Stop blogging, regulate the Internet – Pangandaman, Esleyer, Sadsad

Three stories in three weeks condemning the use of the Internet for freedom of speech. (Or libel, you decide.) We’re on a roll!

The cabinet secretary

Agrarian Reform Secretary Nasser Pangandaman pleaded to bloggers to stop blogging about the Valley Golf incident because the whole issue has gotten so big that it has traumatized his family, especially his grandson.

“I appeal to the bloggers to stop this. They also have their families, they have parents and siblings. Our family is already hurting. I hope this doesn’t happen to you (bloggers),” the secretary said.

The de la Pazes and Pangandamans are battling it out in the courts. Both parties have been penalized by the golf club. But everybody was traumatized by this, Mr. Secretary, and not just your grandson. It’s why we blogged about it.

The hospital owner and the journalists

Visayan Star columnist Primo Esleyer concludes that Congress should move to regulate the Internet because he received word from a hospital owner that its officials are “using the Internet to malign her”.

Congress should press a law regulating the use of Internet. Dr. Evangeline Johnson, owner of Our Lady of Mercy Hospital and another hospital in Iloilo complained to the NBI of hospital secretary and the other nursing college secretary allegedly using the Internet to malign her.
We believe the NBI can do the job. We want to help Dr. Johnson by getting in touch with our friend, local NBI Boss, Atty. Mamerto Cortez. But, what is necessary is having Congress to enact a law to stop abuses through the Internet.
Businesses and personalities can be destroyed. Libel law must include the Internet. We are confident Dr. Evangeline Johnson will stand up and fight.

This opinion was later echoed by Panay News Philippines:

THERE must be a law regulating the use of the internet.
This is because there are many bloggers abusing this wonderful communication facility never before imagined by previous generations.
Bloggers with evil minds use the internet to malign and vilify innocent people.
Even granting for the sake of argument that they have reasons to vilify and libel their subjects for personal reasons, such act is tantamount to condemnation without due process of law.
This is true in the case of Dr. Evangeline Camarista Johnson, who has been the object of scurrilous, libelous and defamatory allegations not proven beyond reasonable doubt before a court of law.
Internet posts about her paint her as inhuman, not capale of doing the right things, and an evil woman who victimizes unsuspecting rich people for pecuniary gain.
We pity her because she has been vilified, villainized and scandalized.
We agree with Bacolod City columnist Primo Esleyer that Congress should pass a law regulating the use of the internet, and that libel laws must include the internet because of abuses by charlatans and people with evil minds.
We know the author of the blog that continuously maligns Dr. Johnson.
We hope he will come to his sense that what he is doing is not right and that later on, the law of karma will fatally strike him.

I agree that we should not tolerate any kind of abuse, including libel. But regulating the Internet is a dreadful scenario that just erases our right to call our country a democracy.

The science high school principal

Update (01/18/09): The suspension has been lifted by the Department of Education. Please read the clarifications by one of the 4 students involved.

Four students from Quezon City Science High school were suspended for 10 days because they defamed their principal Dr. Zenaida Sadsad on their blogs.

While Sadsad cites the school’s code of discipline as grounds for the suspension, Department of Education Undersecretary Franklin Sunga warned against it:

“We have to be very careful about punishing students for what they are going to write because of the constitutional right of all persons, including the students, the right of the freedom of expression and of the speech. Public officials should not have onion skin. They should be more tolerant about criticism,” Sunga said in an interview with QTV’s Trisha Zafra.

Now you have to look at the situation in QueSci that led to these students being suspended. These students seem to be reacting to what Dr. Zenaida Sadsad has done to their school.

From shenanigans? at my alma mater? SAY IT AIN’T SO! (June 22, 2008):

  1. “Removed Mr. Rex San Diego from his position as school paper adviser”
  2. “Stopped the operation of both The Electron and The Banyuhay”
  3. “Stopped Quesci from joining any local competitions…All other competitions without an international level—the MTAP included—are to be ignored completely”
  4. “Varsity squads have already been disbanded”

From Happy Birthday, Quesci! (September 17, 2008):

  1. Condemned the use of the Internet and blogging during its foundation day and graduation: “Wala nang inter internet, pa-blog blog. Kalimutan na ang mga internet, mga blog blog.”
  2. Barred their school choir Himig Xientia from singing
  3. Advised teachers, “pakialaman niyo naman ang mga ibang bagay ng mga bata”
  4. Declared “walang magagawa ang sinuman sa anumang nangyayari sa Kisay”

How can a principal cause this much damage to a school and get away with it? If there were to be a dialogue between the administration and the student body, however, how can it not be a futile exercise if her actions are so dictatorial and demoralizing?

The posts at GOD SAVE THE QUEEN OUST SADSAD show that the resistance continues. While the insulting images, jokes, songs, and acts of vandalism were just begging for disciplinary action, I’d say it’s a sign of how bad things have gotten. The principal will maintain her chokehold because of the students, and the students will continue act out because of the principal.

I hope things get fixed soon. I don’t want to see one of the best high schools in the country go down in flames like this.

The vilified

Can these people just stop running around with their lawsuits or bills or suspensions and settle things in a civilized manner?

They couldn’t. That’s why the de la Pazes, the hospital and nursing college secretaries, and the Quezon City Science high school students resorted to blogging. They felt nobody was listening to them, and nothing was being done about their grievances. Is it any coincidence that these three groups were up against persons with greater power than them?

The worst part is that Sec. Pangandaman, Dr. Johnson, Mr. Esleyer, and Dr. Sadsad blame the Internet for directing insult towards them, and conclude that regulating or banning its use would solve the problem. What ignorant, paranoid, and ungrateful wretches.

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