House leader inhibits self from sponsoring on the floor for plenary deliberation the Right of Reply Bill

September 10, 2009 9:36 am 

By Lilybeth G. Ison

MANILA, Sept. 10 — A Manila representative has inhibited himself from sponsoring on the floor for plenary deliberation the controversial Right of Reply bill.

Alagad party-list Rep. Rodante Marcoleta, in a press forum on Thursday, said that Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante has inhibited himself from sponsoring on the floor House Bill 3306 or "An Act Granting the Right of Reply and Providing Penalties in Violation thereof", due to "conflict of interest."

Abante, chairman of the committee on public information of the House of Representatives, is a member of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP).

As chairman of the committee who approved the Right of Reply Bill, the Manila solon should have sponsored the proposed measure on the floor for plenary debates.

He, however, inhibited himself from doing it as he might be questioned of his being a KBP member.

As such, Marcoleta said that the House leadership has assigned him to sponsor the RORB on the floor, which is set next week.

Under HB 3306, "all persons natural or juridical who are accused directly or indirectly of committing, having committed, or of intending to commit any crime or offense defined by law, or are criticized by innuendo, suggestion or rumor for any lapse in behavior in public or private life shall have the right to reply to charges or criticisms published or printed in newspapers, magazines, newsletters or publications circulated commercially or for free, or aired or broadcast over radio, television, websites, or through any electronic device."

The publisher and editor-in-chief of the publication or the owner and station manager of the broadcast medium who fails or refuses to publish or broadcast the reply or the correction of an erroneous news item as mandated in this Act shall be fined an amount not exceeding P10,000 for the first offense; P30,000 for the second offense; P50,000 and imprisonment for not more than 30 days for the third offense; P100,000 and imprisonment for not more than 30 days for the fourth offense; and P200,000, imprisonment for not more than 30 days and the closure and suspension of the franchise of the publication or broadcast media outlet or station for 30 days for the fifth and succeeding offenses, it added.

The RORB is vehemently opposed by various media organizations, saying the proposed measure is restricting the freedom of the press.

In the same forum, Marcoleta tried to convince the reporters to support the proposed measure to no avail.

The party-list solon also expressed doubt that the RORB will be approved at the Lower Chamber due to lack of quorum as many congressmen now are preparing for the upcoming May 2010 elections. (PNA)

DCT/LGI

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