Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Court of Appeals wants Erap Docu rewriten before it gives TV airing approval

The 12th division of the Court of Appeals demanded a major rewrite in the Erap Documentary before it will the movie to be shown on tv:

There was the 12th Division of the Court of Appeals (CA) actually demanding a major rewrite of the Joseph Estrada bio-documentary, should it be shown on television, because as the court ruled, the producers of the bio pic Ang Mabuhay para sa Masa in documenting the Edsa ll revolt, which was definitely a coup d’ etat, does not show the “legality of the transfer of power” from Estrada to Gloria Arroyo in January 2001.

The CA said in its ruling that “petitioners are still mandated to recognize the legality of the transfer of power from former President Estrada to President Arroyo and reflect the same in the file” while upholding MalacaƱang’s position to include in the film the side of persons who were allegedly “defamed” by the documentary that states Estrada was illegally removed from office.

As the report went, the CA was quoted as having ruled that “the portion ‘Power-Grab,’ by its descriptive appellation, connotes the illegal seizure of power purportedly executed by the current president. It runs contrary to the Supreme Court (SC) ruling.”

Apart from this, the court also found objectionable the portion with “Conspiracy” emblazoned across pictures of Gloria, Mike Arroyo, Fidel Ramos, former Chief Justice Hilario Davide, Angelo Reyes, then Estrada’s chief of staff, Michael Defensor, Hernando Perez, Chavit Singson and other businessmen.

This said the court, “insinuates their unified action to overthrow President Estrada” and that “integration of said portion into the film tends to undermine the faith and confidence of the people in the government,” with the court even adding that the biopic can even be deemed “libelous and defamatory.”

More amazing, the court, acting like a lapdog of Gloria, ruled that “finding the subject film replete with defamatory remarks and scenes (it is) likely to impair faith in its government” and “imposition of limitation/condition on its exhibition appears in order.”

More: As the balancing factor in the form of replies of personalities defamed, “their replies should be integrated in the film as a part thereof,” the court said.

This is not only a clear infringement on the freedom of the press and of speech that the CA upholds, but worse, it even dictates what should and should not be included in a documentary.

Why should a court impose and mandate prior restraint on a documentary — because as sure as hell, the court, being a part of government has imposed prior restraint in getting that Erap documentary from being released in the electronic media and even dictates to the producers what should and should not be included in a documentary.

But it was a power grab. There was a conspiracy. And this is another attempt to censor political speech.

Armida Siguion Reyna:

I hear that the Court of Appeals (CA) wants Joseph Estrada’s biographical video documentary to first acknowledge the legitimacy of Gloria Arroyo’s presidency before it can be shown on television, and for a moment, I think, hey. Not even the CA bench is sure who the rightful leader of the country is, and that’s why it needs the Erap video to tell them!

Don’t think I’m being odd. Right now there’s nothing odder than the court requirement to edit into Ang Mabuhay Para sa Masa the recognition of “the legality of the power shift” that was Edsa Dos. The addition completely changes the tenor of the docu from when it was originally conceived and put together three years ago, at the time the subject was still in Tanay. It also tells us just how much this administration continues to be afraid of the man it kicked out of power in the name of morality, only to find out that — well, you all know what’s been found out about the one installed, no matter the times she and her cabal deny their thievery.

The value of Ang Mabuhay Para sa Masa as a historical document cannot be dismissed by even those who disagree with what it says. It was produced, written and directed from a point of view that is decidedly not Gloria Arroyo’s, nor that of any from her side of the fence, so it’s hard to understand why the CA and the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) want it redone as if it were produced, written and directed by MalacaƱang.

Government has access to media such as no one else has. In 2005, soon after then Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye made a fool of himself declaring which of the two CD’s in his hands was fake, the Pasig River Mafia threatened, through the National Telecommunications Commission, to close media outlets caught broadcasting the “Hello Garci” recordings. This is how powerful Mrs. Arroyo is, and still her men insist on re-editing the Erap video to remind all and sundry who the boss is?

The CA order for revision, says producer Rey David of Public Perception Management Asia (PublikAsia), is “a directive to rewrite not just a script but an entire portion of Philippine history,” because “everything in the newsreel can be verified in historical documents and even news reports. Therefore I find it odd that we are being compelled to revise certain portions of the film when there was nothing invented or fictional in it.”

Read the whole thing. and read this report too from the inquirer.

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