Paradigm of the chilling effect doctrine, oral arguments, ATA

tap the play arrow (if on mobile device, click “Listen in browser”) on the soundcloud pod below to play the theme “hwag lamukusin ang mukha” (“do not scrunch up your face”)


(i’m paraphrasing, late lunch and was rummaging for potato chips and other junk food when all these was going on)

Justice Marvic (trying to elicit the paradigm of “chilling effect” from counsel) : And did Justice Carpio stop in asserting our sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea?

Counsel: Uhm… Start or stop? Because Justice Carpio didn’t stop.

Justice Marvic: He did not, right? Was he chilled? He was not, right? In fact, even if the one-million-strong People’ Liberation Army of China confronts him, he will not be fazed, right?

Counsel: Uhm…ah yes, he will not stop.

Justice Marvic: And when did Professor Jay Batongbacal stop teaching? He did not. In fact he even went to the frontlines in the UP-DND accord rally, and therefore he was not actually chilled or feared, was he?

Counsel: No, he was not, Your Honor.

Justice Marvic: And what about Professor Teddy Te? Was he chilled by the Anti-Terrorism Act, he is still writing about it in Inquirer and ABS News and Rappler and …  wherever else he writes, is he not?

Counsel: Uhm… Yes he is.

Justice Marvic: And what about Professor Charlegmane Yu — si Charlie Yu —  he is still teaching and fighting for civil liberties, is he not? Is he chilled by the ATA? He is not, right?

Counsel: Yes Your Honor…

Justice Marvic: So. Why do you say there is a chilling effect?

Counsel: Chilling effect ”refers to that pause in the writer… as he composes his words. It is the hesitation … inside the mind of the speaker … because of a vague and overbroad law. He doesn’t know whether the next word he will say will be criminal or in this case, mark him as a terrorist.”

Justice Marvic (shakes his head, looks to his side, looks frustrated) : “He is not afraid but he is chilled? To me, that doesn’t seem logical … but I am sure you will find a way to explain that in your memoranda, ”

xxx xxx xxx

     He is trying to get you out of your paradigm, or out of the common notion, that “chilling effect” is about what a person feels when he/she is thinking about the law, or that he/she is afraid, the writer pauses, the speaker is hesitant,  feels uncertain – that is not the paradigm of the so-called “chilling effect” (and when you promote this in media as the definition of “chilling effect”, it is a disservice). “Chilling effect” refers to the chilling effect doctrine that any threat of punishment to the lawful exercise of free speech is unconstitutional  (then, cite cases). The chilling effect doctrine is not a matter of fear but a matter of law – that is the paradigm.  

(so… some teachers have a technique when they’re frustrated during a meeting –  it is not advisable to lamukos your face (not advisable to scrunch up your face with your hands like you’re crumpling paper… not good). cup of coffee? stand away from your desk and say “let’s take five or fifteen, i’ll get a cup of coffee” (you can do this in a meeting or during your classes … hopefully, it doesn’t happen more than twice in a day because you’re not supposed to take more than two cups) )

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