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G.R. No. 168338 - ASSOCIATE JUSTICE AZCUNA SEPARATE CONCURRING OPINION

G.R. No. 168338 - ASSOCIATE JUSTICE AZCUNA SEPARATE CONCURRING OPINION

PHILIPPINE SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

EN BANC

[G.R. NO. 168338 : February 15, 2008]

FRANCISCO CHAVEZ, Petitioner, v. RAUL M. GONZALES, in his capacity as the Secretary of the Department of Justice; and NATIONAL TELECOMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION (NTC), Respondents.

SEPARATE CONCURRING OPINION

AZCUNA, J.:

I vote to GRANT the petition on the ground that the challenged NTC and DOJ warnings violate Sec. 10, Art. XVI of the Constitution which states:

Sec. 10. The State shall provide the policy environment for the full development of Filipino capability and the emergency of communication structures suitable to the needs and aspirations of the nation and the balanced flow of information into, out of, and across the country, in accordance with a policy that respects the freedom of speech and of the press.

This provision was precisely crafted to meet the needs and opportunities of the emerging new pathways of communications, from radio and tv broast to the flow of digital information via cables, satellites and the internet.

The purpose of this new statement of directed State policy is to hold the State responsible for a policy environment that provides for (1) the full development of Filipino capability, (2) the emergence of communication structures suitable to the needs and aspirations of the nation and the balanced flow of information, and (3) respect for the freedom of speech and of the press.

The regulatory warnings involved in this case work against a balanced flow of information in our communication structures and do so without respecting freedom of speech by casting a chilling effect on the media. This is definitely not the policy environment contemplated by the Constitution.

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