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CSC VP bets sorry over Martial Law remarks



Photo by Von Ozar/TomasinoWeb

Central Student Council (CSC) vice presidential hopefuls apologized to the Thomasian community after receiving flak for their statements regarding Martial Law.

Lakas Tomasino Coalition’s bet Gabriela Sepulchre apologized for her “insensitive” statement during the Harapan 2017 debate last month.

“As clearly documented in a recent electoral debate, the statement I made about martial law is wrong, insensitive, and unbecoming of any Thomasian leader,” she said on her Facebook post on April 13.

“For that, I offer my sincerest apologies to the victims, their families, and the rest of the Thomasian community whom I have offended with my words. We should never go through again this nightmare from which the country has not fully healed, even when four decades and generations have passed.”

On the other hand, Renz Santiago of Lakas ng Diwang Tomasino pointed out in his Facebook status last April 12 that he was not in favor of bringing back Martial Law.

“It is in my deepest regrets that I have failed to explain thoroughly my ideas of addressing the issue during the interview itself. However, to clarify things I did not say that I am in favor of the Martial Law,” he said.

During the debate last March 30, the two aspiring student leaders were asked what the student council should do “just in case the President decides to declare martial law.”  

Sepulchre said that students should not be afraid of despite the atrocities happened during the regime of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

“Hindi porke’t naging masama ‘yung pamamalakad ni Marcos dati, ay gano’n na rin ang tingin natin sa martial law ngayon,” she said.

Meanwhile, Santiago said that the CSC should do a research first on Martial Law.

“Ito’y nangyari noong ‘di pa po tayo ‘pinapanganak or kakapanganak pa lang po sa atin, so research po muna ang unang hakbang,” he said.

Tomasian Cable Television, the University’s broadcasting organization, posted the video of the candidates’ answers on Facebook last April 9. It has reached around 198,000 views, more than 5,000 reactions, and 3,320 shares.

Information and involvement

The two candidates guaranteed to provide proper information and initiate student involvement in issues like martial law as part of their plans.

Sepulchre said that she aims to create platforms for information and discussions.

“Once seated, I will ask assistance from the Department of Social Sciences for further discussions of relevant issues, more so the Martial Law, in academic fora.”

If elected, she promised that the student council would not remain silent if ever the government declares martial law.

“We call for all Thomasians not to remain silent and absent in the streets. We will be one with this nation in the fight to quickly regain democracy,” Sepulchre said.

Meanwhile, Santiago said that he wants to inform Thomasians on CSC’s plan of action once a martial law was declared.

“Moreover, I want to make the students aware regarding the plan of action that the CSC, together with the CB, LSCs and other student organizations have set forth to address the issue.”

Santiago added, “As a student leader, I believe that we, the CSC should be the one to initiate the movement in fighting the threat in our democracy and constitutional rights.”

According to data from human rights group Amnesty International, about 70,000 people were imprisoned, 34,000 were tortured, 3,240 were killed and more than a thousand went missing during the Martial Law period.  




Media profs, students decry House ‘murder’ of ABS-CBN

The University’s media professors and student councils expressed their outrage on the killing of ABS-CBN franchise, through their statements released today, June 11.



Arden Esmile/TomasinoWeb

The University’s media professors and student councils expressed their outrage on the killing of ABS-CBN franchise, through their statements released today, June 11.


“The Malacañang lackeys at the House of the Representatives have just committed murder,” the UST Journalism Society (JournSoc) said regarding the July 10 decision of the Lower House to junk the ABS-CBN franchise.


READ: Statement of the UST Journalism Society on the rejection of the ABS-CBN Franchise Bill#DefendPressFreedom#RedefinedUSTJRN

UST Journalism Societyさんの投稿 2020年7月10日金曜日


The murder of the ABS-CBN franchise, according to the student organization, is the latest addition to the list of acts committed by the administration against journalists.


“The 12 hearings on the network’s franchise proved that these lawmakers were not after the truth,” the UST JournSoc said.


Professors of the Department of Communication and Media Studies also called the 12th hearing “an orgy of personal and petty gripes of onion-skinned politicians against ABS-CBN.”


“Congressmen even exceeded their ambit and proclaimed themselves arbiters of good journalism and broadcast practices, exposing their ignorance and media illiteracy,” the professors said.


They commended the 11 lawmakers who voted in favor of the ABS-CBN franchise while condemning the others, “Cayetano House,” who “delivers on Duterte promise.”


Despite the shutdown of ABS-CBN for the second time, UST JournSoc and the media faculty are both hopeful for its return.


“We eagerly await ABS-CBN’s return to the airwaves, and along with it, the return of our freedom,” the media faculty said, citing the resurrection of the network after Marcos’ martial law.


“Nobody stays in power forever. Their time for reckoning will come,” UST JournSoc also said. “Maniningil ang kasaysayan.” 


Enemy of democracy

The Artlets Student Council (ABSC) urged the Thomasian community and Filipino youth “not to cower in fear” but instead “resist tyranny and fascism.”


“[T]he Duterte regime has again proven itself as the enemy of democracy by denying the franchise application of ABS-CBN,” the statement released yesterday, June 10, read.  


UST Artlets Student Councilさんの投稿 2020年7月10日金曜日


The Council questioned the scrutiny of the Congress on the deliberations over the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN, citing that the testimonies in the Technical Working Group are “based on personal vendetta.”


ABSC, along with UST JournSoc and media professors, mourned for the 11,000 workers who lost their jobs after the network’s shutdown. 


“[P]resident Duterte and his cronies in the Congress did not only deprive us of our right free press but also displaced at least 11,000 media workers jobless amid the country’s worst public health and economic crisis,” ABSC said. 


The Council called for a collective action and reminded the Thomasian community to keep their eyes on how the government “lacks empathy and compassion” to its constituents.


“[W]e must channel our rage into a collective action that will expose, oppose, and isolate the oppressive Duterte regime,” ABSC said.


“We will hold accountable those who trampled on our rights and reclaim our freedom!”


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‘Graver, chilling effects’ expected after ABS-CBN shutdown—media expert

Members of the press will experience “graver, chilling effects,” targeted harassment, impunity, and harassment after the broadcasting giant ABS-CBN shuts down, a journalism professor warned the public yesterday, June 10.



Screengrab from Academic perspective on press freedom during COVID-19 online forum

Members of the press will experience “graver, chilling effects,” targeted harassment, impunity, and harassment after the broadcasting giant ABS-CBN shuts down, a journalism professor warned the public yesterday, June 10.

“An attack to one is an attack to all,” University of the Philippines – College of Mass Communication professor Danila Arao stressed in a webinar about the state of press freedom during the pandemic.

He urged the journalists to build a “culture of resistance” amid the continuous attack on press freedom.

“If there is something wrong, you expose and go against that particular wrongdoing,” Arao said. “[I]t is the duty of the journalist to always stay relevant.”

He reminded the journalists to stick to the principles of journalism and its mission to shape public opinion by providing relevant information.

“As a cornerstone of democracy, free press should allow journalists to report based on professional and ethical standards…and operate free from government intervention,” Arao said. 

He also explained the bias in the news media, which was a controversial topic during the hearing of ABS-CBN franchise renewal. 

“As human beings we all have our own biases, our own preferences,” Arao said.

“For example, one person would prefer coffee over tea…[b]ut you cannot compromise being in favor of human rights and being against human rights,” he added.

Yesterday, the Congress denied the renewal of ABS-CBN’s franchise after 13 hearingsthe longest hearing among other broadcasting companies’ in the Philippines. 

Seventy representatives voted to adopt the rejection, 11 to dismiss the rejection, two to inhibit, and one to abstain.  

Last May 5, the National Telecommunications Commission issued a cease and desist order to ABS-CBN after its 25-year franchise lapsed. 

The webinar titled, “Academic Perspective on Press Freedom during COVID-19,” was organized by the College Editors Guild of the Philippines. Paolo Alejandrino



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Student organization condemn anti-terror bill provisions

The University of Santo Tomas (UST) The Political Science Forum (TPSF) condemned the constitutionality of the “questionable” provisions and mechanisms of the Anti-Terror Law (ATL).



Arden Esmile/TomasinoWeb

The University of Santo Tomas (UST) The Political Science Forum (TPSF) condemned the constitutionality of the “questionable” provisions and mechanisms of the Anti-Terror Law (ATL).

“[T]he Draconian measures pointed out by critics of the law emphasized on the stifling of dissent and criticism, and the possible danger of disregarding the democratic freedom of every Filipino,” the statement released yesterday, July 4 read.

TPSF also called for vigilance among Filipinos amid the signing of the Anti-Terror Bill into Law last Friday, July 3. 

“Given this turn of events, the Forum calls for vigilance among all Filipinos in ensuring that its enforcement shall be free from disfranchisement of fundamental rights of everyone,” the Forum said. 

TPSF stressed that government critics, student activists, indignant masses, and indigenous groups in the country are the “most vulnerable” in the enforcement of the highly scrutinized warrantless investigations and arrest. 

According to the Forum, the provisions of the law, specifically on the prolonged detention of the alleged violator and lesser liability of law enforcers from erroneous accusations, “may result in power tripping and reckless law enforcement.” 

“[T]he balance of power in handling revolving around terrorism are centered to the executive department whereas the Anti-Terrorism Council (ATC) shall be comprised of presidential appointees, members who have most likely to have conflict of interest with the state,” TPSF said. 

The Forum also questioned the “practicality and relevance of the bill” during the pandemic.

A group of lawyers and civic leaders, led by Lawyer Howard Calleja, filed yesterday, July 4, the very first petition against the newly signed ATL before the Supreme Court. Jayziel Khim Budino



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