Atty. Roque reacts to SMNI hosts Ka Eric, Dr. Badoy cited in contempt by lawmakers

Atty. Roque reacts to SMNI hosts Ka Eric, Dr. Badoy cited in contempt by lawmakers

FORMER Presidential Spokesperson Atty. Harry Roque reacted to the contempt charges filed by the house against SMNI anchors Jeffrey ‘Ka Eric’ Celiz and Dr. Lorraine Badoy.

This followed Ka Eric’s refusal to reveal the source of the information about the alleged P1.8-B travel expense of Speaker Martin Romualdez during the second hearing of the House Legislative Franchises Committee on SMNI.

Citing the Sotto Law, Atty. Roque said that a media practitioner cannot be forced to reveal their source.

“The law is clear; You cannot reveal the source because, without the Sotto [or] shield law, there will be no confidence in disclosing information to the media. We know that when that happens, freedom of speech and expression will be suppressed because corruption is not made public; It is kept secret. Those who speak the truth must have confidence and remain unnamed to prevent retaliation by those whose actions are exposed to the public,” according to Atty. Harry Roque, Former Presidential Spokesperson.

According to Atty. Roque, why didn’t they broadcast Ka Eric’s question and why didn’t they let the public judge whether he was lying.

What had Ka Eric done wrong? He simply asked a question, and the problem here in the supposed congressional hearing is why didn’t they broadcast Ka Eric’s question. Why didn’t they let the public judge whether he was lying or spreading fake news?” If asking questions is wrong—but what law states that it is wrong? Atty. Harry Roque added.

Roque, who is also a former lawmaker, stressed that there should have been a separate hearing before citing Ka Eric and Dr. Badoy for contempt.

He argued that it is not the duty of Congress to interpret the law, as only the court has that authority.

He stated that the Congress’s responsibility is to formulate and enact laws.

“There should have been due process before detainment, but here, we saw that there was no hearing for the two; They were just detained. There should have been a separate hearing on why they should be penalized with criminal contempt because contempt is criminal for allegedly not revealing the source or spreading falsehoods,” Atty. Roque said.

Atty. Roque also believes that the events that unfolded on Tuesday serve as a message to all journalists.

“The message here to all journalists is, that if you don’t behave, if you don’t praise those in power, you will be imprisoned, something prohibited by the constitution due to the importance of freedom of speech,” Atty. Roque stated.

In the end, Atty. Roque called on all members of the press to show their support for Ka Eric and Dr. Badoy.

“You will be recognized as heroes for the freedom of the press. Let history be the judge,” according to Roque.

Meanwhile, Ka Eric and Dr. Badoy will remain in the House until the committee report on the SMNI’s franchise investigation is adopted.


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