MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Saturday said the proposal to amend provision in the Bill of Rights mandating for a “responsible” exercise of freedom of speech had nothing to do with the chief executive.
Under the envisioned shift to federal form of government, House of Representatives is also pushing for an amendment on Article 3 of the 1987 Constitution, which guarantees no law shall be passed abridging freedom of speech.
The proposed provision in the Bill of Rights reads: “No law shall be passed abridging the responsible exercise of the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
House Deputy Speaker Fredenil Castro clarified that the proposed inclusion of the phrase “responsible exercise” did not come from subcommittee of the committee on constitutional amendments rather from the Presidential Committee on Human Rights Secretariat.
Roque stressed that the Presidential Human Rights Committee Secretariat does not have the rank of a Cabinet member.
“This means that when they spoke, they did not speak as alter ego of the President. So that is the recommendation of the Secretariat. It is not, in any way, the position of the President,” he added.
President Duterte also believes there is no need to amend Article 3 of the Constitution, Roque assured.
“The President is a lawyer. He is a fiscal. The Bill of Rights has remained unchanged from the 1935 Constitution to the ’73 Constitution to ’87 Constitution. As far as free speech is concerned, the President sees no need to amend it,” he said.-PNA