Charge them for every specific offense

"It is not the act of receiving foreign funds but their identification with the US intelligence services which could make them liable for the more serious crime of espionage or treason."

The matrix of conspirators involving media practitioners in the plot to bring down the Duterte government could either be a plain lie converted to propaganda to give the opposition a dose of their own medicine or it indeed exists to discredit the government by presenting that crudely and cowardly video clip titled “Bikoy” with his face meticulously hidden while alleging something that could hardly convince anybody. In fact, the video clip has been dismissed by many.

Yes, it is possible some media personnel are involved in the conspiracy to overthrow the government. But it takes more than their mouth to do that. Media groups such as Rappler, Vera Files, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ) and the National Union of People’s Lawyers which is identified with the CPP/NDF, are assiduously engaged in propaganda campaign. However, the government should exert extra effort to verify whether they are carrying out their duty to convey the truth or are plainly engaged in concerted propaganda to make them liable for subversion.

The government cannot just pounce on anybody who is critical of it, treating them summarily as enemies of the state. It takes more than an act of writing scurrilous articles to determine their liability. One must bear in mind that anybody who maliciously attacks the government or any of its officials can only be held liable for libel. But if there is prima facie evidence that the articles in question are part of the determined effort to undermine the government, then those involved can be held liable for subversion. Maybe this explains why subversion was decriminalized by the abrogation of R.A. No. 1700 or the Anti-Subversion Act and the subsequent presidential decrees punishing similar acts.

Frankly, to attribute to Ellen Tordesillas, the president of Vera Files Organization, as source of the black propaganda or alleged “nexus” of the materials to PCIJ, Rappler and to NUPL makes the whole narrative more ridiculous. If there is a case against her and her cabal, the government can do it fast by promptly filing the appropriate criminal charge of libel. Instantly, the burden would be shifted against them, as it is now their duty to prove their allegations. The charge of libel would simply compel them to recite in court all their allegations with an addendum that they prove it.

The government should take the offensive of interpreting laws against them and their foreign patrons. For instance, we can cite the issue of dual citizenship. Many have been using this as their sort of protective mantle from the arms of the law. Any Filipino citizen who opts to adopt the best of both worlds like being an American and a Filipino citizen at the same time should be on guard that any time, the government from which he abandons his full loyalty can also divest him of his citizenship. The slightest violation of the law could result in the cancellation of his citizenship, just as one is free to adopt the citizenship of his choice.

A dual citizen should be made to understand that once he chooses that status, he also loses the status as a natural-born citizen, and his political rights are now limited to that of a naturalized citizen. This means that his country of origin has the option to treat his citizenship as a privilege that can also be denied from him. Otherwise, the government would be discriminating its own citizens who do not have the option to select, choose or adopt that status often reserved for the rich.

Thus, a person should be made to understand that when he opted to adopt dual citizenship, the state has every right to cancel his original citizenship anytime he violates the law. He now stands as an undesirable alien. He can no longer hold on to his citizenship as a birthright. If a person openly flaunts his status to allow him to jump to the other side of the fence for protection, say for engaging in subversive activities, the government should be accorded a wider leeway to cancel his citizenship and deport him after serving sentence.

The government need not prove any specific offense committed but only to take cognizance of the fact that said person is of dual citizenship. Many are particularly annoyed, for instance, at the antics of Rappler operative Maria Ressa without her considering that dual citizenship is a mere privilege. In fact, she openly flaunts that her organization is funded by foreign media organizations with the gall to say that Rappler should be exempt from paying tax.

Ressa should not only be liable for tax evasion and libel but also for the more serious charge of subversion, being a foreign agent sporting dual citizenship. Many legal pundits believe subversion still applies for the fact that she can be treated as an alien. As such, she can be peremptorily deported for exhibiting contempt and hatred to a country she claims to be a citizen.

It is an unwritten rule that a person who sports the status of dual citizenship should refrain from publicly engaging in any partisan activity, more so if such activity is to denounce the government or any of its officials. It is a limitation that a dual citizen must accept and bear in mind. We cannot allow a dual citizen to slander the country and its officials, all for the fact that he is also a Filipino posing as journalist and dangling before us the license of freedom of the press.

For a long time, Rappler, Vera Files, PCIJ and even Transparency International have been violating Section 11 of Article XVI of the Constitution. What they are doing is an open defiance of our law, much as they are fully aware and have been informed of their transgression. It is not their unfounded criticisms and attacks to our duly constituted government that is disturbing. Rather, it is their act of impunity to taunt the government and the enforcing agency to come and get them.

While the rest of the local media organizations measure the limitation between press freedom from libel and from downright subversion, people who are employed and working for this front media organizations openly meddle in our internal affairs, thinking that they are above the law. Their arrogance is so nauseating that should the government attempt to protect itself against their scurrilous and libellous vilifications, they feel secure because their foreign brokers and host of international organizations that created their fictitious image as defenders of our freedom and democracy would readily come to their side.

In countries that refuse to bow down to US pressure, people connected with Rappler like Solita “Winnie” Monsod, Fulgencio “Jun” S. Factoran, Jr., Carlo Almendral, Glenda M. Gloria, Manny Ayala, Federico Prieto, and Maria Ressa of Rappler; Ellen Tordesillas, Luz Rimban , Jennifer Santiago, Chi Liquicia of Vera Files Organization; and Floreen Simon, Vino Lucero, Dona Lopez, Rachel Abanilla, Karol Ilagan, Cecile Balgos, Steffi Sanchez, Dominck NA Danao, Yolanda Nicolas, Lisa Gokongwei Cheng, Fernando Felix, David Celdran, Malou Mangahas, Ma. Pilar Marinez Caedo, Howie G. Severino, John Reiner Antiquerra, and Sheila S. Coronel would have been hauled to court to answer the charge of openly receiving foreign funding from foreign foundations, and institutions serving as fronts of the US Central Intelligence Agency like the National Endowments for Democracy (NED) to purposely discredit and induce our people to lose faith in our own government. Some even say, it is not the act of receiving foreign funds but in their identification with the US intelligence services which could make them liable for the more serious crime of espionage or treason.

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Topics: Rod Kapunan , Rappler , Vera Files , Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism , PCIJ , National Union of People’s Lawyers , propaganda campaign
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