"OBSCENE" tabloids CCAIB to file for reconsideration
- Mylen P. Manto () - November 26, 2011 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - The Cebu City Anti-Indecency Board is planning to file for reconsideration after Prosecutor Ferdinand Collantes cleared two local tabloids from complaints for obscene publication.

Prosecutor Aida Sanchez, who is also a member of the CCAIB, said she was not satisfied with the decision of Collantes claiming he cannot appreciate the Cebuano dialect as he is Waray.

“We will be filing our motion for reconsideration, we believe the article in two tabloids were obscene. We are not satisfied with Collantes’ decision. We will be needing a panel of prosecutors to resolve our motion for reconsideration,” she said.

Sanchez added in this particular case the words used in “From Junquera with Love” of Superbalita and “Wildflower” of BANAT News were blatant.

“We are not against the tabloids but the pornographic stories,” she said.

CCAIB chairwoman Lucille Mercado said it was a challenge to them.

“It doesn’t mean we will stop our drive after the complaint we filed was dismissed. We will remain vigilant on the pornographic materials,” she said.

Regional Trial Court Branch 13 Judge Meinrado Paredes commented that the dismissal of the complaint was right.

“Sakto ang gibuhat ni fiscal Collantes kay nagbase man siya sa Supreme Court decision,” Paredes said.

Collantes dismissed the complaints filed against BANAT News publisher Juanito Jabat, President Miguel Belmonte and writer Cindy Jones, and Superbalita editor-in-chief, Michelle So, publisher Julius Neri Jr. and writer Fred Monternel for insufficient evidence.

He said the publications were not pornographic, indecent or obscene materials that violated the city ordinance.

“Wherefore, this Office, in the light of the principles of law and prevailing jurisprudence, dismisses these two complaints for insufficiency of evidence,” the resolution read.

Collantes said there is no perfect definition of obscenity. He uses jurisprudence from the Supreme Court Miller vs. California as basis of his ruling.

“No one will be subject to prosecution for the sale or exposure of obscene materials unless these materials depicts or describe patently offensive hardcore sexual conduct,” the order read.

Collantes added that the theory of the complainant is “implausible.”

“It does not show that these publications, whether to the average person, applying contemporary community standards, could reasonably believe that their dominant theme appeals to a lascivious, shameful, and morbid interest in sex and that they are totally lacking in redeeming value, literary or otherwise,” he said.

Collantes said the writer of the publication uses figurative speech that conveys two meanings.

“Often the first meaning is straightforward, while the second meaning remained in the realm of imagination. This use of words may be playful, witty, mischievous and may contain sexual undertones but not per se pornography or obscene in the contemplation of law,” the order reads.

Moreover he said “in all of these scenarios, readers including children may have no understanding of whether these words as used in context did or otherwise describe sexual organs or activities.”

Collantes said the state cannot control the minds of the readers who patronize such articles as these are not hardcore pornography that leaves a little imagination to the minds of the readers.

“As the fantasies and sphere of credulity of the reader is his own and beyond the realm of control by the state we practice great prudence to safeguard the freedom of speech, expression and press,” he added.

In their counter-affidavits, the tabloids denied the articles were obscene.

“The publications were not obscene or indecent and did not violate any provision of the Revised Penal Code, any Cebu City ordinance, or any other law and ordinance,” in their counter-affidavit reads.

The CCAIB filed a complaint for obscene publication against officials of the two tabloids saying there are obscene, indecent, language and words in those two articles.

“We all agreed and believed that the publications are indecent, obscene and served no other purpose but to satisfy the market for lust and pornography,” the complainants stated.

CCAIB, who is monitoring publications within the city, said this must be stopped at all cost considering the accessibility and the availability of the publications to the public, including minors. — (FREEMAN)

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