Media ignoring media

April 1, 2006

Yesterday was supposed to be the first preliminary investigation on the inciting to sedition case against the Daily Tribune, identified to be the staunchest critic of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.

After President Arroyo declared a State of National Emergency, police officers stormed the Tribune office and got skeleton copies of the paper as well as some papers.

While the government claim it was only to protect the paper from destabilizers, they still pushed through with the filing of inciting to sedition case against its editor-in-chief and two columnist for allegedly writing stuff that is trying to influence the public to go against the government.

Members of the media got mad, condemning the government for violating the freedom of speech and expression, violating the right to information and the likes.

However, on the time when the media was supposed to show support to the paper, the preliminary investigation was covered by only three members of the press.

What happened? Where is the support?


why? source?

March 18, 2006

I dont mind being criticized…as long as it is constructive.

Last week, for the first time, i got this really irritating feedback telling me how to approach a story from someone who have no idea what my work is.

The guy thought when a news report quotes a "source," you did not talk to anyone but that is your own opinion.

I will no longer elaborate on what the story. but to those who do not know how a news story is being written and collated, a reporter is allowed to use a news source who does not want to be identified. Why that source does not want to be identified? well because that person probably fears for his or her life because of the sensitive information he or she will reveal.

Using a news source does not mean we, reporters are rumor mongering. We are simply trying to protect that person otherwise if we kept on identifying all the source of our stories, we will no longer find any person willing to report something sinister in the government.

In fact, there is a law that protects a reporter. Republic Act 1477 is a law that states that a reporter cannot be compelled to name the source of his or her story unless it involves national security.

However, i have to admit there are those who "ss" a story. "ss" means you create a story by recycling an old issue and sensationalizing it to make it new. but that is another story.

Anyway, I hope those who are from another industry will understand that "source" does not necessarily mean "the writer her or himself."

Creating a source is always a risk. So, if i will only inject my personal opinion, might as well keep it.

There are still many people in the media industry who remains responsible and committed to the truth. Idealistic as it may seem but its true.


SolGen Benipayo resigns

March 14, 2006

Solicitor-General Alfredo Benipayo's resignation has been circulating around since 2004 after he was bypassed by the President in his application to a Supreme Court position.

Finally giving in to pressures of his job does not surprise me at all. After all, he has no choice but to handle all the controversial cases filed against the government and with the rate we are going, I think there will be more cases to be filed against the government.

He first caught the ire of Malacañang when he opted not to fight in the Supreme Course the case against the Commission on Elections who decided that both Senator Panfilo Lacson and the late Fernando Poe Jr. can run for President in 2004 under the LDP banner.

The Palace reportedly preferred that Lacson run against the President because FPJ is more popular while Lacson has weaker machinery compared to that of President Arroyo.

When Benipayo was interviewed by reporters during his interview with the Judicial and Bar Council for another vacant Supreme Court post, Benipayo no longer seemed enthusiastic or should i say optimistic about becoming a member of the Supreme Court.

I asked him if he will inhibit on the EO 464 case if he is appointed to the court, he replied "Of course" but added that he does not think it will happen or to that effect.

He even noted that he has no choice but to defend EO 464. What does he mean by that?

His name was even dragged into the controversy surrounding the death of the PIATCO Judge Henrick Gingoyon whose staff allegedly pointed to him as the one calling the late judge asking that he decide in favor of the government.

If that is true (i am not saying that it is of course), his actions would not be on his own volition but he is pressured to do such thing.

Judging by the many controversial cases he have to defend, the pressure is already there but with added pressure of being pressured? Gosh…

My sympathies…


If only…

March 12, 2006

I hate Mondays.

I hate Mondays especially when i had a really great weekend. After so many weeks, i finally felt again what its like to feel bored!!!!

Saturday.

I woke up in a panic thinking its only Friday and my alarm did not went on. My mom told me its saturday so i stayed in bed 'till noon. i got up to eat lunch. played with my dog. watch a really ridiculous horror flick and then enjoy my boredom.

Sunday.

I woke up at noon to eat lunch. Played with my dog. Took a bath with my mom. Listen to some music and took a power nap with my dog beside me, taking her power nap too.

When i woke up, i ate cake and biko because its my sister's birthday.

After that, i sat down again take the remote and continue channel surfing.

Sometimes, i wish life is like this…very simple…very boring…


A better court?

March 11, 2006

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Oral Arguments

March 10, 2006

I always find it amazing to watch lawyers argue before the justices of the Supreme Court. Standing in front of all those legal eagles would either make or break you.

Proclamation 1017 declaring a state of national emergency has been in the spotlight since it was proclaimed last Feb. 24. Its proclamation gave birth to a lot of issues that, when summed up would end up at Article 3 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution which is the Bill of Rights.

Those oppose and the government gave their all to defend or attack Proclamation 1017 but as always, I am always amused everytime the government lawyers stands up in front to defend the government.

After all those attackers, its time for him to stand up for the government who has been beaten black and blue by the opposition. The justices were wary of all the allegations of human rights violations that their questions for the government lawyer zeroed in to the legality of the police in raiding the Daily Tribune, arresting UP Professor Randy David and Party-list Representative Crispin Beltran (Anak Pawis).

"What was the findings (on the arrest of David)? Whom did he incite?" Associate Justice Reynato Puno asked who also noted on Beltran's case that the lawmaker was already conspiring with the New People's Army since 2003, a complaint should have been filed much earlier.

Associate Justice Romeo Callejo, meanwhile noted that he is at a loss on the case filed against Beltran.

"That's queer. He was arrested for inciting to sedition but was inquested for rebellion. I am at a loss here," Callejo said.

The government lawyer said Beltran was charged with two charges of rebellion.

"Why was he charged with two charges of rebellion when rebellion is a continuing crime?" Callejo said.

"I don't know," the government lawyer answered.

Hmmm…fascinating.

Puno, together with the other justices also questioned the validity of the raid to the office of the Tribune.

The government counsel admitted that there was no search warrant or a permission was asked to its owners before a search was conducted.

"Why do you have to go there at 1am without a warrant when all they have to do is to get past issues?" Puno said.

Meanwhile, Callejo noted the inconsistencies on the government's defense that the police is merely protecting the Tribune from destabilizers.

"If they are there to protect the premises, why are they taking clippings of the newspaper…for memento's sake?" Callejo said.

Again, the government counsel gave a fascinating response that almost knocked all of us off our seats.

"I could not catch your theory, the fact that you were answering questions to please the justices more than to defend Proclamation 1017," Chief Justice Artemio Panganiban said.

If the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court is baffled by his answers, what more the ordinary people like me.

Watching him that night…i had a thought…naaaahhhh…restrictions…restrictions


A Call for Solidarity

February 27, 2006

The following is a statement from the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines statement released last Sunday…

For a few years now, the global media community has acknowledged the Philippines among the most dangerous places for journalists. In the past two years, our country has been second only to Iraq in the number of media killings. Philippine journalists have fought hard to roll back the tide of violence. Today, however, the Philippine press facesits strongest challenge.

In declaring a “state of national emergency,” President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo made media among her main targets. She and senior aides warned of government takeover of media facilities considered friendly to the political opposition.Police have already raided the offices of the Daily Tribune, a national daily. Armed men in civilian clothes have gone around the offices of Abante, the country’s biggest tabloid. Police had earlier arrested Randy David, a columnist of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, holding the award-winning journalist and sociologist for five hours prosecutors said there was no ground to charge him with any crime.

The government deployed troops to the compounds of ABS-CBN and GMA-7, the country’s largest television networks. The government’s claim was that the soldiers were protecting these stations from a potentialtakeover by destabilizers.

Police have also declared that they would not hesitate to takeover media entities found “aiding” the administration’s enemies. The police also said they would soon release “standards” or guidelines that journalists must follow and that investigators and prosecutors weremonitoring the news.

By the government’s definition, providing aid to Mrs. Arroyo’s enemies includes interviewing opposition parties. In simple terms, the administration wants media to present only the side of the embattled government, using force and coercion to bend journalists to itswishes.

Filipinos, journalists included, fought a long, hard battle to regain democracy after two decades of tyranny. That Mrs. Arroyo timed this crackdown on civil liberties with the anniversary of the Marcos dictatorship’s fall only highlights her break with the democratic aspirations of Filipinos. Even as she warns enemies of feeling thefull force of the law, Mrs. Arroyo flaunts constitutional guarantees to free speech and expression and press freedom.

Leaders of Philippine society have spoken out against the government’s iron-hand tactics. The Philippine journalism community has also moved fast to unite against this grand assault on press freedom. Today, (Sunday, Feb. 26), the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines will lead various organizations and individual journalists in protesting the crackdown on media. The Philippine media community intends to send Mrs. Arroyo a strong message: We will not go gentlyinto the night.

We call on all our colleagues in print, broadcast and digital journalism worldwide to support Philippine media in this dark hour. Please add your voice to our protest. Let us collectively condemn the crackdown on Philippine media and remind Mrs. Arroyo that no country can be free to prosper if its media is silenced and cowed. You can send protest letters to the government through the Office of the Press Secretary at osec@ops.gov.ph, with facsimile number (632) 735-6167 or deliver these to the nearest Philippine embassy and consulate. You can send solidarity messages to the NUJP through its email address,nujphil@gmail.com or post this on our website, www.nujp.org.


The Unlucky Number 13…

February 27, 2006

I received this really weird text message. But whoever started that message really has a creepy observation.

Its about the lucky number 13…well…here goes…

* Manny Pacquiao won his fight with Erik Morales on January 22…

* Thirteen days later, on February 4, 74 people died from the stampede at PhilSports Arena (formerly Ultra)…

* Thirteen days later, on February 17, thousands of people died from a landslide in Southern Leyte…

What's next…

* The thirteenth day from February 17 would be March 2…


In disguise…?

February 27, 2006

I've been searching the internet for the complete copy of Proclamation 1081, I don't know but I just can find a copy. Anyway, i managed to find what I'm looking courtesy of library.thinkquest, an excerpt from Proclamation 1081…

Now, therefore, I Ferdinand E. Marcos, President of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers invested upon me by Article VII, Section 10, Paragraph (2) of the Constitution, do hereby place the entire Philippines as defined in Article I, Section 1 of the Constitution under martial law and, in my capacity as their Commander-in-chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well as any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction.

Now, let us look at an excerpt of Proclamation 1017 where President Arroyo declared a State of Emergency…

NOW, THEREFORE, I Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Section 18, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution which states that: “ The President…whenever it becomes necessary,…may call out (the) armed forces to prevent or suppress…rebellion…, “ and in my capacity as their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction; and as provided in Section 17, Article 12 of the Constitution do hereby declare a State of National Emergency.

Since the most important part of 1017 was lifted from 1081, but 1017 did not state Martial Law, can we assume that we are in an indirect Martial Rule ?


State of the Really Very Serious State of Emergency of a State of Paranoia??

February 26, 2006

I have been reading a copy of proclamation 1017 Declaring a State of National Emergency. I am not a law expert or near that point but based on my conversations with really well-versed people, partly, yes there is nothing to be scared about the actual contents of 1017.However, the implementation is the one sending chills down my spine. I mean, why would the National Telecommunications Commission hold a dialogue with media executives telling them how to do their stories. Balanced reporting…fair, honest, we know it like the palm of our hands.

Both Fr. Bernas and retired Supreme Court justice Vicente Mendoza said that a declaration of a national state of emergency is an exercise of the President's power as a commander-in-chief in times of 1. invasion; 2. rebellion; 3. lawless violence.The President can utilize the police and the military when there is rebellion that would endanger the public safety. Utilizing would mean a suspension of the writ of habeas corpus and in this enters the warrantless arrest.

Both Fr. Bernas and justice Mendoza said there is really nothing to worry about these warrantless arrest if you are just ordinary citizens. Like in ordinary days, they said, you stay out of harm's way, out of trouble and you will have no problem.

But something's bothering me. Why did those people who drafted this proclamation included Article 12 Section 17 that states about the government taking over of vital industries.This, according to justice Mendoza should have Congress approval because Congress will determine how long the temprary take over will be.

Deliberate or Accidentally ommitted?

Part of the Proclamation states that;"NOW, THEREFORE, I Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Section 18, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution which states that: “ The President…whenever it becomes necessary,…may call out (the) armed forces to prevent or suppress…rebellion…, “ and in my capacity as their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction…"

A continuation of that provision Article 7 Section 18 states that "…In case of invasion or rebellion, when the public safety requires it, he may, for a period not exceeding sixty days, suspend the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus or place the Philippines or any part thereof under martial law. Within forty-eight hours from the proclamation of martial law or the suspension of the privilege of the writ of habeas corpus, the President shall submit a report in person or in writing to the Congress. The Congress, voting jointly, by a vote of at least a majority of all its Members in regular or special session, may revoke such proclamation or suspension, which revocation shall not be set aside by the President. Upon the initiative of the President, the Congress may, in the same manner, extend such proclamation or suspension for a period to be determined by the Congress, if the invasion or rebellion shall persist and public safety requires it."

With the arrest of several rallyist and suspected brains of the reported coup, it is obvious that there is already a suspension of writ. So, why did that portion omitted on the actual copy of the proclamation? Are they scared of the word "martial law" which might alarm the public? or they really do not have any intention of informing Congress?Who knows?

Another question is…is there really a rebellion that "endanger the public safety" to warrant such a declaration?

The government claims "THERE IS."

But what do we know? We only see protest rallies and not actual rebellion. Because if there is, I dont think I can still go to Robinson's Place Manila to eat at Mc Donalds and stroll for a while or I will no longer be able to see people going to movie houses or I will no longer see people going through their daily routines or i will no longer be able to walk my dog or Department of Justice employees will no longer be able to play basketball at the DOJ empty parking space after work today.

(here is the actual copy of the proclamation courtesy of INQ7)
declaring a state of national emergency: MALACAÑAN PALACE MANILA
PROCLAMATION NO. 1017

PROCLAMATION DECLARING A STATE OF NATIONAL EMERGENCY

WHEREAS, over these past months, elements in the political opposition have conspired with authoritarians of the extreme Left represented by the NDF-CPP-NPA and the extreme Right, represented by military adventurists–the historical enemies of the democratic Philippine State—who are now in tactical alliance and engaged in a concerted and systematic conspiracy, over a broad front, to bring down the duly constituted government elected in May 2004.

WHEREAS, these conspirators have repeatedly tried to bring down the President;

WHEREAS, the claims of these elements have been recklessly magnified by certain segments of the national media;

WHEREAS, this series of actions is hurting the Philippine State–by obstructing governance including hindering the growth of the economy and sabotaging the people’s confidence in government and their faith in the future of this country;

WHEREAS, these actions are adversely affecting the economy;

WHEREAS, these activities give totalitarian forces of both the extreme Left and extreme Right the opening to intensity their avowed aims to bring down the democratic Philippine State;

WHEREAS, Article 2, Section 4 of our Constitution makes the defense and preservation of the democratic institutions and the State the primary duty of Government;

WHEREAS, the activities above-described, their consequences, ramifications and collateral effects constitute a clear and present danger to the safety and the integrity of the Philippine State and of the Filipino people;

NOW, THEREFORE, I Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, President of the Republic of the Philippines and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, by virtue of the powers vested upon me by Section 18, Article 7 of the Philippine Constitution which states that: “ The President…whenever it becomes necessary,…may call out (the) armed forces to prevent or suppress…rebellion…, “ and in my capacity as their Commander-in-Chief, do hereby command the Armed Forces of the Philippines, to maintain law and order throughout the Philippines, prevent or suppress all forms of lawless violence as well any act of insurrection or rebellion and to enforce obedience to all the laws and to all decrees, orders and regulations promulgated by me personally or upon my direction; and as provided in Section 17, Article 12 of the Constitution do hereby declare a State of National Emergency.

IN WITNESS HEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the seal of the Republic of the Philippines to be affixed.

Done in the City of Manila, this 24th day of February, in the year of Our Lord, two thousand and six.

GLORIA MACAPAGAL-ARROYO
PresidentRepublic of the Philippines