Recessing justices can’t act of Rappler petition

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The petition of Rappler asking the Supreme Court to lift President Rodrigo Duterte’s ban on the online news site’s reporters from covering the Office of the President will have to wait.

Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin said Friday the SC en banc will no longer be able to act on the petition.

Bersamin said the high bench will go on recess for the Holy Week and will resume session on 3 May.

Rappler sought for a special raffle so that a division can act on its plea for a temporary restraining order and/or writ of preliminary injunction before the SC break.

On Thursday, Rappler and its reporters asked the SC to suspend Duterte’s order prohibiting its reporters from covering his events nationwide.

Rappler and its reporters Pia Ranada, Mara Cepeda, Raymon Dullana, Franklin Cimatu, Mauricio Victa, Camille Elemia, Ralf Rivas, Baltazar Lagsa stated in their petition that the ban violates constitutional guarantees of press freedom, free speech, due process, and equal protection.

“A free press’ ability to cover and report on newsworthy events or material must be done independently and can not be dependent on what the government chooses to give to it or what the government prescribes as news,” the petitioners said.

They argued also the ban amounts to subsequent punishment repugnant to the constitutional guarantee of free speech and a free press.

Likewise, it sends a warning to other journalists and organizations critical of the administration, the petitioners said.

Rappler’s petition further said the chilling effect upon the entire press brought about by the ban and its retaliatory origins has caused and will continue to cause damage to them and to the general public.

The ban, according to the petitioners, cannot be considered a “narrowly tailored” regulation or the “least restrictive of all possible options” that are necessary to justify a government act that infringes on rights.

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