Dispatch from Crame No. 184: Sen. Leila M. de Lima’s Statement on the attacks against Ms. Jover Laurio, the person behind Pinoy Ako Blog (PAB)

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Yes, let’s defend PAB.

In fact, it goes beyond that – we MUST defend Pinoy Ako Blog, both as the social media entity that brings information, raises questions, and invites critical thinking and constructive discussion that are vital to our democracy, as well as the private person behind that entity, Ms. Jover Laurio, who is a citizen under attack for exercising her constitutional right.

While we hold accountable those who peddle fake news, and use their public office for the propagation of propaganda, we MUST DEFEND anyone and everyone – and I mean anyone and everyone – who is in the rightful, responsible AND accountable exercise of their rights.

We MUST DEFEND them, not because we agree with what they say, or because they are our allies, but because on this issue, WE ARE ALL ON THE SAME SIDE. When we talk about the free exercise and enjoyment of our human and constitutional rights, there is no “enemy”. We may espouse opposing views, but we are all – all of us – beneficiaries and, therefore, defenders of those rights. Hindi pwedeng “what is your right is my right, but what is my right is my right alone”. It doesn’t – and won’t – work that way. It’s either we defend everyone’s democracy and liberties, or we leave our own vulnerable to attack.

Doxxing is a reprehensible act that is condemned by some social media sites. It is, for instance, a ground for permanent ban on reddit. Why? Because it is a reprehensible act of bullying and repression.

In the context of PAB, it is a way by which human rights defenders and government critics are being silenced. It is a tool of oppression. It doesn’t matter who does it – paid trolls, people sitting on their sofas clicking away on their smart phones, laptops or tablets – it benefits one type of person and one type of person only, the dictators/wannabe-dictators. It leads to one path alone: the tyranny of fear by the powerful being held over the people.

I used to think that not many of us have the opportunity to stand as defenders of our people. But, these days, the opportunities are everywhere. Just think, by defending PAB’s rights, we are defending the same rights that would have protected La Solidaridad and allowed it to achieve the ends it wanted to achieve.

By defending Ms. Laurio’s rights in using the name “Pinoy Ako Blog” and writing what she writes, we uphold the same rights that could have protected Jose Rizal, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Graciano Lopez-Jaena, and Antonio Luna (to name a few, every time they wrote under the pen names “Dimasalang”, or “Laong-Laan”, “Plaridel”, “Diego Laura” and “Taga-Ilog”. By defending PAB, we honor and defend our heroes.

Yes, let’s defend Ms. Laurio because she does not deserve to be oppressed and persecuted for exercising her rights.

And we MUST defend her and PAB because it is our birthright as free Filipinos.###

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