Sen. Gringo files bill seeking to decriminalize libel
The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines - Senator Gregorio “Gringo” Honasan filed a proposed measure seeking to decriminalize libel by repealing Articles 353 to 357 and 360 to 362 of the Revised Penal Code in order to ensure free flow of information as enshrined in the 1987 Constitution.
If enacted, Honasan called on mass communication practitioners to impose upon themselves utmost discipline in the practice of the profession.
“Professional organizations shall prescribe ethical standards as well as rules and regulations in the practice of their profession. Penalties for their erring members shall also be prescribed. Professional organizations must be registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),” Honasan said.
According to Section 3 of the bill, “Practitioners of mass communication must be members of registered professional organizations. No mass media practitioner can practice his/her profession unless he/she is a member of the registered professional organization.”
The bill mandated the Department of Justice shall, within 90 days from the effectivity of this Act, issue the necessary rules and regulations for the efficient and effective implementation of this Act.
Honasan also said that decriminalizing libel is in consonance with International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights ratified by the Philippines.
“Its freedom from fear and want can only be achieved if conditions are created whereby everyone may enjoy his civil and political rights, as well as his economic, social and cultural rights,” the senator said.