The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) said Wednesday campus journalist Joshua Molo did not err and 'is entitled to free speech' when he criticized the government’s actions on the COVID-19 crisis on his own Facebook page.
“The DILG supports the right of Filipinos to free expression, that’s a fundamental human right that is protected by the Constitution,” DILG Undersecretary and spokesman Jonathan Malaya said in a statement.
He added the government has "no intention" to file charges against Molo, the editor-in-chief of the UE Dawn, who was reported by his former teachers to police and barangay officials over a disagreement stemming from the student's Facebook pos
He said the government was "never involved" in what he said was an "entirely private matter."
“Yung high school teacher ni Molo ang nag-complain and the government has nothing to do with it,” he said.
Malaya, however, scored the College Editors Guild of the Philippines (CEGP) and Karapatan for blaming the national government “in an issue where it had no involvement whatsoever.”
"But we cannot understand why CEGP and Karapatan are again accusing the national government of allegedly suppressing the rights of Molo," he said.
The CEGP and Karapatan, a rights watchdog, were among the groups that came to Molo's defense after he was "forced" to post a public apology video by a teacher he had allegedly offended when he called them out for making fun of his posts that were critical of the administration.
Molo also said local police red-tagged him and threatened him with arrest for cyber libel if he would not apologize.
In a statement last Sunday, the CEGP urged the government to focus on public information and financial aid distribution "instead of filing nonsensical criminal charges." Karapatan said "[a]nyone who wishes to express dismay over government’s actions should never be threatened and penalized."
Malaya claimed the statements made by the two organizations were "another way of misinformation to malign and blame everything on the government where we should instead be working together to fight the common enemy, the coronavirus."
"Halatang-halata na nakikisawsaw lamang sila sa isyung ito as they are wont to do in order to pounce on every opportunity to discredit the government,” he said.
The DILG official urged the CEGP and Karapatan to "help the government."
"Baka mayroon kayong brilliant idea, let us hear it kaysa naman lagi ninyo na lang kaming tinitira. Baka this time gusto ninyo naman tumulong,” he said.—AOL, GMA News