The court rejects Bulatlat.com’s request to unblock access to the site; lawsuit to be continued

MANILA, Philippines — The court in Quezon City has denied independent news site Bulatlat’s request to issue a temporary stoppage order against the National Telecommunications Commission’s implementation of a memorandum blocking access to their website.

Bulatlat.com reported that the 306 Branch of the QC Regional Trial Court “denied the temporary restraining order sought by online alternative news Bulatlat, following the National Telecommunications Commission’s order to block Bulatlat and 26 other websites for alleged terrorist links”.

“The NTC memo has caused irreparable damage to our constitutional rights as our website remains inaccessible to significant segments of our audience,” he added.

A copy of the court order has yet to be made public at the time of this story’s publication.

Attorney Minnni Lopez told reporters the TRO was denied “because the naman daw ang website was accessible.” Philstar.comhowever, cannot access website on mobile and laptop using PLDT Wifi.

“The parties were due to file a memorandum three days from today. The hearing has been rescheduled for August 2 at 1:30 p.m.,” Lopez added.

Esperon’s request

Bulatlat.com ran to court to stop the NTC from enforcing its memorandum, following former national security adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr.’s request to block access to more than 20 websites for being ” affiliated with and supporting terrorists”.

But Esperon’s list also included progressive groups and even independent news sites that have long been subject to red flags.

Under the ATA and its implementing rules and regulations, the designation only triggers the power of the Anti-Money Laundering Council to freeze the assets of listed groups. In closing arguments, government lawyers reiterated this before the Supreme Court justices, and the DOJ upheld that position on Wednesday.

Elna M. Lemons