Hands off Ella and her Blog
Posted by butalidnl on 25 January 2010
Secretary Esperanza Cabral of the DSWD (now secretary of health) has filed a libel suit against blogger “Ella” for posting a blog claiming that the DSWD was hoarding relief supplies for Typhoon Ondoy victims, and that they were “rotting” in DSWD warehouses. The Secretary went to say that the blog accuses her of corruption, etc. The Secretary has even asked the NBI to file the suit for her.
To find out more re this, I decided to visit the blog at www.ellaganda.com to find out what the fuss was all about. The blog title was “Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo? (A special report from a volunteer)”. What I found was a proper blog by a concerned citizen re the relief goods which apparently were not being distributed promptly to the typhoon victims. Nowhere in that blog post did she say that relief goods were “rotting” – the word she used was “inaalikabok” (which means “gathering dust”). She was decrying the lack of volunteers to do the repacking work, and even suggested that NGOs or the military could help in this work. She in no way accused the Secretary or the DSWD of corruption.
Of course, since the report went out, other people have embellished it with comments to the effect that this is because of corruption, and that the goods are rotting, but this is NOT in the blog itself!
I think that Secretary Cabral is overstepping her authority and being arrogant, by trying to silence Ella and her blog. Her libel suit is totally without merit. Ella’s blog told the truth, and it was done without any malicious intent. It is not libel, it is free speech.
Blogs can be a powerful instrument to call attention to things going wrong in our society. And things went wrong with the DSWD distribution system around the time of Ondoy. Because of Ella’s blog, the DSWD’s attention to this was called, and perhaps their distribution system was improved in the process. Secretary Cabral should understand that in a democracy (which I assume the Philippines is), criticism from the public should be welcomed, not silenced.