Press Release
December 7, 2021

Dispatch from Crame No. 1,184:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima on Cusi's suit vs media outfits on Malampaya reporting

The cases filed by Energy Sec. Alfonso Cusi against 18 officials and reporters of seven media outfits are press-directed versions of textbook SLAPP suits.

Strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP) suits are those intended to intimidate, silence, and prevent criticisms and opposition. The intent of SLAPP suits is not to win the case but to harass people enough to discourage them from speaking out further by forcing them to undergo the expense and rigors of intense litigation.

We already saw that happen to Nobel laureate Maria Ressa, who has been inundated with multiple lawsuits just to make an example out of her and Rappler and intimidate them to silence and complicity.

In this case, the SLAPP suit is directed against members of the press who were just reporting on a case filed against Cusi. This practice is outlawed in other countries because of the chilling effect on the exercise of the freedom of speech and of the press, especially on matters of public concern. According to author and lawyer Prof. K.L. Bhatia, a number of jurisdictions have made such suits illegal, provided that the appropriate standards of journalistic responsibility have been met by the critic.

Even without an Anti-SLAPP law, the cases Cusi filed against our media should be dismissed for being frivolous, baseless, and ultimately violative of our Constitution.

Wala naman pong kasinungalingan sa naging report ng ABS-CBN, Manila Bulletin, Business World, Rappler, Philippine Star, GMA News at Business Mirror. Malinaw po ang kanilang naging ulat base sa impormasyon mula sa mga complainants mismo. Naging responsable sila sa ginawa nilang pag-uulat.

Malinaw na ang intensyon lamang ng kaso ay pigilan ang mga media companies natin na mag-ulat ng anumang negatibo tungkol sa kaniya. Gaya ng amo niya, puro pananakot lang ang kayang gawin imbes na magtrabaho na lamang ng tama.

If we are to stay a democracy, our courts should protect our media against clear harassment suits like these. The press should be allowed to report the truth regardless of its inconvenience to those in power.

We, as a nation, should uphold our democratic values, lest we fall again into tyranny.

Protect the press. Protect our freedoms. Protect our democracy.

(Access the handwritten version, here:

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