Several Partido Liberal officials called on Malacanang to avoid harassment of journalists whom they perceive as critics of the administration, saying the media should be allowed to do its job without undue pressure.
“Empowered journalists are crucial in our fight against disinformation and fake news. Malacanang must learn to respect dissenting views. Tama na ang pananakot sa mga hindi sumasang-ayon sa administrasyon (Enough of bullying those who disagree with the administration),” said Sen. Bam Aquino.
Sen. Francis Pangilinan, Partido Liberal president, said Malacanang’s move against its media critics could be perceived as curtailment of press freedom, which was prevalent during the Martial Law era.
“Sa ginagawang ito ng Palasyo, bumabalik ang madilim na alaala ng Martial Law kung kailan binusalan ang media at pinigilan ang malayang pamamahayag (This Malacanang action recalls the dark memories of Martial Law when media was silenced and freedom of the press was curtailed),” said Pangilinan.
Former congressman Erin Tanada said this act of Malacanang should be condemned by journalists and press freedom advocates as this sends a chilling effect, especially to critics of the Palace.
“Ito’y isang bagay na hindi puwedeng palampasin lang. Ang bagay na ito ay puwedeng sapitin ng sinuman (We simply cannot let this pass. Anyone can suffer the same fate),” said Tanada, Partido Liberal vice president for external affairs.