By MARY ANN “MANJA” BAYANG
I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it. (Voltaire)
It was after a grueling, exhausting and backbreaking debate that I am finally coming up with a column which, I hope, will be as regular as the release of this paper.
After I and some friends clashed on ideas, wrestled on opinions, disputed even on indisputable issues, it was unanimously agreed over silenced vehement objections that this column will be referred to as the “Brutally Frank” column. I owe tribute to Atty. Reyna Tan for this phrase.
In the spirit of egalitarianism, freedom and justice, the topics which to be discussed under this column will range from the filthiness of hell to the splendor of heaven.
As we are made to believe that we are in a democratic country, public discussion on public issues is an inherent right enjoyed by every citizen.
This column intends to discuss anything that is worth discussing that is of public interest freely – without any prohibition or inhibition, without fear or worry. As succinctly put by the High Court:
“Every man has a right to discuss matters of public interest. A clergyman with his flock, an admiral with his fleet, a general with his army, a judge with his jury, we are, all of us, the subject of public discussion. The view of our court has been thus stated: It is only in despotism that one must speak sub rosa, or in whispers, with bated breath, around the corner, or in the dark on a subject touching the common welfare. It is the brightest jewel in the crown of the law to speak and maintain the golden mean between defamation, on one hand, and a healthy and robust right of free public discussion, on the other.”(Warren v. Pulitzer Publishing Co., 78 S.W. 2, 413-416 (1934).
In recognizing the basic right of the people to free speech, our very own Constitution provides that “no law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.”
This column will not therefore be constrained or controlled by despotic or anarchical pressures but only by the ultimate freedom of speech, expression and of the press.
As the nation is rocked by the threats of charter change, political killings, corruption and a whole lot of sullied politics, this column will have a rich feast of subject matter and will never run out of matters of public interest to discuss.
The public is invited to contribute to this column. Irrespective of what I opine, I will uphold the right of every contributor or reader to their own views and judgment. Voltaire’s wisdom will definitely fit in when he said, “I may not agree with what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” #