Media must complement rule of law, not supplant it, CHR says

Media must complement rule of law, not supplant it, CHR says

Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - November 26, 2019 - 11:57am

MANILA, Philippines — Media personalities should use their platform to complement the rule of law not take the law into their own hands, the Commission on Human Rights said Tuesday.

The rights body issued the statement days after a controversial episode of radio program “Raffy Tulfo in Action” went on air where the broadcaster publicly shamed a teacher and pressured her to quit her job and give up her license.

In the episode, the family of a Grade 2 student complained about teacher Melita Limjuco who allegedly maltreated the child. Tulfo, in a phone call, asked the teacher if she would rather face charges or agree to have her license revoked.

Limjuco agreed to the latter, causing uproar on social media from teachers and supporters who condemned what Tulfo did.

“Media has an undeniable role in truth-telling, especially when done to fight injustices and violations of human rights. But it must always do so to complement the rule of law, not supplant it,” Jacqueline de Guia, Commission on Human Rights spokesperson, said.

She added: “When we take the law into our own hands, such practice is not any different from anyone who seek to violate the rights of others.”

The CHR official said allegations of cruelty committed against children, especially in places they are expected to be safe, must be investigated.

“This process recognizes the inherent right to be treated as innocent until proven guilty until a final judgment through a fair trial has been made,” De Guia said, adding the commission trusts the ongoing investigation of the Department of Education.

“For the true form of justice rests on fairness and the respect for human dignity and rights,” she added. 

DepEd on Sunday said the Tulfo’s “on-the-spot compromise” is against the agency’s policy and deprived Limjuco of her right to due process.

Incidents of child abuse are not subject to compromise under DepEd’s Child Protection Policy.

The department added: “On the other hand, teachers are entitled to due process, which was not given to her during the program.”

Tulfo on Monday said he is not “anti-teacher.”

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