image my students’ ordeal last week

resizedsealion.jpg              resizedsealion2.jpg

Law on Mass Media and Communication. First test, rights-and-privileges part of the syllabus. Answer the following questions fully. You are not allowed to leave the room until you’re done. You are not allowed to consult any materials, to talk to each other, or to use any electronic device. 50 pts with 10 pts bonus. 29 Jan. 2008, afternoon class. Marichu C. Lambino. 


     1.During the Nov. 29 Manila Pen assembly of the Magdalo soldiers, General Lim in a prepared statement quoted the Constitution: “The Philippines is a democratic and republican state. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them…” And he proceeded to justify the hotel takeover. Questions: What is the Constitution? What theory is the quoted provision based on? Define and explain. In your study of history, does the theory justify the 1986 EDSA uprising? What about the 2001 EDSA uprising? What about the Nov. 29 Manila Pen takeover? Why or why not? (10 pts) 


     2.Make a diagrammatic presentation of the structure of the judiciary. (10 pts)


      3.Upon complaint of many faculty members, the U.P. administration blocked the sites “Friendster” and “Multiply” in the school computer units inside U.P. academic and administrative buildings because the massive use by students of the sites was clogging up the server and delaying internet downloading in the entire University, thus delaying and  hampering research for days on. Student Britney Sibat filed a complaint or petition in the Supreme Court stating that the act of the U.P. admin was a “violation of the human rights” of students to: “a free marketplace of ideas.” Questions: In what case and in whose opinion was the “free marketplace of ideas” used? What was that case all about? Does the principle apply to Britney’s complaint? Why or why not? In your opinion, will Britney’s case prosper? Explain fully. (10 pts.) 


     4.At the height of the Senate investigation of the ZTE broadband deal, then Comelec chair Ben Abalos resigned. In a press conference where he announced his resignation, he was near tears and his family members were crying. Friends say he had been hurt by all the allegations of corruption against him. Can Ben Abalos find comfort in what Justice Malcolm said in U.S. vs. Bustos? What is that case all about and what did Justice Malcolm say? (5 pts.) 


     5.A number of organizations, including the NUJP, the CMFR, PCIJ, and individual reporters, filed a series of suits this week against the officials of the PNP, CIDG, and DILG, for incidents arising from the Nov. 29 Manila Pen incident. The parties said the respondents violated the right of the people to access. Questions: State  the right fully. What is this right all about? Explain. In the leading case on the matter taken up in class, what conditions need to obtain before the right can be invoked? Were the reliefs granted in said case? Why or why not? In the problem stated, do you agree with the particular contention of the organizations and journalists? Why or why not? (10 pts.)


      6.Two weeks ago, the DOJ kept repeating in interviews that Magdalo soldier Nicanor Faeldon managed to slip out at the height of the Manila Pen standoff because a female reporter gave him a press card. An Inquirer reporter, using unnamed sources in the PNP, disclosed the name of said female reporter. A petition for the writ of habeas data was filed against the Inquirer and its reporter by Atty. Ambo to ask them to reveal where they got the name and who gave it to them. In your opinion, will the case/ petition prosper? What can the Inquirer invoke? Explain fully and discuss the cases taken up in class. (10 pts.) 


     7.Why are intellectual property rights referred to as economic rights? What is the “fair-use doctrine”? Under the present Intellectual Property Code, are you allowed to photocopy an entire book for use in your class assignments? Why or why not? (5 pts.)                       




  1. Those are excellent questions. For questions stemming from ManilaPen, have you also asked the students about precedence and for them to look at similar cases in the PHilippines where prior court decisions have already been made? Will you also give consideration if a student cites similar cases overseas, e.g. cases in the USA (Cindy Sheehan and Daniel Elsberg) or cases in Malaysia or Australia or Canada?

  2. Regarding Question Number 1, perhaps the issue could be better joined if you framed it in the context of a fundamental discussion about direct democracy versus representative democracy and where the concept of “people power” lies in the spectrum between them.

    In the context of military backed withdrawals of support and people power uprisings, I think the interesting apothegm to discuss is “The spring cannot rise higher than the source.”

    The difference between revolution and judicial coup d’etat via a usurpation of the Senate’s powers and overthrow of the Presidency, might be limned in a consideration of the difference between Edsa I and Edsa II.

    I think the Rule on the Writ of Habeas Data will run afoul of Intellectual Property Rights, Press Freedom, Academic Freedom, and Freedom of Speech generally. It presumes that all data about a person belongs to that person. That is a naive, technologically illiterate point of view that reveals how little the Court understands for example, GOOGLE!

  3. With the permission of the Honorable Court, may I present yet another interesting question that is bugging the laymen:

    Explain the difference between a Right and a Rule. Why are amparo and habeas data full fledged Constitutional Rights in Latin American countries, but only Rules in the Philippines?

    How is it that the Supreme Court managed to give us the Rights of Amparo and habeas data through the enactment of mere Rules of Court.

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