Press Release
March 27, 2006

Press statement of Sen. Jamby Madrigal

I am filing on Monday a bill to amend the Revised Penal Code of the Philippines to repeal the crime of sedition, to be known as the Freedom of Expression Act. The crime of sedition is an offense of the mind. It occurs in the mind of the Government and as is in the case of Mrs. Gloria Arroyo it is being used as a weapon to deny, rather than to protect the peoples rights, particularly on freedom of expression. It is also being employed now by Mrs. Arroyo to justify the use of massive state resources against an individual or group who are at odds with her.

The crime of sedition is no longer existing in many countries, such as Canada, Ghana, Ireland, Kenya, New Zealand, South Africa, Taiwan, United Kingdom and the United States.

In our nations history, the crime of sedition has been used against eminent nationalist leaders such as Jose Rizal, Andres Bonifacio, Aurelio Tolentino, Macario Sakay, Isabelo Delos Reyes, Amado Hernandez, Benigno Aquino, Jr., and even Diosdado Macapagal for having published a book Democracy in the Philippines during the early years of martial law.

It is now time to repeal this archaic provision of our penal law. No longer should the Filipinos allow this crime to intimidate or threaten them. Let us uphold the right of the Filipino to freedom of expression.

No less than Article 19 of the Universal Declaration Declaration of Human Rights provides that, Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.

Freedom of expression is protected under Article III, section 3 of our 1987 Constitution which provides as follows, No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and to petition the government for redress of grievances. The crime of sedition violates this constitutional right.

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