Erap to sue Atienza over film bio ban

joseph2.jpg(via Manila Times) FORMER President Joseph Estrada is set to file charges against Mayor Lito Atienza for allegedly banning the showing of Estrada’s film biography, Ang Mabuhay Para sa Masa, at Plaza Miranda.

“They will file a petition for mandamus to compel Mayor Atienza to reverse his order, which was characterized as a grave abuse of authority, which violates the constitutional guarantee of freedom of expression,” Rufus Rodriguez, Estrada’s legal counsel, said.

The Times tried to get Atienza’s reaction, but he was unavailable.

Rodriguez said that Atienza’s “capricious and malicious order” was opposed to the wisdom behind the creation of freedom parks under Batas Pambansa 880, guaranteeing a venue for the free expression of political dissent.

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board earlier gave a “triple x” rating to the film documentary, banning it from being broadcast on television or shown in public such as in movie theaters.

“The reason behind the ‘triple-x’ rating that banned Estrada’s biography was political in nature, Consoliza Laguardia, the board chief, admitted,” Rodriguez said.

At a Senate budget hearing on Tuesday, Laguardia explained the reason for giving the film the rating.

“The former president could bring MTRCB officials to the Supreme Court for the ‘triple-x’ rating handed down by the agency after politics was behind the decision,” Sen. Franklin Drilon, chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, noted after questioning Laguardia.

Drilon added that the MTRCB imposed “arbitrary” standards to justify the triple x rating.

Rodriguez pointed out that the film was a “newsreel,” since its contents are “factual, immediately verifiable and are considered part of Philippine history.”
–Jesse Edep

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