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Lessons we can learn from Ronnel Mas, the Teacher who offered 50 M to whoever can Kill Duterte

Pubic school teacher Ronnel Mas of Taltal National High School in Sta. Cruz, Zambales was arrested by the NBI last Tuesday, May 12, 2020, after posting on tweeter that he will give 50 million to anybody who can kill president Duterte. The teacher already apologized for his conduct and was deeply sorry for what he had caused. Ronnel Mas said that the reason behind his tweet was just to draw attention.” Sa ating minamahal na pangulo narito po ako sa inyong harapan, humihingi ng inyong kapatawaran. Ako po ay nagsisisi sa aking ginawa. Hinding hindi napo mauulit ang ganitong klaseng aksyon, hinding hindi na po. Sana po mapatawad nyo ako”.

However, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevara said, “apology is not one of the grounds for extinguishing criminal liability.”

“I cannot feloniously injure another and get away with it by merely saying ‘sorry,”. Guevarra also said, “In any case, the rights of the person arrested will be respected at all times, including his right to counsel”.

In today’s society, everyone was given the right to express his/her opinion on many different social media platforms. Almost everyone is claiming their right to “freedom of speech” and they are right. They are right that each of us has the right to express what’s on our mind, what we stand up for, and what we believe in. However, the freedom to speech has its limits and these limits are based on the foundation of what’s morally right. Therefore our free speech can only be exercised if our speech does not harm anyone. We cannot expect our speech to be uncensored if it violates the rights of others especially if we use speech to vilify someone or destroy someone’s character, especially without solid proof.  Using free speech to claim false ideas or results to benefit our own interest is definitely a big NO. Deceiving somebody to gain unlawfully is a serious crime in the Philippines.

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In a world where anybody who is connected to the internet can easily post his ideas online and let the world know anything he wants to say, we need to calm down. Freedom of speech has its fair share of advantages and disadvantages. It’s good that those who were voiceless before because of insecurity and were deprived of their right can now be heard any time. It’s amazing that we can connect to each other instantly, any time, and anywhere. It’s surprising how the internet has made our communication of ideas become so fast and so convenient for almost everyone but on the other side of the coin, it has become a venue for cyberbullying and false claims. In the case of teacher Ronnel Mas, he has somehow abused the use of the internet for his personal fascination and entertainment. It’s okay to express how we feel and it’s even okay to express disappointment if we felt that we are not receiving equal rights and attention from our government but we should be mindful of the words that we say or post. If we feel upset with our present government then we need to point out the things they missed clearly and honestly without the shade of politics. We don’t have to tell everyone to KILL someone for our disappointments to be heard. We must learn that there is an etiquette for social media. The saying “think before you click” is a true statement that will remain true for many years to come.

Our right to free speech is not unlimited. There is no such thing as absolute freedom. We as human beings are always bound by the laws of men and by the divine laws. Our right to speech is no different from our right to take action that should be restrained if it’s already harmful to others. Let us be careful with the words that we speak because it reflects our personality. We don’t want to give other people the wrong impression about us so we have to know our boundaries when it comes to freedom of expression. Recognize our limits in order to avoid misunderstandings and ill feelings against each other. – Karie | Helpline PH