Congressman Evardone denies the accusation of Congressman Tanada that he's been dribbling the ball of the FOI bill for a year by not calling committee hearings. If he wasn't so polite, Tanada would shout at Evardone, are you saying amalayer? amalayer?
Congressman Antonino believes he can stop the FOI bill if it does not include the right of reply. He is wrong to think he can stop it by himself. He is right to know that he can stop it because the Palace does not want it. But he is also right to insist on the right of reply.
Antonino said, it is only fair to give politicians the right to reply to accusations claiming to arise from information obtained thru the FOI, in the same way and in the place the accusation was made.
A person does not cease to have rights just because he becomes a public official, tribe on constitutional law. He is entitled to due process to protect life, liberty and property in a court of law and his name in the court of public opinion which still has no rules on real evidence or fair procedure. Information accessed thru the FOI is official and deemed accurate. If it points to guilt, guilt will seem conclusive.
So it is only fair to demand, as a right and not a favor, that media claiming access to official information and drawing conclusions therefrom be forced to let the subject of the same explain it from his or her side and not just from the side of the media that may have twisted it. If the NY times, the Washington Post and U.S. networks news twisted war stories from Iraq, what more Filipino media.
No journalist worth his salt should be afraid of contradiction under the right of reply. Real journalists know how hard it is to get a reaction from the subject of his libel other than a law suit. With the right of reply, public officials will be beating down your door for interviews.
Our business is news, not blackmail. It is truth, not demolition, like in the Corona impeachment, and the fuller a story gets the better it is by giving all sides equal space and time. Suppressing any side of a story is not freedom of the press but the suppression of everyman's freedom of expression.