The response of PEP to the Cease and Desist Order of the Gutierrez' Lawyer

The PEP editor-in-chief Jo-ann Maglipon regarded the C and D letter as violation of the freedom of expression.

This is a portion of her response.

The C & D Letter asks for something really grave—and impossible to give. It asks that we stop any coverage of Richard Gutierrez and shut down all comments about Richard by PEP users, a.k.a. the PEPsters.

The C & D Letter demands that "PEP's publisher Summit Media, its editorial staff headed by Jo-Ann Maglipon and Karen Pagsolingan, and its writers to immediately, upon receipt of this letter, CEASE AND DESIST from publishing any further articles and/or comments about Richard Gutierrez."

There is no other way to say it.

This is an affront to a free press.

It is cavalier about free speech.

It totally misrepresents the nature of public figures.

And it is dismissive of the public's right to know.

(Incidentally, in the interest of fact and accuracy, the Letter's authors should note that PEP is not owned by Summit Media but by PEP Inc. A more complete research will show that these are two distinct entities.)

We received the C & D Letter on April 14, 2009. Today, we are still printing articles and comments on Richard Gutierrez, as they come. Tomorrow, we will still be doing the same thing.

Let us not forget who we are talking about here. This is Richard Gutierrez, a movie star who, in the words of his mother and talent manager Annabelle Rama, is "the No. 1 na artista" in the land. [Click related story here.] The 25-year-old Richard is, therefore, by every measure a public figure. And PEP—being a site that carries reports, opinions, features, blogs, videos, podcasts, and photographs of and about public figures—will continue to do its job of reporting on Richard Gutierrez, for as long as the public is interested in him.

In brief, no one shall storm what the Constitution protects.

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