The Commission on Human Rights on Monday hit the supposed “repressive” actions against the editor-in-chief of the University of the East’s campus paper “The Dawn.”
“The CHR condemns this blatant disregard for Molo’s dignity and fundamental human rights. Right to freedom of opinion and expression are the lifeblood of a democratic society. Efforts by government and non-government entities to suppress non-violent expression could lead to far more dangerous and compromising outcomes, as free speech is a necessary precondition to the enjoyment of other rights such as freedom of assembly and association, press freedom, and right to vote among others. Laws are meant to protect rights, not curtail them,” lawyer-spokesperson Jacqueline Ann de Guia said.
On his personal social media account, Molo criticized how the government was handling the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis, “but these remarks did not sit well with the opinions of his former teachers,” CHR said. One of them reported Molo to authorities and allegedly threatened to file a cyberclibel case against him if he would not issue a public apology. Molo was summoned to the barangay hall of San Fernando Sur, Nueva Ecija.
“We reiterate that dissent and expression of grievance against government actions and views are not crimes -- but are constitutionally recognized rights. Instead of going after individuals and organizations who articulate their dissatisfaction to government response to the current crisis, addressing the main issues, such as hunger, unemployment, and other pressing concerns must be prioritized. Dissenting voices are necessary and should be given space in order to allow better leadership,” the commission said.
“How our society tolerates and entertains the most minority and disfavored views reflects how it values and recognizes the worth of our fundamental freedoms. We call on every Filipino to remain vigilant in defending our freedom of expression while holding the real perpetrators of anti-people policies, not the innocents, to account. Instead of shrinking democratic spaces, our collective goal should always improve the way each and everyone’s rights are upheld, guided by the laws that protect them,” it added.