Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on threats to silence the people’s dissent

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights on threats to silence the people’s dissent

At a time when the crucial system of checks and balances in our democracy is in question, one of the most important things we can do as citizens is speak up.

Exercising our freedoms of expression and to peaceably assemble allows the common people to have their voices be heard. These are opportunities for the government to listen to our grievances and provide redress.

Any threat to silence dissenters is an affront to our ideals as a nation. A recent example have been threats by certain personalities to get aspiring lawyers banned from taking the Bar exam after questioning and expressing strong opposition to the Supreme Court’s decision on the quo warranto petition against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno. This is a direct attack on their freedom of expression and their right as citizens of this country to speak on the issues that affect them. One does not lose their rights by becoming a law student or a candidate for the Philippine Bar.

We condemn these threats on the freedom of speech of the Filipino people. Dissent is a sign of a healthy democracy. Allowing the people to speak against injustices is how nations progress and rise above times of trial and hardship.

In these times, the Commission hopes that the Filipino do not lose faith, and to continue its fight in pursuit of fairness, righteousness, and the prevalence of the rule of law. ■

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