Fucking Censorship, I Tell Ye.

The other day, I received an interesting e-mail from a dear friend and fellow lawyer, Doranne, who raised the alarm bells over Senate Bill 2464 of the 14th Congress, the proposed Anti-Obscenity and Pornography Act.

According to the Senate website, the Bill has been referred to the appropriate Committee, and has been there since 6 August 2008.

Doranne’s e-mail foretold of gloom and doom:

Patay tayo, Kiko.

Have you heard of Senate Bill No. 2464, the ANTI-OBSCENITY AND PORNOGRAPHY ACT OF 2008? It’s now quietly pending in the Senate. Meaning, this absurd, outrageous, oppressive bill has been passed in Congress without causing any stir.

I agree that SB2464 is absurd, outrageous, and oppressive. It attempts to overwrite the established test of permissible erotic speech following the test laid down in Miller v. California, as adopted by our own Supreme Court. It is an attempt to define once and for all what is pornographic, and because pornographic is so subjective, it fails on so many due process fronts I need not discuss the same.

However, given its current status and attention in the media, I do not agree that it has been passed in Congress, or that it has been passed without any stir.

Just because SB2464 has been filed doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean that it has passed third reading in the House of Representatives. All it means is that it has been created by the legislative staff of Manny Villar and has been referred to Committee. AFAIK, no parallel Bill has been passed in the House of Representatives. Also, AFAIK, this Bill has not been certified as a priority bill by Malacañang – an embattled institution with more serious battles to fight.

From what I remember of my days stalking Congress, this means that the Committee will first calendar the bill for deliberation within the Committee itself. If SB2464 ever makes it to the Committee’s calendar, it will be scheduled for deliberation within the Committee itself. This deliberation includes holding hearings on the matter from the various stakeholders. Once the Committee approves the text of the Senate Bill, it will be sent to the floor for Second Reading with a sponsorship speech, followed by a turno en contra speech. Then each provision will be subject to interpellation for as many Senators as will be opposed to the measure. The results of the interpellation will be sent back to the Committee who will send the full, revised text back to the Senate as a body for third and final reading.

Assuming that the Senate agrees, we know that it will get sent to the House of Representatives where the same bill will be subjected to the same sponsorship process, except that the Senate-passed Bill will be referred to Committee. Knowing these shmucks, they’ll hold their own hearings on the matter (sex is such free publicity). Once it passes third reading in the House of Representatives, it will go to the Bicameral Conference Committee, where the Bill will undergo further additions.

Finally, the Bill as amended by the bicam will return to each House to be passed on anew. Once this Bill passes both Houses, then the approved bill will be sent to Malacañang. We know that if Ate Glow sits on this for 30 days, it will become law by inaction. Tangina naman. Wag naman sana.

Even if the bill becomes law, don’t underestimate the power of the ordinary smut producer to file an injunction before the Supreme Court because it violates the Free Speech Clause. In short, hindi pa tayo mamamatay, pagka’t hindi pa tapos ang laban. Not if I can help it.

To paraphrase Ninoy, the Filipino is worth fucking for.

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2 thoughts on “Fucking Censorship, I Tell Ye.”

  1. I was going to tell you about this yesterday but work crapped all over me. Let’s fight this thing! I’m tired of the government wasting our time and money telling us what not to do, when they should be using that crap to GET US OUT OF DEBT.

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