The Quezon City Regional Trial Court has granted Bulatlat’s application for a writ of preliminary injunction to stop the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) from enforcing its order to block access to its website.
In a six-page order, the QC RTC Branch 306 granted the writ enjoining NTC from enforcing its memorandum ordering internet service providers to block access to Bulatlat.com while the case is ongoing.
“Let then a writ of preliminary injunction be issued enjoining defendant NTC from enforcing its June 8, 2022 Memorandum insofar as it orders the blocking of the plaintiff’s website, bulatlat.com,” it said.
The court said the issuance of the writ is conditioned upon Bulatlat’s posting of bond amounting to P100,000, which will answer for the damages the defendants would suffer in case Bulatlat is not entitled to the injunction.
With this, the Court said that the earlier motion for reconsideration filed by Bulatlat on the Court’s denial of a temporary restraining order is rendered moot and academic.
The Court said it found that the requisites for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunctions were sufficiently established.
According to the court, for an applicant to be issued a writ of a preliminary injunction, they must have a clear and unmistakable right to be protected; there is a material and substantial invasion of such right; there is an urgent need for the writ to prevent irreparable injury to the applicant, and no other ordinary, speedy, and adequate remedy exists to prevent injury.
“In this case, after a thorough and careful examination of the evidence submitted by the plaintiff, the Court finds that the requisites for the issuance of a writ of preliminary injunction were sufficiently established," it said.
The Court held that Bulatlat proved it has a clear and unmistakable right to be protected: the right to freedom of speech and of the press.
Further, it was also able to prove that there is a material and substantial invasion of its right.
“Evidently, there is violation or curtailment of plaintiff’s right to free speech and of the press when its publisher’s and readers’ access to its website was limited,” it said.
“To the Court, any limitation or restriction in the exercise of one’s right, no matter the extent, and for even minimal periods of time, is a form of deprivation, and clearly, a violation of such right. The violation itself is damage enough on the one restrained which cannot be quantified or measured in terms of monetary value,” it said.—LDF, GMA News