By RAYMUND VILLANUEVA
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines called out Facebook for taking down separate anti-Marcos posts by a journalist and a blogger, calling the social media platform’s move as “a direct infringement on the users’ right to freedom of expression.”
Facebook took down on Tuesday Manila Bulletin columnist Tonyo Cruz and blogger Gang Badoy’s respective posts denouncing the alleged compromise deal between the Rodrigo Duterte government and the family of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos.
In an alert, the NUJP said Cruz received a notice from Facebook at about 8 pm Tuesday that it has taken down his post entitled “Community Standards ng mga Kawatan.”
Cruz’s post denounced Facebook’s takedown of Badoy’s post containing photos of the alleged draft agreement between the government and the Marcos family.
Badoy’s post prompted a reaction from Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque denying the alleged deal, but confirmed the Palace had received a copy of it.
Badoy’s post was taken down by Facebook Tuesday morning for “violating community standards” but was restored at past 1 pm.
Badoy’s original post included photos of a a July 31, 2017 letter by Chief Presidential Legal Adviser Salvador Panelo acknowledging known Marcos loyalist Oliver Lozano’s earlier letter regarding his “views, comments and suggestions to create a legal team to study the Compromise Agreement with the Marcos family.”
“We shall further study your suggestions,” Panelo’s letter to Lozano further read.
Lozano, through a draft House bill, sought immunity for the Marcoses from further sequestration or freeze orders of their alleged ill-gotten wealth.
Lozano cited that President Corazon Aquino’s Proclamation No. 3 of March 1986 “shall remain operative for not more than eighteen months” after the ratification of the 1987 Philippine Constitution.
In exchange for disposing all pending cases against the Marcoses, Lozano’s draft proposed an unidentfied percentage of the late dictator’s wealth to be shared with the government.
Lozano added that the Marcos wealth should be used by the Duterte government for “massive economic development and world-class rehabilitation” of illegal drug users, rebels and destabilizers as well as to enable the government to settle the country’s foreign and local debts.
In his draft compromise agreement, Lozana wrote that the monies may also address the devastation of Marawi, Tacloban and other places.
“Facebook has also prevented me from posting on its website and from accessing my Messenger account. The official reason they gave is that I violated ‘community standards,’” Cruz said in a statement sent to the NUJP.
“I can still log in but I cannot post, comment or send a message for the same reason — ‘violation of community standards,’” he added.
As of 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, Cruz’s account has been restored.
Facebook has apologized to both Badoy and Cruz for “accidentally removing” their posts.
“The NUJP condemns Facebook’s baseless takedown of netizens’ posts critical of the government and institutions, as it is a direct infringement on the users’ right to freedom of expression,” the media group said.
“We call out Facebook for its arbitrary ‘community standards.’ which is often used as a basis for expurgating critical and thought-provoking commentaries,” NUJP said.