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De Lima stands by San Beda campus paper amid admin blocking release over ‘too critical’ content

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by Xave Gregorio

Senator Leila de Lima expressed her support for the official campus publication of the San Beda University Senior High School after the school administration blocked the release of 1,700 copies of the student paper, which had a graphic of a man sitting on a throne of guns over a pile of dead bodies on its cover.

“The students of ‘The Bedan Roar’ did what any true Bedan would do. Nay, what a true Filipino patriot would do. They called out the threat of a tyrant. They let him know they are here and that they will not stand for his abuses,” said De Lima on Saturday (April 28) in a dispatch from her detention cell in Camp Crame.

“The students behind ‘The Bedan Roar’ had to be true to their nature – a student publication dedicated to the defense, not just of freedom of expression, but also to the upholding of the Bedan values – Fides, Scientia, Virtus – and to the defense of a free, democratic and progressive society,” the senator, who also hails from San Beda, said further.

In a now-deleted statement on Facebook, The Bedan Roar said the administration blocked the release of its second issue over content it deemed “too critical and too negative” of the school community.

“The reason for the halt order was because the magazine’s contents allegedly contain material that did not pass the standards of the school and was considered not approved,” the statement read.

All 1,700 copies which had already been printed and paid for by San Beda students were not released, forcing The Bedan Roar to publish the paper online.

The issue contains an editorial titled “The Strangest Things” which scored “President Duterte’s fake news problem” and urged him, one of San Beda’s most prominent alumni, to “step in and address the problem of botched-up reports and half-truths that repeatedly come spewing out of [Presidential Communications Assistant Secretary Mocha] Uson and his fellow Bedan [Justice Secretary Vitaliano] Aguirre.”

In the editorial, The Bedan Roar cited a complaint filed against Aguirre by youth group Millennials Against Dictators for allegedly using his position to spread fake news and opposition Senator Antonio Trillanes IV’s case against Uson before the Office of the Ombudsman.

“When the source of fake news is in the government, he (Duterte) has no right to become angry at journalists for being critical of his administration. In this respect, he needs to demand the same accuracy in his Cabinet members as he does for members of the media,” the editorial read.

“Just as much as we sling mud at those we find to be corrupt or stealing from taxpayers’ money, we should denounce purveyors of fake news for stealing our right to know the truth. Whether it is an erring student or the President himself, those that make a hobby of spinning fabricated stories pose a real threat to us and should be publicly called out,” it read further.

De Lima also urged to “lend our own roar” for The Bedan Roar, as doing nothing may allow for dissent to be completely silenced.

“There may come a time when, God forbid, there will no longer be a single true lion in the wild. We’ll all be creatures in captivity. Silenced. Powerless,” she said.

Politiko has reached out to The Bedan Roar for comment.

Read the full second issue of The Bedan Roar here: https://issuu.com/thebedanroarmanila/docs/publication1

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