Gag on this…
CTALK - Cito Beltran (The Philippine Star) - February 21, 2020 - 12:00am

When I first read about the Solicitor General’s move to place a Gag Order on ABS-CBN, its PR entity as well as personalities and supporters expressing their opinions regarding Calida’s Quo Warranto petition, I really could not believe he would go that far. It’s one thing to pick a fight or haul ABS-CBN to court but it’s really irrational to extend his burn zone to social media and its Netizens. All this reminded me of a time when I would run into, or see SolGen Calida at Christian services or events often tailing Bro. Eddie Villanueva the Evangelist, now a Deputy Speaker under the Cibac party-ist. In the good old days, the SolGen was a down to earth, silent type, plain “Joe” to friends. But he now plays a different game with a very different crowd I suppose. In any case, as I reminisced the good old days and connected them with Calida’s politics and request for a Gag Order, I was reminded of a Bible verse that is quite significant to every Christian, particularly regarding our co-mission with Christ, which is to share or testify about God and the gospel.

From the Book of Matthew chapter 5:13, 14, 15, 16 we read: “You are the salt of the earth, But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot”. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.”

Talking about the ABS-CBN franchise and the Calida Quo Warranto and request for Gag Order is neither godly nor evangelical, but the reason I cite the passage from Matthew is because there are times when people and institutions will have conflicting views and opinions, and our principles dictate that we stand up for what we believe, whether it is biblical principle or constitutional right. It is our duty to share the gospel if we call ourselves “Christian” or “Catholic” or “Iglesia,” and in like manner it is our duty to speak out and defend every right that our Constitution provides us. The reference to salt is about its strength to sterilize wounds or as a preservative. But if it loses its strength or taste it has no use. If we do not share our faith or defend our principles, freedoms and beliefs then we are not far from becoming slaves in deed or in fact!   

Quite a number of Netizens on Facebook were quite upset after SolGen Jose Calida filed a petition with the Supreme Court to place a “Gag Order” on ABS-CBN regarding his Quo Warranto petition. All that legal mambo-jumbo can’t be helped but the general impression is that Calida also wants to stop ABS-CBN “personalities” and supporters from expressing their support or their opinion on the matter. Sorry Joe, but what did you expect ABS-CBN to do, roll over and die? You want us in media to cower in silence under a gag order when every thing related to the non-renewal of the ABS-CBN franchise particularly filing of a Quo Warranto petition can be done to almost any media outlet in the land? Do you want us to be as meek as lambs while a handful of wolves in Congress conduct “back door channeling,” “closed door consultations” and excuse themselves from their duty and responsibility because their political Godfather has expressed his opposition to renewing the ABS-CBN franchise?

Perhaps it would be good to share with these handful of TRAPOS what Jesus said to the leaders of his time: “ There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs” Luke 12: 2-3. 

 I’m no lawyer “Bro” but from where I’m standing you just want the Supreme Court to shut up your critics and not just ABS-CBN. My opinion and the opinion of a couple of million other Filipinos are “OUR” opinions and protected by our right to freedom of speech regardless of whether we are ABS-CBN personalities, Ex-Kapamilya or simple citizens. 

If the argument of the present administration is correct, the ABS-CBN franchise will be finished in less than a month or two months at the most. So by then, everything becomes moot and academic. Everybody already sees the Calida Quo Warranto petition as the wooden stake and the final nail intended to terminate and cremate ABS-CBN. So why even go to the extent of filing for a gag? Could it be that we who have contrary opinions are actually speaking the truth and the truth hurts? ABS-CBN may be fair game to you but don’t try to gag “personalities” or individuals who have the constitutional right to Freedom of Expression out of spite or legal tactics. As you know almost every situation has an apt verse in the Bible, here’s the response of the Psalmist when he faced intimidation and threat:

“The Lord is my light and my salvation – whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life- of whom shall I be afraid?” Psalm 27:1

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