Malacañang opposes Baguio cursing ban

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 8) — An anti-profanity ordinance recently issued by local officials in Baguio City may violate freedom of speech, according to Malacañang.

Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said there's nothing wrong with swearing or cursing as long as nobody is harmed physically.

He also mentioned that it was the first time he heard of the ordinance.

The man he speaks for, President Rodrigo Duterte, is known to curse constantly in his public speeches.

"Profane words are uttered in a moment of anger. All of us (do) it. I don't think...I haven't heard of anyone not cursing when one is angry. Cursing is part of freedom of speech for as long as you do not injure the person that is the subject of your curse. If it's just an expression, I don't think it should be prohibited," Panelo said at a press briefing Thursday.

When asked if other local government units should follow Baguio, Panelo said such an ordinance may be found unconstitutional if questioned before the courts.

"It may not pass the constitutional test when it is raised before the courts," Panelo said.

The anti-profanity ordinance signed by Baguio City Mayor Mauricio Domogan is only effective within school premises and other places frequented by students.

The city council passed it in September and it bans any expression of profanity, which it says includes "blasphemous or obscene language; vulgar or irreverent speech or action; expletive, oath, swearing, swearword, curse, curse word, cuss-profane or obscene expression."

If only within schools, Panelo says he will not oppose the ordinance.