in the terrorist web-sites are being used to advance the illegal cause of the terrorists, in this case the CPP-NPA-NDF, which is to overthrow the government through violent means and destroy our democratic way of life. I wish to emphasize that inciting to commit terrorism is a criminal act in Sec.9 of RA 11479, which reads: Section 9. Inciting to Commit Terrorism.- Any person who, without taking any direct part in the commission of terrorism, shall include others to the execution of any of the acts specified in Section 4 hereof by means of speeches, proclamations, writings, emblems, banners or other representations tending to the same end,” he added.

The DILG and NTF-ELCAC spokesperson added that those affected by this sanction may advance the argument that the same is a curtailment of their freedom of speech.

“However, this should fail because freedom of speech is not absolute as held by the Supreme Court in Gonzales v. COMELEC, 137 Phil. 471, 494,’’ he noted.

“Some types of speech may be subjected to some regulation by the State under its police power, in order that it may not be injurious to the equal right of others or those of the community or society,” Malaya said.

Malaya stated that even the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights recognizes that freedom of speech and expression has limitations, particularly on issues of national security and public order, which is the very purpose why the terrorist CCP-NPA-NDF websites are being blocked. (Chito A. Chavez)