House Deputy Speaker Jesus Crispin Remulla on Wednesday issued an apology for failing to respect the country’s national anthem during a flag ceremony before the 18th House hearing on ABS-CBN‘s franchise renewal.
The representative of Seventh District, Cavite also blamed the embattled media giant for “playing it (video) up to now on social media,” which ABS-CBN CEO Carlo Katigbak has reportedly denied.
“I’d like to apologize for an earlier incident na ako po’y may ’sinusulat na note nung nag-flag ceremony tayo,” Remulla said when the inquiry on the franchise continued.
“As usual, the ABS-CBN people are the ones playing it up now on social media. But I will forgive them,” he added.
Remulla explained that “something” suddenly popped into his head during that moment.
“Ang sa akin ho, I wrote the note—hindi ko ho excuse ‘to—because something went into my mind for the questions I will ask tonight. Ako’y humihingi ng dispensa sa ating mga kababayan,” he said.
The lawmaker also said that he is willing to pay the penalty if needed.
The viral video showed Remulla jotting down notes while other people present at the House of Representatives stood with their right palm placed over their left chest in respect of the Philippine flag as “Lupang Hinirang” played.
“Lupang Hinirang” not just some song being played, sir.
— Q (@qvenie) July 1, 2020
A digital news outlet managed to obtain a full video where Remulla almost spent the entire duration of the anthem writing.
‘Stop blaming ABS-CBN’
Meanwhile, the lawmaker’s apology did not sit well with some Filipinos who reminded him that there is a certain conduct to be followed in terms of singing the country’s national anthem.
Lawyer and former senatorial candidate Erin Tañada III responded that Remulla has “no one to blame but himself.”
“Don’t point your finger at anyone because it will not erase the fact that you did not respect our Flag and National Anthem,” he tweeted.
Teleserye writer Jerry Grácio challenged Remulla to face the consequences of possibly violating the law.
Beshie, walang batas na nagpaparusa sa mga Filipino na di ma-recite ang Panatang Makabayan. Pero may batas na nagmumulta at nagpapakulong sa mga di gumagalang sa bandila at sa pag-awit ng Lupang Hinirang. Ngayon n'yo patunayan na 'the law is the law.'
— Jerry B. Grácio (@JerryGracio) July 1, 2020
Another Twitter user pointed a specific provision of the Flag and Heraldic Code of the Philippines, otherwise known as Republic Act 8491, that states “the attending public shall sing the anthem” which “must be done with fervor.”
“But, Congressman Crispin Remulla. Mali po ginawa ninyo na kayo’y hindi kumanta ng national anthem before the hearing proper of the ABS-CBN franchise renewal,” he tweeted in response to a news item reporting the lawmaker’s apology.
“‘Yan po ay paglabag sa Section 38 ng 1998 Heraldic Code or Republic Act No. 8491 na kung saan lahat ng mga Pilipino ay inaatasang kumanta ng national anthem sa bawat flag ceremony ng any institution lalo na the institutions of the government, including the House of Representatives ‘with fervor,'” the online user added.
Deo Enalpe, executive director of the Sigaw ng Kabataan Coalition, similarly reminded the lawmaker of the law by sharing some screengrabs of the file, as well as the penalties involved.
I just want to remind Cavite Rep. Jesus Crispin Remulla of this:
REPUBLIC ACT NO. 8491, S. 1998—”THE CODE OF THE NATIONAL FLAG, ANTHEM, MOTTO, COAT-OF-ARMS AND OTHER HERALDIC ITEMS AND DEVICES OF THE PHILIPPINES “
— Deo Mariano Enalpe 🇵🇭 (@deoenalpe_phl) July 1, 2020
Law is the law
In September 2018, 34 moviegoers were arrested for not standing up to sing the national anthem inside the cinema of a mall in Lemery, Batangas.
Section 38 of the Flag and Heraldic Code states that “the attending public shall sing the national anthem” whenever it is played at a public gathering. It must also be sung “with fervor.”
“As a sign of respect, all persons shall stand at attention and face the Philippine flag, if there is one displayed, and if there is none, they shall face the band or the conductor,” the provision added.
Section 39 also stated that “all officials and employees of the national and local governments, and any agencies or instrumentalities thereof, including government-owned or controlled corporations,” among others, are supposed to “comply strictly with the rules prescribed for the rendition of the anthem.”
“Failure to observe the rules shall be a ground for administrative discipline,” the provision said.
Individuals who violate the law shall be fined P5,000 up to P20,000 and/or be imprisoned for one year.