Gatchalian on SolGen's gag plea: No way to gag social media

Katrina Domingo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 19 2020 03:36 PM

Employees, supporters, and media organizations on a Valentine's Day stage a protest rally to denounce the Philippine government's plans to shut down the country's largest television network on February 14, 2020. Mark Saludes, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Solicitor General's plea to issue a gag order on all parties representing ABS-CBN Corp is a "remedy" that cannot be practically implemented due to the presence of social media, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said Wednesday.

Filing a gag order is done to avoid undue influence to Supreme Court justices who will hear Calida's quo warranto petition against ABS-CBN, but "for practical purposes, you cannot issue a gag order against the entire nation because there is social media," Gatchalian said in a radio interview.

"Paano po iga-gag order ang lahat ng sumusuporta sa ABS-CBN o ang lahat ng hindi sumusuporta sa ABS dahil napakadami?" he said.

"Napakabilis ho ng impormasyon. Salita lang ay wala pang isang minute, nasa social media na po," he said.

Gag orders usually cover parties involved in the case, but this cannot cover Senate inquiries, he said, referring to the Senate's plan to conduct an inquiry on ABS-CBN's alleged franchise violations next week.

"Kung ang direksyon ay in aid of legislation, dapat ho ay bigyan at hayaang magsalita ang resource persons at pagdating sa ganitong pagdinig, talagang binibigyan po ng media coverage unless hihingi ng executive session," he said.

The Supreme Court earlier gave ABS-CBN 5 days to comment on Calida's gag petition.

The Senate Committee on Public Services is expected to conduct a hearing on the franchise issue next week.