Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

Philippine Press Freedom Report 2010

Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility: Philippine Press Freedom Report 2010 Published with the support of the Network Media Program, Open Society Institute

Copyright 2011 By the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility ISSN 1908-8299 All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the publisher.

© ©

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
A grant from the Network Media Program of the Open Society Institute made this publication possible.

Melinda Quintos de Jesus Publisher Luis V. Teodoro Editor Prima Jesusa B. Quinsayas Melanie Y. Pinlac Hector Bryant L. Macale Kathryn Roja G. Raymundo Martha A. Teodoro John Reiner M. Antiquerra Rupert Francis D. Mangilit Ruby Shaira F. Panela Lara Q. de Jesus Writers/Editorial assistants Lito Ocampo Melanie Y. Pinlac Photos Design Plus Cover and layout design

CONTENTS
Overview: An end and a beginning Legal prospects under the Aquino administration Bills on media in the 15th Congress Media safety: The press community responds The media in the public eye Killings and other attacks on journalists in 2010 Updates on some ongoing trials CMFR database on the killing of Filipino journalists/ media practitioners since 1986 9 17 25 37 43 67 81 91

FOREWORD

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HE TRIAL of the suspected killers and the alleged masterminds behind what is now known as the Ampatuan Massacre of Nov. 23, 2009 has been predictably slow and tainted with suspicions of bribery and intimidation as well as allegations of lawyer malpractice. Some of the victims’ families claim that there were attempts to bribe them into withdrawing from the cases, even as some prosecution witnesses said they had been threatened. On the other hand, the lead counsel of Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr. has been accused of unethical conduct through, his accusers claim, his attempts to deliberately delay the proceedings for the benefit of his clients. Whatever their validity, these issues underline the weaknesses of the very system of justice that gave birth to, and which has sustained, the culture of impunity. Whether that system will provide the victims and their families the justice they deserve and need is therefore crucial to the imperative of dismantling that culture. More than anything else, the system’s failure will send to those who cannot abide media exposure and criticism the message that they can kill not only journalists but also everyone else without fear of punishment. On the other hand, the successful prosecution and punishment of those responsible for the deaths of the 58 men and women including 32 journalists should demonstrate that the killers of journalists, among others, will not go unpunished. This should result in the Philippines’ ceasing to be among those countries where, despite Constitutional protection, not only press freedom but also free expression in general have been under threat for decades. That the defense of press freedom should be so crucial to the present and future of free expression is no accident. Press freedom and free expression have been targeted by corrupt officials, warlords, and criminals because accurate and meaningful information is vital to the development of an informed citizenry that is the backbone of authentic democracy. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility report on press freedom has been issued in recognition and in furtherance of the role of a free press in Philippine 

Philippine Press Freedom Report 2010

society. While emphasizing developments in the Ampatuan Massacre trial, the present report also looks into the bills relevant to the media that have been filed in Congress, and into media safety and the role of owners. It also provides updates on the cases of those accused in the killing of journalists, as well as on the most recent attacks on journalists and media workers. The report also provides an insight into the Filipino public’s perception of media performance, citizen attitude towards the media being an important factor in rallying support for press freedom, and in holding the line against its enemies. 

Overview: An end and a beginning

OVERVIEW: AN END AND A BEGINNING

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HE YEAR 2010 marked the end of the nine-year watch of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Those years were the bloodiest in Philippine history since the restoration of democracy in 1986. Arroyo’s administration

left in its wake 79 cases of journalists and media workers killed, or an average of nine killings per year, and hundreds of murders of human rights workers and political activists. 

Philippine Press Freedom Report 2010

Despite the imperative of ending the killings—not only because of their impact on press freedom but even more urgently for their effect on democracy itself—the Arroyo administration seemed indifferent and responded only when criticized by international press freedom watch groups. Until the end of her term, and despite her creation of special task forces to solve the killings, only five out of the 79 cases had been resolved, and only partially.

Arroyo’s legacy
In his Journalism Asia Forum 2010 address in Manila, United Nations Special Rapporteur for the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Opinion and Expression Frank La Rue said that the Philippines had gained the dubious distinction of having the most number of journalists killed in the world as a result of the massacre of 32 journalists and media practitioners in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao on Nov. 23, 2009. The Ampatuan Massacre boosted the number of journalists killed worldwide in 2009 to 72, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The Mangudadatu women and supporters, together with 32 journalists and media workers, on their way to file the certificate of candidacy of then Buluan town Vice-mayor and now Maguindanao Gov. Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu were killed by approximately 100 men allegedly led by Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr., then a known ally of Arroyo. Five civilians—including a couple on their way to a hospital in Cotabato City and a government employee on his way to work—who happened to pass by were also killed. The CPJ’s 2010 Global Impunity Index singles out the Philippines as a country allegedly at peace and a democracy with the most journalists killed and with the least number of successfully prosecuted cases against the perpetrators. The Philippines ranked third in the 2010 Index, three places up from sixth place in 2009, also as a result of the Ampatuan Massacre. “The massacre overshadowed gains that Philippine authorities had made, winning convictions in two journalist murders,” CPJ said, referring to the conviction of the killers of Armando Pace and Klein Cantoneros in 2009. In 2010, the Philippines ranked 156th in the 2010 World Press Freedom Index of the Paris-based press freedom watch group Reporters Sans Frontiéres (RSF, Reporters Without Borders), 34 places down from its 122nd rank in 2009. RSF cited the Philippines as one of the countries whose “ranking dropped due to a breakout of serious violence.” RSF also said “(d)espite a few murderers of journalists’ being brought to trial, impunity still reigns in the Philippines.”

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Overview: An end and a beginning

Awareness
The Ampatuan Massacre, and the unabated killing of journalists and media practitioners, increased the awareness of safety and security issues in the Philippine press community, compelling more media organizations to review and strengthen existing safety guidelines, or to devise such guidelines if absent. (After the Ampatuan Massacre, five other journalists/media practitioners were killed in the line of duty. The latest—the killing of radio reporter Miguel Belen—happened in the first month of the Aquino administration.) This level of awareness is evident in the increase in the number of safety training workshops, seminars, and other activities in the press community. The massacre has also resulted in a more organized and united media front. Media organizations continue to report on the massacre regularly, and have been working together to push for reforms in the press community (e.g., by emphasizing ethical practice) as well as government (e.g., by demanding the dismantling of private armies) to help prevent the repetition of the massacre and to stop media killings.

New administration’s attitude to press freedom
Many Filipinos now hope that the new administration of Benigno Aquino III could initiate a different brand of governance that could end impunity and the killing of Filipino journalists and media practitioners. Unlike its predecessor, the Aquino administration has promised several times to respect press freedom and freedom of expression. Aquino has also vowed to end impunity. In his first State of the Nation Address (SONA), Aquino said that half the cases of extrajudicial killings “are now on their way to being resolved.” “We will not stop the pursuit of the remaining half of these killings until justice has been achieved,” Aquino told the nation in Filipino. Speaking for the then incoming president on the two most recent murders of journalists last June, Edwin Lacierda (now presidential spokesperson) said that Aquino “will be serious about protecting the rights of journalists and this will not be mere lip service.” The Aquino family has itself been “a victim of human rights violations so it’s natural for him to ensure that the rights of everyone, especially the members of the

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media, will be upheld,” the Manila Bulletin quoted Lacierda as saying. (“Aquino vows justice against media killings”, June 17) The Aquino administration promises to do its best to safeguard and protect the rights of Mindanao journalists no matter how critical they are of his administration, according to Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process Teresita Quintos Deles who was quoted in a Bulletin report last Nov. 7. (“Aquino to safeguard rights of critical media”) “The Philippines has become one of the ‘most dangerous assignments’ for media practitioners, together with Iran and Iraq, and truly, most serious efforts must be waged to assure you of the atmosphere of openness and safety. Needless to say, we need to continue to have a free, independent, and objective media to protect the peace,” the Bulletin quoted Deles as saying in the 6th Mindanao Media Summit. Deles made the statement a few days before the commemoration of the first anniversary of the Ampatuan Massacre.

Ending impunity
In August, the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ) and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines met with Aquino’s Communications Group and Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to discuss how the government could help end the culture of impunity which encourages the killing of journalists. Among the measures discussed were the strengthening of the state-run witness protection program, capacity-building for forensics experts in the police and military, and the creation of a multi-sectoral quick response team. The FFFJ is a coalition of media organizations and press freedom groups launched on Jan. 7, 2003 to address the killing of journalists. Its members are: the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), the Center for Community Journalism and Development, the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP, Association of Broadcasters of the Philippines), the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, the US-based newspaper Philippine News, and the Philippine Press Institute. CMFR serves as its technical secretariat.

Aquino as press critic
At times, however, it seems that Aquino himself or his officials are not as critically aware of the issues involving the press as his stated commitment to defending press freedom would suggest.

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Overview: An end and a beginning

For example, in his first SONA, Aquino urged the press to monitor its own ranks. “To our friends in media, especially those in radio and print, to the blocktimers and those in our community newspapers, I trust that you will take up the cudgels to police your own ranks,” Aquino said in Filipino. “May you give new meaning to the principles of your vocation: to provide clarity to pressing issues, to be fair and truthful in your reporting, and to raise the level of public discourse.” Stopping short of saying that the press has been inaccurate and biased, Aquino unknowingly validated the claim that journalists and media practitioners have no one to blame for the killing of journalists but themselves. Neither does Aquino or his officials seem to know that the press has been monitoring its own ranks to correct ethical and professional lapses and to protect press freedom since democracy was restored in the country in 1986, and when the unprecedented killing of and attacks on journalists and media organizations spiked during Arroyo’s nine-year watch.

The Aug. 23 hostage-taking
Controversies such as the Aug. 23, 2010 hostage-taking at Quirino Grandstand in Manila, that ended with nine individuals including the hostage-taker dead, provided a glimpse of how the new administration looks at issues involving press freedom, media responsibility, and free expression. Aquino and his allies seem to know little of how the press works in the Philippines, particularly how it regulates itself. The inquiry conducted by the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC) revealed how the actions of some journalists—among them crossing the policecordoned area, interviewing the hostage-taker while negotiators were trying to call him, and going live even when the hostage-taker had access to TV—were critical to the hostage incident’s outcome. But the first IIRC report left the sanctioning of broadcast media practitioners and entities to the KBP. However, the presidential legal team recommended the filing of charges of reckless imprudence against Radio Mindanao Network commentator Michael Rogas and TV5 anchor-reporter Erwin Tulfo. In contrast, officials from the police and the Department of the Interior and Local Government were cleared of any culpability, although the filing of administrative and criminal charges against Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim was supposedly recommended by the IIRC. Announcing his legal team’s recommendations, Aquino noted the media’s check-and-balance function, and pledged to continue championing press freedom.

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However, he described some media practitioners’ behavior in the hostage crisis as “irresponsible, bordering on the criminal” and warned that if such “unprofessional behavior” happened again, he “could be compelled to ask Congress for appropriate regulations.” But even before Aquino’s warning, Cebu 6th District Rep. Gabriel Quisumbing had already filed House Bill No. 2737, which makes it unlawful for the media to report police and troop movements during crises such as a hostage-taking incident. The Aug. 23 “media lapses” also led to a Senate Committee on Public Information inquiry. There, Sen. Joker Arroyo warned the media not to tempt the Senate into passing laws regulating the broadcast media. Some senators who were investigating the controversy threatened to revoke the broadcast organizations’ franchises to operate because of their supposed lapses in covering the crisis. They also warned that the Senate could pass a law regulating the networks’ coverage of similar situations in the future. (See “The Aug. 23 hostagetaking: Media lapses invited government intervention”, PJR Reports, SeptemberOctober 2010.)

Disappointing
Meanwhile, some members of the 15th Congress continue to pursue the passing of a right of reply (ROR) law, which would sanction “erring” media organizations, despite opposition from journalists’ and media advocacy groups. Some of these representatives have declared the passage of an ROR law as the condition for their approval of the freedom of information bill. (See “Bills on media in the 15th Congress” on pages 25-35.) The Supreme Court under Chief Justice Renato Corona has so far been helpful in one case involving the killing of a journalist. The Office of the Court Administrator has endorsed a request to transfer the trial venue of the case against the alleged gunman in the killing of broadcaster Crispin Perez last Sept. 29. The request has been granted by the Supreme Court, but the FFFJ is still waiting for court action on its request to transfer the trial venue of the murder of Desiderio Camangyan out of Mati City, Davao Oriental. Some court decisions on cases involving journalists and media practitioners were however disappointing. In August 2010, for example, a Manila court acquitted the alleged gunmen in the 2004 killing of broadcaster Roger Mariano. (See related story on page 88.)

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Overview: An end and a beginning

Changes in the media
In late 2009, television company TV5 went through another change in ownership. MediaQuest Holdings, a subsidiary of the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. headed by business tycoon Manuel V. Pangilinan, acquired major shares of the television company and of MPB (Media Prima Berhad) Primedia Inc. which earlier had a “content generation” contract with the network. In a statement quoted by abs-cbnNEWS.com in October 2009, MediaQuest said it “expects to further enhance TV5’s programming, ratings and sales as well as improve the broadcasting network’s coverage and signal strength through the country.” (“PLDT unit acquires majority stake in ABC-5, Primedia”) MediaQuest’s acquisition of TV5 brought about major changes in its programming, and has intensified the battle for ratings among television networks. The entry of TV5’s Willing Willie in the weekday primetime block last October has had an adverse impact on the primetime news programs of the two biggest networks. The game show, misleadingly billed as a “public service” program, is aired Mondays to Fridays at 6:30 p.m., almost the same time as ABS-CBN 2’s TV Patrol and GMA-7’s 24 Oras. As of November, the surveys had put Willing Willie first in the ratings game alongside 24 Oras, at least in Manila. Losing the ratings war has allegedly pushed ABS-CBN 2 to change the anchors of TV Patrol. ABS-CBN 2 announced in late November the return of former vicepresident Noli De Castro and broadcaster Korina Sanchez to the show, replacing Karen Davila and Julius Babao. (Also in that month, Maria Ressa resigned as the station’s news and current affairs head after serving for six years. Ressa, a former correspondent for international broadcast giant CNN and head of its Jakarta news bureau, instituted major editorial policies in ABS-CBN News and Current Affairs Division, including the crafting of the station’s first standards ethics manual for its reporters and editors.) The view that changes in the Philippine media are more illusory than real is basically accurate, but TV5’s approach to winning the ratings war could make things worse in terms of undermining the already limited audience share of the news and public affairs programs. Together with such problems as the killing of journalists, threats and harassments in the communities where the justice system is weakest, irresponsible and unethical coverage as demonstrated by, among others, the Aug. 23 incident, the impact of TV5’s focus on grabbing as much of the audience share as possible promises to further make the development of an informed public that is so vital to democracies even more problematic.

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LEGAL PROSPECTS UNDER THE AQUINO ADMINISTRATION
by Prima Jesusa B. Quinsayas

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Philippine Press Freedom Report 2010

“Laws are like spider webs in which small ones are caught and the big ones break away.” - Solon, as paraphrased by Leo B. Dacera III1

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HE ABOVE statement sums up the culture of impunity that encourages extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, including those of journalists.

Since 1986, there have been convictions in only 10 cases: those of the killers of journalists Alberto Berbon, George Benaojan, Klein Cantoneros, Edgar Damalerio, Marlene Esperat, Dionisio Joaquin, Odilon Mallari, Armando Pace, Frank Palma, and Nesino Toling. (See “CMFR database on the killing of Filipino journalists and media practitioners” on pages 91–99.) All the convictions involve the triggermen and/or accomplices, but none of the masterminds. In the Esperat case, alleged masterminds Osmeña Montañer and Estrella Sabay, although positively identified by state witness and former Philippine Army Sergeant Rowie Barua, remain free despite three warrants of arrest issued by three different trial courts. There are indications that political links, deep pockets and, sadly, the Rules of Court have allowed them to avail of various remedies to prevent their arrest and trial. Worse, instead of getting the support from his unit, witness Barua found himself “discharged without honor” from the Philippine Army in May 2010, more than four years after the gunman and lookout were convicted. The discharge, done in an ex parte (i.e., without the participation of Barua) proceeding, came at a most suspicious time: after the Makati trial court denied the motion of accused Montañer and Sabay to have the warrant of arrest against them lifted. In a letter dated July 8 addressed to National Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, Secretary of Justice Leila de Lima sought Barua’s reinstatement. She cited the previous decisions of two former Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chiefs of Staff, Generals Generoso Senga and Alexander Yano, approving Barua’s reenlistment. Instead of Gazmin replying, it was Philippine Army Adjutant General Col. Edilberto Suratos who answered De Lima’s letter. Maintaining that the

1 Senior State Prosecutor Leo B. Dacera III was the longest serving director of the Witness Protection, Security and Benefits Program. He worked closely with media groups, especially the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists, in the prosecution of media killing cases. He died on Nov. 4, 2010.

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discharge was correct, Suratos then pledged the continued support of the AFP for the Witness Protection, Security and Benefits Program (WPSBP) of the Department of Justice (DOJ). In the Ampatuan Massacre case, six members of the Ampatuan clan—the principal accused and the alleged mastermind of the massacre—have been in detention since late 2009. They are Andal Ampatuan Sr., Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr., Zaldy Ampatuan, Akmad “Tato” Ampatuan Sr., Anwar Ampatuan, and Sajid Islam Ampatuan. More than a year later, only Unsay has been arraigned and even he is not yet on trial, having filed a petition for bail for all the 57 counts of murder he is accused of. Fifty-one others, mostly members of the Philippine National Police (PNP), have been arraigned and are now on trial. The pattern is all too familiar. With no political connections, and no resources to hire private counsel, the so-called small fry, usually guns-for-hire or lookouts, are the first to be tried. In contrast, the alleged masterminds avail themselves of the best legal services money can buy to delay their prosecution. This is the legal environment into which Benigno Aquino III was elected as the 15th President of the Republic. Judging from the way Barua’s discharge was handled by the National Defense secretary, that environment is not likely to change dramatically during his watch. His choice of De Lima as secretary of Justice so far appears to be among his few positive cabinet appointments. While De Lima’s detractors point out her penchant for media appearances and press conferences, there is no denying she is willing to “walk the talk.” In her first few months as secretary of Justice, De Lima has been consistent in pushing the PNP to submit its complete report on the evidence so far gathered in the Ampatuan Multiple Murder case. Together with the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ), she has also signed a complaint against Suratos for the unjust and illegal discharge of witness Barua. This complaint has been filed before the Office of the Ombudsman. If these indicate how DOJ shall be handling media killing cases, it would be safe to say the media have an ally in the person of the Justice secretary. But De Lima alone will not be able to undo the culture of impunity that seems deeply entrenched in the Philippines. Other players have crucial roles: the secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) for instance.

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The PNP and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP) are both under DILG control and supervision. The firm resolve of the DILG secretary for these agencies to do their part in the pursuit of justice is vital. As part of the Philippine criminal justice system, the PNP and the BJMP contribute to the success or failure of prosecution efforts. The PNP is the lead law enforcement agency that gathers evidence for the prosecution. It is also the lead agency in serving warrants of arrest on suspects or accused, who are then turned over to the BJMP. Stories of unsatisfactory ground work on the part of the PNP in gathering evidence are not new, and are almost always true. The failure to arrest suspects or accused persons is also a constant variable that never fails to stop the wheels of justice. The classic examples are the Esperat and Dennis Cuesta murder cases.

No bragging rights
Despite the creation of the PNP Task Force (TF) Usig supposedly dedicated to ensuring the arrests of suspects or accused in media killing cases, there is little the said task force can brag about. The accused in the Cuesta case, former Police Inspector Redempto “Boy” Acharon, is still a free man despite the claim of TF Usig that a tracker team is on Acharon’s trail. Media cannot be blamed for being suspicious about the failure of the PNP to arrest Acharon. Aside from being a police officer, he is a first cousin of former General Santos City Mayor and now Congressman Antonio Acharon. News of BJMP preferential treatment of detained suspects or accused also abound. The accused in the Crispin Perez murder, Police Officer 2 Darwin Quimoyog, is rumored to have been transferred to more comfortable quarters beside the warden’s office. Quimoyog claims to be a close-in security of Jose Villarosa, mayor of San Jose, Mindoro Oriental, whose wife is Rep. Maria Amelita Villarosa. In the Ampatuan Massacre case, detained members of Ampatuan clan are reported to be enjoying privileges such as holding press conferences, parties, being detained in air-conditioned cells, and with at least one lawyer on call at the detention area 24/7. In contrast, some 14 accused PNP members are in one cell. Their water supply was cut off after they complained about 10 other people being detained with them in the same cell. The PNP detainees are also fed hardly edible rice, also allegedly after they made the complaint.

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These accused PNP personnel have refused to withdraw their affidavits identifying Unsay as the one who led the abduction of the convoy of Genalin Mangudadatu, the wife of then Buluan town Vice-mayor Esmael Mangudadatu. The conduct by the PNP and the BJMP can be corrected by the DILG secretary. It is regrettable that the DILG has remained a controversial department during the Aquino administration. With Secretary Jesse Robredo and Undersecretary Rico Puno allegedly at odds, the DILG has yet to get its act together and make a positive impression on media and the public in general. Even the President’s resolve to address the killing of journalists is difficult to fathom at this point. Take the president’s stance in the case of former PNP Chief Director General Jesus Verzosa under whose watch the Ampatuan Massacre and hostage-taking of Hong Kong tourists happened. The poor performance of TF Usig may also be blamed on Verzosa under the principle of command responsibility. Yet, Verzosa was allowed a graceful exit via early retirement without so much as a reprimand or slap on the wrist. Aquino, in fact, heaped upon him lavish praises for “a job well done” when about the only job-well-done the latter did was to declare he would not tolerate any attempt by then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to stay in power beyond June 30, 2010. Whether Aquino is unaware of the not-so-sterling record of the PNP under the leadership of Verzosa is debatable. What is obvious is that the president needs to acquire a clearer view of the bigger picture to understand the culture of impunity surrounding the killing of journalists if he is serious in doing something about it. Early into his administration, representatives of the FFFJ and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) sought a meeting with Aquino. PNoy (the President’s preferred nickname) initially confirmed he would be attending only to change his mind later allegedly because of the demands of more pressing matters. De Lima and the members of the Presidential Communications Group met with the FFFJ and NUJP representatives instead. As former chair of the Commission on Human Rights, De Lima had a good grasp of the issues surrounding the killings. But the same could not be said of Secretary Herminio Coloma, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda, or Undersecretary Manuel Quezon III. Their positions would have been a good starting point for the president to be briefed so he would understand better the implications of media killings: that the killings are an attack on press freedom, an indispensable ingredient in the progress of the peace-time democracy the Philippines is supposed to be.

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Overlooked player
One factor often overlooked in the legal picture is the role of the prosecutor general (formerly chief state prosecutor or CSP). Long-time CSP Jovencito Zuño retired early February 2010 and was replaced by Claro Arellano. The decisions of the prosecutor general can strengthen or weaken prosecution efforts. It is a position prone to political pressures and would require a person of integrity to withstand the same. It is interesting to note that it was only a few days before he retired that Zuño signed the resolution recommending that Quimoyog be charged with the murder of lawyerjournalist Perez. The resolution was said to have been ready for signature as early as October 2009. It makes one curious as to the kind of political pressures then Zuño must have been subjected to with respect to the resolution of said murder case. Arellano, to date, has been responsive and pro-active in media killing cases. Among his first official acts was to meet the families of the media victims in the Ampatuan Massacre. He led the panel of prosecutors in denouncing what was perceived to be a hasty resolution on the part of the then acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra in dropping murder charges against Zaldy and Akmad Sr. He also issues orders and signs pleadings and motions when the need arises. It was Arellano who designated DOJ Prosecutor Lamberto Fabros to handle the prosecution of the Perez murder case at a time when the handling local prosecutor appeared to be hesitant in the face of a trial judge perceived to be biased in favor of the accused. Arellano also keeps himself updated with the progress of the murder case against the killers of Desiderio Camangyan in Mati, Davao Oriental. Another crucial position in the success of prosecution efforts is that of the WPSBP director. The death of its program director, Senior State Prosecutor Leo B. Dacera III, was a big blow to the DOJ’s WPSBP. Its longest serving program director, Dacera managed the WPSBP with a rare understanding of the factors that influence and affect prosecution work. Dacera fully understood that witness protection work is not simply a matter of keeping witnesses safe but also includes keeping their morale high so they would not be discouraged by the protracted judicial proceedings and would not succumb to threats on their lives or those of their families. Constantly and painfully aware of the financial constraints and limitations of the program, which make witnesses vulnerable to offers of settlement, he was also tireless in seeking and humble in accepting help and assistance from media advocacy groups to cover the educational and medical expenses and other needs of witnesses and their families.

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From working on the transfer of the trial venues when it is evident that the suspect or accused is influential and well-connected, securing witnesses and their families, keeping tabs on the physical and mental well-being of witnesses and even those of the handling prosecutors, helping obtain more evidence, coordinating with appropriate government agencies, to transporting witnesses and prosecutors (and even judges when there are threats to their safety and security) to and from the courts, Dacera comprehensively managed the witness protection program. Given that physical evidence is usually unreliable because of erratic police work, it is unavoidable for the prosecution to rely on testimonial evidence. The WPSBP director is indispensable to the success of prosecution efforts. The new program director, who has yet to be named, has to continue with, or surpass, Dacera’s holistic approach in running the WPSBP. Considering the present mix of players—from the DOJ and the DILG secretaries, the prosecutor general and WPSBP director of the DOJ, to the president himself—the legal prospects under the administration of Aquino could be described as a mix of positive and negative possibilities. This situation will require of the president more than an outspoken Justice secretary and a low-key prosecutor general to break the culture of impunity. Much work needs to be done on and in the DILG, the supervising department of the PNP and the BJMP. The Presidential Communications Group appears to be in need of a briefing, too; and the shoes of Dacera have yet to be adequately filled. Finally and most importantly, the president himself needs to take such other steps as allocating a bigger budget for prosecution efforts and the witness protection program, and throwing the support of the Office of the President behind the initiatives taken by the secretary of Justice with regard to the cases of media killings. It is not enough for the president to declare a National Day of Mourning and to wear a black armband every Nov. 23. A speedy and fair trial sans off-court threats and the maneuvering of overpaid lawyers is what is needed—and not just in the Ampatuan Massacre, but in all the cases of media and extrajudicial killings.

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BILLS ON MEDIA IN THE 15TH CONGRESS

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HE BENIGNO Aquino III administration came to power in July 2010 through the May 2010 elections on the promise that it would be the opposite of its predecessor on a number of issues crucial to Philippine

democracy, among them its policies on the press and the media. Unlike the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration, which during its nine-year watch put in place what amounted to a policy of repression against the media and the press, it very early pledged to support and defend press freedom.

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The elections also marked a change in the legislative environment as the 15th Congress convened. But a new Congress, Philippine experience shows, does not necessarily make for a better environment for the media. While guaranteed by the 1987 Philippine Constitution, press freedom is still subject to threats from the various interests in Congress, the composition of which remains basically unchanged despite periodic elections due to the persistence of dynastic rule. Consequently, the bills that have been filed before the 15th Congress could adversely or positively affect journalism practice by creating the legal environment that defines it.

The 1 Constitution and the bills of the 15th Congress
Two major pieces of legislation, namely the right of reply (ROR) and the freedom of information (FOI) bills, have been reintroduced in the 15th Congress. The ROR would compel news organizations to publish or air replies from the subjects of news reports and commentaries (most of the versions filed do not distinguish between news and opinion), while the latter would reinforce a Constitutional provision on the right of citizens to access government information on matters of public concern. Article III, Section 4 of the 1987 Philippine Constitution declares that “No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or of the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.” Those opposed to the ROR bills say it violates the Constitutional protection of press freedom because it would undermine the editorial prerogative to decide what to publish, which in the newsroom is at the heart of press autonomy. On the other hand, Section 7, the basis for the FOI bills reads: “The right of the people to information on matters of public concern shall be recognized. Access to official records, and to documents and papers pertaining to official acts, transactions, or decisions, as well as to government research data used as basis for policy development, shall be afforded the citizens, subject to such limitations as may be provided by law.” Neither of these bills—the former opposed by most media, media advocates, and journalists’ organizations; the latter supported by these groups—passed in the last Congress, together with other media-related bills such as those amending the libel and shield laws. Noticeable in this Congress is the number of bills on FOI filed in both Houses. In the last regular session of the previous Congress last June 4, two months before the 15th Congress convened, a reconciled version of the FOI bill acceptable to

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media and journalists’ and media advocacy groups was not ratified by the House of Representatives, some suspect because then Speaker Prospero Nograles and most of its members were secretly opposed to it. While the FOI bills could contribute to making government information more accessible to both the media and the public, there is a danger that some legislators who claim to be supporting access to information could make the passage of an ROR law a condition for their approval of the FOI bill, and even impose conditions on the implementation of the latter that could cripple it in practice and make information access even more problematic. Sen. Manuel Villar Jr., author of Senate Bill (SB) Nos. 76 (ROR) and 1254 (FOI), wrote in the explanatory note of SB No. 76: “The freedom of speech and expression enshrined in the Constitution necessarily embraces a correlative right of reply, which is the right to reply to every form of expression protected under the Constitution, especially to accusations or criticisms published or aired through the mass media.” Reps. Rachel del Mar, Karlo Alexei Nograles, and Pedro Romualdo also filed FOI and ROR bills at the same time.

Other bills to watch
A different outcome is expected during the 15th Congress. As of Dec. 1, a total of 47 bills had been filed before the Senate and the House of Representatives, according to their respective databases. Not one of these bills has gone beyond committee hearings in either houses of Congress. In addition to access to information and the right to reply, the bills filed before the 15th Congress address a wide range of media-related issues such as the protection of journalists’ sources, the decriminalization of libel, insurance for journalists covering dangerous assignments, the general welfare of media practitioners, censorship, prohibitions in coverage and the use of derogatory terms, absentee voting, and the creation of a Magna Carta for journalists, among others. In the Senate, a proposed amendment to the Revised Penal Code (RPC) provision on murder has also been filed. Sen. Jinggoy Estrada’s SB No. 455, “An Act Qualifying the Killing of Members of Broadcast and Print Media on the Occasion of the Exercise of their Functions as such, as a Crime of Murder Punishable under Article 258 of the RPC as Amended”, seeks to automatically categorize work-related killing of journalists and media practitioners as murder. Estrada has also proposed a bill (SB No. 677) removing the crime of sedition from the RPC. Sedition, according to the Philippine Law Dictionary (1972, reprinted 1995), is the “raising of commotions or disturbances in the state.”

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Another bill (SB No. 815 or “The Philippine Broadcasting System Act of 2010”), also by Estrada, seeks to create a Philippine Broadcasting System which he envisions to be an alternative to the “commercial [broadcast] system in the Philippines.” The Philippine Public Broadcasting System shall be an appointive body responsible for managing national broadcasting stations, formulating a specific Code of Standards for programming which includes news presentation, based on specific values. This system shall in turn replace the current government station’s (NBN-4) management. Sen. Miriam Defensor Santiago has filed a bill titled “The Free Communications Act” (SB No. 2284) which would prohibit any government or government-related agency from censoring and/or regulating a media or news organization. Sen. Manuel “Lito” Lapid has filed SB No. 939, which prohibits the presentation of suspects under investigation to the media. This is to protect the identity of the suspect as well as the confidentiality of criminal proceedings.
Summary of media-related bills filed before the 15th Congress Number of bills filed Topic Freedom of information Shield law/Sotto law Decriminalization of libel Removing sedition Absentee voting Welfare of media practitioners Killings of journalists Magna Carta Censorship and other prohibitions Right of reply Others Total Senate 12 2 1 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 2 26 House of Representatives 12 1 0 0 0 3 0 1 1 3 0 21 Total 24 3 1 1 1 5 1 2 3 4 2 47

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Filed, passed, implemented
While some of these bills, if passed, would undermine press freedom, particularly those on the right to reply, the ban on the use of derogatory terms, and some provisions of the bills on journalists’ welfare and the Magna Carta, some are supportive of press freedom. Whether any of these will pass, however, is secondary to how they will be implemented, given the country’s sad experience with well-meaning but badly or even maliciously implemented laws. The 15th Congress has more than two years to do its job, but that’s not as long a time as it seems. As of this writing, most of the bills have not even reached the second reading stage, making it too early to conclude whether the present legislature would indeed contribute to the strengthening of press freedom.

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PENDING BILLS ON MEDIA BEFORE THE 15TH CONGRESS
On the access to information
Bill no. and title Senate Bill (SB) No. 158, „Freedom of Information Act of 2010‰ Sen. Teofisto „TG‰ Guingona III July 6, 2010 Pending before the Committees on Public Information and Mass Media, and Civil Service and Government Reorganization House Bill (HB) No. 53, „Freedom of Information Act of 2010‰ Rep. Lorenzo Tañada III July 1, 2010 Pending before the Committee on Public Information

Proponents/ authors/sponsors Date filed Legislative status

These bills are practically the same, varying only in their wording Pros The freedom of information bills promote government openness and transparency

Mandates the public disclosure of transactions involving national interest Upholds the right of the people (individual or group) to information Holds the government accountable, and therefore criminally liable for gross negligence, knowingly refusing to reprint or reproduce requested documents, and knowingly denying the existence of existing information Cons

Other related bills

There are similar bills filed before the Senate which essentially say the same thing: SB Nos. 11, 25, 126, 149, 162, 1254*, 1440, 2086, 2189, 2283, 2355 These bills are filed by Sens. Antonio Trillanes IV, Ramon Bong Revilla Jr., Sergio Osmeña III, Francis Pangilinan, Juan Miguel Zubiri, Manuel Villar Jr., Loren Legarda, Francis Escudero, Gregorio Honasan II, Miriam Defensor Santiago, Alan Peter Cayetano, respectively Similar bills on freedom of information are pending before the House of Representatives Committee on Public Information: HB Nos. 11, 22, ,59*, 86, 133, 301, 830*, 1713, 1968, 2128, 2969 by Reps. Rodolfo Biazon, Marcelino Teodoro, Karlo Nograles, Juad Edgardo Angara, Teddy Casiño, Walden Bello, Pedro Romualdo, Rachel del Mar, Winston and Winnie Castelo, Salvador Escudero III, respectively HB No. 59 by Rep. Karlo Nograles has a non-retroactive provision which limits the access to information given or published only after the law is enacted *This has a corresponding right of reply bill.

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On the right of reply
SB No. 76, „An Act Granting the Right of Reply and Providing Penalties for Violation Thereof‰ Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. July 1, 2010 Pending before the Committees on Public Information and Mass Media, and Civil Service and Government Reorganization Has a sunset clause which makes the legislation lapse seven years after its enactment HB No. 58, „An Act Granting the Right of Reply and Providing Penalties for Violation Thereof‰ Rep. Karlo Nograles July 27, 2010 HB No. 117, „An Act Granting the Right of Reply and Providing Penalties for Violation Thereof‰ Rep. Pedro Romualdo July 27, 2010

Pending before the Committee on Public Information

The three bills are basically similar except for some provisions

Undermines the ability of media organizations to self-regulate

Imposes even higher fines and penalties ranging from P10,000 to P200,000 with imprisonment of not more than 30 days, closure & suspension of franchise for 30 days on the fifth and succeeding offenses Requires publishers, station managers, and editors to publish or broadcast replies of „aggrieved parties‰ within the day

Imposes fines ranging from P20,000 to P100,000

Requires publishers, station managers, and editors to publish or broadcast replies of „aggrieved parties‰ not later than three days after the „derogatory‰ article or news item has been published or broadcast Imposes fines ranging from P10,000 to P50,000

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PENDING BILLS ON MEDIA BEFORE THE 15TH CONGRESS
Bill no. and title SB No. 41, “An Act Amending Section 1 of Republic Act No. 53, otherwise Known as ‘An Act to Exempt the Publisher, Editor or Reporter of Any Publication from Revealing the Source of Published News or Information Obtained in Confidence’” Sen. Vicente Sotto III July 1, 2010 Pending before the Committee on Public Information and Mass Media Includes broadcast, cable, internet and other electronic media outlets in the coverage of the Sotto Law which currently applies only to print

On the Sotto law

Proponents/ authors/sponsors Date filed Legislative status

SB No. 683, “An Act to Abolish the Imprisonment in Libel Cases and Providing the Venue of the Civil Action in Libel Cases against Community Journalists, Publications or Broadcast Stations, Amending for the Purpose Certain Provisions of Act No. 3815, otherwise Known as the Revised Penal Code, as Amended, and for other Purposes” Sen. Jinggoy Estrada July 7, 2010 Pending before the Committees on Public Information and Mass Media, and Labor, Employment and Human Resource Development

On the decriminalization of libel

Pros

Removes the penalty of imprisonment in Articles 355, 356 and 357

Cons

Removes the editor and publisher from the list of persons liable for the defamatory article or show

Other related bills

There are similar bills in the House of Representatives pending before the Committee on Public Information: • HB No. 370, “An Act Amending Republic Act No. 53” by Rep. Rachel del Mar • HB No. 2275 (Refiled as HB No. 2854), “An Act further Amending Section One of Republic Act No. 53” by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez

A similar bill, filed also before the Senate by Ramon Bong Revilla extends the coverage to wire agencies, news correspondents, photographers, cartoonists, commentators or other practitioners involved in processing news.

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SB No. 85, “An Act Promoting the Welfare of and Providing Protection to Journalists, Providing Penalties Thereof and for Other Purposes” (Journalist Welfare and Protection Act of 2010)

On the welfare of media practitioners

SB No. 160, “An Act Providing for Mandatory Additional Insurance Coverage and Benefits for Journalists, Employees of Media Entities on Field Assignment and Freelance Journalists, and for other Purposes” (Journalists Insurance Act of 2010)

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada July 1, 2010 Pending before the Committees on Public Information and Mass Media, Labor, Employment and Human Resource Development, and Ways and Means

Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri July 6, 2010 Pending before the Committee on Public Information and Mass Media

Provides benefits for journalists at par with those enjoyed by the labor Entitles journalists to additional insurance benefits force, such as overtime pay, night shift differential pay, and holiday/rest day such as death benefits of P200,000, disability work compensation benefits up to P200,000, and medical expenses reimbursement up to P100,000. Provides exemptions from travel tax, terminal fees, and other related Assures freelance journalists of insurance coverage charges Gives journalists the right to form labor organizations and protects their Penalizes those who withhold benefits from freedom from any type of coercion journalists as stated in this bill Penalizes coercion of, and restraint on any journalist in the exercise of his/her duties The government, particularly the press secretary, will devise a “Code of Professional Conduct” for journalists Allows the government to regulate journalism practice by creating a National Journalists’ Coordinating Council composed of the press secretary as the chairman, and as members, the chairman of the Philippine Information Agency, the director of the Media and Information Bureau, the director of the Media Relations and Accreditation Center, and two appointive members There are similar bills filed before the House of Representatives which are A similar bill has been filed by Rep. Teddy Casiño pending before the Committee on Public Information: in the House of Representatives and is currently pending before the Committee on Public Information • HB No. 653, “An Act Promoting the Welfare of and Providing Protection (HB No. 2842, “An Act Providing for Mandatory to Journalists, Providing Penalties thereof and for Other Purposes” by Additional Insurance Coverage and Benefits for Rep. Juan Edgardo Angara Journalists, Employees of Media Entities on Field • HB No. 2398, “An Act Strengthening the Independence of Media in the Assignment and Freelance Journalists, and for other Philippines by Establishing the Journalists Welfare Fund and for other Purposes”) Purposes” by Rep. Romeo Acop • HB No. 2537 (Refiled as HB No. 3160), “An Act Promoting the Welfare of and Providing Protection to Journalists, Providing Penalties thereof and for other Purposes” by Rep. Joseph Victor Ejercito

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PENDING BILLS ON MEDIA BEFORE THE 15TH CONGRESS
On censorship and prohibitions
Bill no. and title SB No. 1990, “An Act Prohibiting the Use of the Word ‘Muslim’ or ‘Islamic’ in Print, Radio, Television including Cable Television and other Forms of Broadcast Media to Refer to or Describe any Person Suspected or Convicted of a Crime or Unlawful Act and Providing Penalties thereof” HB No. 2737, “An Act Prohibiting Media Reporting of Police and Military Positions, Movements and Actions during Crisis Situations”

Proponents/authors/ Sen. Ramon Bong Revilla Jr. sponsors Date filed Legislative status July 26, 2010 Pending before the Committee on Public Information and Mass Media Acts on the practice of the media to discriminate Muslims and to label them as criminals Penalizes the violators with fines ranging from P1,000 to P10,000 at the discretion of the court Cons Does not provide the parameters when the terms “Muslim” and “Islamic” can be properly used

Rep. Gabriel Quisumbing Aug. 31, 2010 Pending before the Committee on Public Information Regulates the media coverage on crisis situation, so as to avoid endangering the safety and lives of the people involved

Pros

Appears to be a hastily drafted bill (provoked by the Aug. 23 hostage-taking at the Quirino Granstand in Manila); does not give clear guidelines on how the media should report about each type of crisis situation Appears to be a redundant move as it is supposedly meant to supplement the Philippine National Police’s Task Force Usig’s guidelines on media reporting Gives an inappropriate penalty—six months and one day to six years imprisonment—to anyone who violates provisions of the bill

Other related bills

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On absentee voting of media practitioners
SB No. 1198, “An Act Providing for Absentee Voting by the Members of Media who are Away from the Places of their Registration by Reason of Official Function on Election Day”

On the Magna Carta for journalists
SB No. 896, “An Act Providing for a Magna Carta for Journalists”

Sen. Manuel Villar Jr. July 12, 2010 Pending before the Committee on Constitutional Amendments and Revisions of Codes and Laws Upholds the media practitioners’ right to suffrage, giving them a chance to cast their votes

Sen. Jinggoy Estrada July 8, 2010 Pending before the Committees on Public Information and Mass Media, and Labor, Employment and Human Resource Development Legislates a Philippine Council for Journalists as a general self-regulatory body for journalists and the journalism profession Ensures that journalists will enjoy the benefits enjoyed by the labor force

Does not address the problem of media practitioners who are not yet registered voters

The provision on “Professional Journalist Examination” (accreditation) creates discrimination within the industry

A similar bill has been filed before the House of Representatives and is currently pending before the Committee on Public Information (HB No. 1047, “An Act Providing for a Magna Carta for Journalism” by Rep. Rufus Rodriguez)

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MEDIA SAFETY: THE PRESS COMMUNITY RESPONDS

T

HE COUNTRY record on the killing of journalists reached a new high on Nov. 23, 2009, when more than a hundred armed men were suspected to have killed 58 individuals including 32 journalists and media workers

in Ampatuan town in the southern province of Maguindanao. The journalists and media workers were part of the convoy of the relatives and supporters of then Buluan town Vice-mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu who were on their way to Shariff Aguak, Maguindanao to file his certificate of candidacy.

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The worsening situation has prompted media organizations and other concerned institutions and individuals to redouble their efforts to assist the families of the slain, seek justice for the victims, and promote greater safety among media practitioners, not only in behalf of press freedom and journalists’ safety, but also in the defense of the democratic right to free expression and public access to information.

The 2010 campaign and elections
After the Ampatuan Massacre, many journalists expressed their fears on the possible dangers they might face during the coverage of the 2010 campaign and elections. It has been said that the “3Gs” (goons, guns, and gold) dominate Philippine elections. Because of the nature of their work—media are sources of information, shapers of public opinion, and have a watchdog role—journalists and media practitioners are vulnerable to threats and attacks especially during periods of political tension. Last March 5, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) held a roundtable discussion with media owners and their representatives as well as journalists from different parts of the country to discuss how practitioners can be protected from dangers that may arise during their coverage of the campaign and elections. The 32 participants, among whom were the board members of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP, Association of Broadcasters of the Philippines) and the Philippine Press Institute, identified safety and protection strategies to assist besieged journalists and prevent further threats and attacks against those in the field. The sessions included a legal do’s and don’ts briefing for journalists which explained election laws and how they impact on the practice of the profession; a discussion of the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ)-Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism manual on safety called “Staying Alive”; the launch of the danger zones map (http://www.cmfr-phil.org/dangerzones/) showing the parts of the country where threats against journalists are worst; and the creation of a safety communication system that would help media organizations track and/or locate journalists covering dangerous assignments.

Danger zones map
The participating journalists in CMFR’s seminar on human rights in January 2010 noted that the Commission on Elections (COMELEC) had been having so much trouble

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with the first nationwide automation system and had delayed releasing a list of hot spots. They suggested working with CMFR to produce their own danger zones map. Thirteen journalists provided reports on areas of potential danger, on the basis of which, among other sources, CMFR produced an electronic map identifying danger zones. The state of local politics and the journalists’ perception of danger when working in these places were also among the basis for identifying these zones. Also included were areas the Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and the COMELEC have previously identified as “election hotspots” and have included in their “election watchlists”.

Safety training
Months after the Ampatuan Massacre, the International News Safety Institute (INSI), through the Center for Community Journalism and Development, conducted three-day safety trainings for Mindanao journalists. INSI is a coalition of news organizations, media workers and individuals promoting the safety of journalists working in dangerous situations. The first training was held in January 2010 with 48 participants while the second was conducted in February with 24. Both were conducted in Camp Bahianin, Bukidnon. The topics included trauma awareness, first aid and basic life support, and reporting in hostile environments. Members of the 403rd Infantry Brigade, which specializes in anti-guerilla warfare, and the Light Armor Division of the Philippine Army were invited to assist the discussion and provide simulations. Similarly, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has been conducting safety training seminars and workshops with the support of the International Federation of Journalists since 2005. The NUJP safety training seminars and workshops are of three parts, which include an overview of the Philippine media safety and ethics, reporting during hostile and conflict situations, and safety precautions when journalists are themselves the targets.

Training for trainers
Aside from safety trainings, both INSI and the NUJP have held training seminars and workshops for trainers so that community journalists can help protect each other.

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INSI started training Southeast Asian journalists to be safety trainers in 2007. The INSI training for trainers was a more rigorous month-long program that addressed issues discussed in safety training seminars. Previously certified safety trainers include the NUJP’s Froilan Gallardo and the NUJP Media Safety Office Executive Coordinator Rowena Paraan. The NUJP also held a 10-day training seminar last June on risk awareness and media safety at Baras town, Rizal province for eight journalists from different parts of the country. Paraan emphasized the importance of including a session discussing why journalism has become a dangerous profession and the importance of ethical practice. Another session was on conflict management. This session offered practical knowledge on and in dealing with situations such as rallies and demonstrations. Other sessions included a discussion on basic medical emergency response, surviving abduction, and counter-surveillance.

Trauma peer support network
While INSI has included in its safety training, trauma awareness and coping with stress, the NUJP has started a separate peer support network for journalists who have experienced trauma from day-to-day coverage. Assisted by the Dart Centre for Journalism and Trauma Australasia Managing Director Cait McMahon, 16 journalists from different parts of the country were trained to provide fellow journalists who have experienced stress and trauma psychological and emotional support. The training was a one-day event held last August in Batangas. The NUJP will be training another set of counselors in February 2011.

Monograph on safety
To mitigate the risks faced by and to enhance the protection of journalists and media workers, CMFR has asked media owners and their representatives to be more involved in the development of strategies on media defense and safety. CMFR has produced a monograph titled “Journalists’ Safety: Involving Media Owners”, which addresses issues of journalist safety and security and emphasizes the positive role media owners can play. In addition to evaluating the dangers

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journalists may face at work, it also suggests joint media owners’-journalists’ response to the problem.

Networks and Media Safety Office
The NUJP opened in Manila a Media Safety Office (MSO) in 2005 as a response to the increasing number of journalists being killed. The safety office was tasked to deal with attacks, complaints against media and to conduct safety training sessions for journalists. In April 2010, the NUJP opened another MSO in Cagayan De Oro City, Misamis Oriental in Northern Mindanao. This was in response to the apparent threats to the safety and security of journalists and media practitioners, most especially those from the Southern Philippines. The location of these offices was significant. Last May 9 (a day before the elections), Cagayan de Oro City-based journalists sought refuge in the home of then outgoing Catarman town mayor in Camiguin province when Gov. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo, then Catarman mayoral candidate Nestor Jacot, and their men allegedly harassed and threatened them. These journalists were father and son Herbert Hugo and Herbert Hubert Dumaguing, Alphyn Cabanog and Albin Lobino of RR Productions, Jinggoy Abanil, and Rene Abris. The Dumaguings, together with Cabanog and Lobino, were taking footage in Barangay Tangaro in Catarman town when they chanced upon supporters of Romualdo and Jacot handing out envelopes supposedly containing money. The supporters allegedly took their equipment and mauled them when they saw the journalists. (See related story on page 74.) Through MSO Coordinator for Mindanao JB Deveza and NUJP Safety Coordinator Paraan, the NUJP coordinated with the police to have the six journalists taken out of Camiguin. The Camiguin incident once more demonstrated how essential networking and coordination among media organizations are in the safety of journalists. (As of press time, the Dumaguings were facing two separate criminal cases—for allegedly forcing their way into a private home in Catarman town and for grave coercion. These two cases were related to the May 9 incident. The Dumaguings have already posted bail with the help of the FFFJ.) Journalists suggested precisely this kind of coordination among media workers during the March 5 roundtable discussion. A team from a major telecommunications

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company presented a study of a communication system that will help keep track of journalists working in danger zones (Person Finder, a location-based service). The instrument allows mobile phone subscribers to locate or follow other subscribers through short messaging system (SMS), wireless access protocol (WAP), and/or the Internet either through location-based service or a global positioning system.

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THE MEDIA IN THE PUBLIC EYE

T

WO EVENTS had a great impact on the country in 2010. The muchawaited May 10 elections ended the nine-year watch of former president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. But the jubilant mood brought

by the change in administration was tempered by the botched handling of a hostage-taking incident in Manila last August, probably the worst in a series of errors committed by the young Benigno Aquino III administration.

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As the most influential instruments in shaping public opinion, the media are expected to provide relevant information in furtherance of intelligent public discourse. But journalists must at the same time ensure that reporting would not cause any harm to viewers and readers, subjects, and media workers themselves. Traditional means of feedback, perception surveys and—of late—social networking sites have shown how the public perceives media performance in covering certain issues and events, more notably the elections and the Aug. 23 hostage crisis.

The social networks and mainstream media
The boom in social networks involvement among Filipinos has made for a more empowered general public. Some citizen journalism initiatives launched in social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter made some citizens instant reporters; the same sites also provided opportunities for exchanging insights on the day’s issues. Citizen involvement was the buzzword in this year’s elections. Mainstream media and independently-initiated private efforts attempted to involve ordinary citizens in information gathering and dissemination. Television stations ABS-CBN 2 and GMA-7 launched such citizen journalism projects as Boto Mo, iPatrol Mo: Ako ang Simula (Your Vote, Your Watch: I am the Beginning) and YouScoop respectively. The reformatted TV5 had JournalisMO accounts on Twitter and Facebook. (Boto Mo, iPatrol Mo: Ako ang Simula later developed into a post-election effort, Bayan Mo, iPatrol Mo [Your Nation, Your Watch].) Various public interest groups and bloggers also hit cyberspace and set up their own election monitoring websites like Blogwatch.ph, Votereportph.org, and Kontradaya.org among others. These independent blog sites attempted to provide information that the mainstream media failed to present. These websites also published some stories from the mainstream media. The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) also accredited bloggers to cover the elections. The COMELEC granted them access to events and proceedings where media accreditation was needed. Beyond access, the audiences were also given quicker, more varied means to comment on information provided to them.

Mixed views on 2010 election coverage
In a Feb. 21 to 25 Pulse Asia survey, six out of 10 Filipinos said they saw the media as the most influential sources of information in choosing a president. It is

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important to know, then, if the public feels it has benefitted from and made sound decisions based on the information media provided them. As the election campaign kicked off, mainstream media took advantage of the ability of social networking sites to provide the electorate more interactive channels to air their opinions. Aside from the comments pages of their respective news websites, news organizations and news personalities made use of popular sites like Twitter and Facebook, inviting public discussion by providing people the chance to post their comments on certain issues. The news organizations’ social networking pages also became a venue for the public to directly assess how the media have been covering pertinent issues and events.

Were the media fair?
The comments collected by The Philippine Star (“How the media covered elections thus far?”, March 17), and others posted on news sites and social networking pages, provide a clue to the public’s view of media coverage of the presidential elections. As to whether or not the media were fair, public opinion was mixed. A reader from Ilocos Norte commented on the Star: “So far, the media are fairly accommodating in espousing the respective political agenda” of the candidates. A reader also said that there was more balanced coverage in 2010 compared with 2004. Over abs-cbnNEWS.com, one online user commended the station for “fair and balance(d) reporting.” However, some sensed partisanship and political bias in the news reports and among several media personalities (e.g., columnists and television hosts). Some blogs and comments posted online sensed columnist partisanship when writing about certain candidates or when framing their questions. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) received comments naming a media organization that supposedly reported in favor of then presidential candidate Aquino. The mixed attitude of people towards media coverage was reflected by a postelection Pulse Asia survey from July 1 to 11. Using face-to-face interviews with 1,200 respondents, the study showed nearly half, or 49 percent, think that “most influential media practitioners” covered the May 2010 elections fairly. Among the respondents, however, 29 percent were undecided. People’s perception of partisanship is validated by the fact that elections are purely a partisan activity. While election campaigns would inevitably reek of partisanship, the problem, noted PJR Reports editor Luis V. Teodoro in an analysis (“Columnists, Partisans and Conflicts of Interest”, July-August 2010), lies in possible conflicts of interest when any media practitioner does paid or volunteer

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work for a politician’s campaign. But there was no institutional bias towards any candidate on the part of media. The CMFR monitor of media coverage of the 2010 campaign and elections showed that ABS-CBN 2 and GMA-7 were generally impartial: approximately 90 percent of reports in both TV stations were neutral. CMFR determines bias according to whether more than one side is used as sources and subjects in news reports.

Moneyed candidates enjoyed most media access
CMFR pointed out in its 2010 election coverage monitor that there remains an imbalance in covering candidates, as far as their being subjects and sources in news reports are concerned. This perception is shared by those who thought that the presidential frontrunners figured in most of the available print space or air time, and saw this as bias against candidates with lesser resources. A Star reader commented: “Just look at who occupies the front pages and those given news mileage by TV and radio…. If it’s not Aquino, it’s Villar. Just a small space is being given to Gibo (Gilberto Teodoro Jr.), Erap (Joseph Estrada), and (Richard) Gordon. It is even located in the deep recesses of the newspapers.”

Words from (political) sponsors
Some people felt that the media, especially television, gave too much time for political advertisements. One Star reader even went as far as commenting that the elections “were able to satisfy the greed for profit of the two leading networks.” The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism last May 26 pointed out that while it is true that political advertisements were in plentiful evidence in print and broadcast, it was largely because of the COMELEC’s vague and fickle interpretation of the Fair Election Act’s provision on airtime allotment for advertisements, and the political parties’ ability to go around the existing rules (e.g., “piggybacking” on party-list groups to get more advertising time).

The (few) good points
Some media consumers appreciated media’s efforts to give more time for candidates to present their platforms. Some Star readers mentioned the debates,

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forums, one-on-one interviews and news specials that “help(ed) voters get to know the presidential candidates better.” They appreciated such media advocacies as voter education, and efforts to encourage voters to change things through citizen journalism (ABS-CBN 2’s Boto Mo, iPatrol Mo ended with 121,733 Facebook followers). This was also noted by CMFR in its 2010 election coverage monitor. CMFR saw that media paid more attention to the issues the candidates must address through debates (like the “Inquirer 1st Edition: The Presidential Debate”, ABS-CBN 2’s Harapan, and GMA-7’s Unang Hirit’s Hiritan 2010) and special segments and programs aired on weekend primetime or during primetime newscasts (such as GMA-7’s Kandidato, VoteBook, and Biyaheng Totoo). The July 1 to 11 Pulse Asia survey, meanwhile, reflected mixed public perception as to whether there was enough discussion of important issues and candidates’ programs: four in 10 people surveyed agreed, three in 10 disagreed and another three were undecided. This, however, is an improvement from the 2004 elections, wherein only two in 10 people surveyed agreed and four in 10 disagreed that there was succinct discussion of issues and platforms.

Reporting black propaganda
The online platform provided the public better access to information and more interactive exchange of viewpoints. But the providers of information still need to be responsible and the consumers more media literate. Media’s tendency to report on black propaganda caught the ire, not only of media watchdogs, but also of the public, as demonstrated in the case of ABS-CBN 2’s airing of a fake psychiatric report on then candidate Aquino. The psychiatric report that first came out from a now inaccessible blog (http:// www.politicalamateur.wordpress.com) circulated during the thick of the presidential campaign through e-mail and social networking sites. The report, dated 1996, indicated that Aquino has a mental and behavioral problem. ABS-CBN 2’s primetime newscast TV Patrol World picked up the fast-spreading psychiatric evaluation. The report erred in its emphasis. Even when ABS-CBN 2 on that day managed to get the denial from priest Carmelo Caluag, the one who allegedly signed the document, it still reported on the apparently fake report first, and on the denial later. Caluag was the principal of the high school division of the Ateneo de Manila University when the report was supposedly made. CMFR’s April 14 statement scored ABS-CBN 2 for coming out with the report.

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The station, said CMFR, erred out of a desire to immediately air the report to outscoop its competitors. (“A Costly Mistake”, http://www.cmfr-phil.org/2010/04/14/acostly-mistake) Through then ABS-CBN 2’s News and Current Affairs Vice-president Maria Ressa, the station denied that the motive behind the report was to snag a scoop. The network argued that the psychiatric report was fast spreading online and compelled the network to immediately broadcast a report on the issue. People’s comments over abs-cbnNEWS.com and their Facebook page reflected the same sentiment as CMFR’s. People were slamming the station for “reporting on a story based on a bogus document,” and for its scoop mentality. “Anong hindi scoop ang habol ninyo. ‘Yan ang palagi ninyong goal (Why do you claim that you were not after a scoop when that has always been your goal)?,” commented one in response to ABS-CBN 2’s statement.

Aug. 23 media lapses provoke public scrutiny
A free and self-governing nation needs a free press. This is the primary reason the Constitution mandates that the state cannot pass any law encroaching upon press freedom, and consequently, must leave regulation to the press itself. While the press should satisfy the need to air or publish issues of public interest, it is also obliged to regulate the flow of information when situations, especially where public safety and welfare is at stake, call for it. This is expected of the media all the time but specially during crisis situations. The media, however, fell short of the people’s expectations in reporting the Aug. 23 hostage-taking crisis.

The public’s judgment
Survey firm Social Weather Station (SWS) found that many of those who actually followed the incident’s coverage believed reporting by the broadcast media affected the incident’s outcome (nine people including the hostage-taker were killed). The Sept. 24 to 27 SWS survey said eight out of 10 Filipinos believed TV and radio reporting of the Aug. 23 incident brought very great or great danger to the hostages, although only about seven in 10 actually followed the reporting on the incident. Public disgust over the media coverage of the hostage-taking was evident in the comments posted in social networking sites of the news organizations, and in

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the comments sections of their own websites. While some netizens expressed disgust with law enforcers for being too “ill-trained and ill-equipped” to handle the incident, media’s culpability could not be denied, still others said. One person who posted this comment on GMANews.tv, went as far as saying that “(a)ccessories din ang media sa krimen...may dugo na ang kanilang mga kamay (Media were also accessories to the crime...there is blood on their hands).” Some were one with the opinion of media critics that media’s coverage of the arrest of the hostage-taker’s brother, Gregorio Mendoza, was a big blunder. “There’s no other way (to go but) acknowledging that live broadcast of the arrest was unnecessary,” a comment read. Not a few demanded media’s apology: While it is obvious that “the media overcovered everything, even exposing the location of the sniper,” read a comment, the media did not bother to apologize. “Yabang talaga ng media (The media were arrogant),” another comment read. “Wala pa kahit isa mga TV networks ang nag-sorry sa role nila. Nire-review pa lang nila ang coverage nila, it will only take a second to see na ginawa nilang teleserye ‘yung news event (None among the TV networks have apologized for their role [in the crisis]. They claimed to be still reviewing their coverage but it will only take a second to conclude that they made a soap opera out of that news event).” ABS-CBN 2 generally received negative reactions to its statement regarding its coverage. The station enumerated what it did and did not do during the hostage incident. It said it exercised restraint by, among others, refusing to air live the hostage-taker’s 3 p.m. deadline “to avoid fuelling public fear,” and even turning off its lights when police requested so. ABS-CBN 2 added that “if the government had called for a news blackout that day, ABS-CBN 2 would have supported it.” It was also in the same statement that ABS-CBN 2 called for an industry-wide review of the Aug. 23 coverage. Some acknowledged ABS-CBN 2’s call for an industry-wide postmortem. A comment read: “Yes, we may not agree (with) everything in the (statement) but at least they’re honest enough to admit that some things need to be looked at.” Some found the statement to be more defensive than apologetic. A comment read: “Sounds like they wanted to clear their names from the blame. Basically, they (wanted to tell the) public that they’ve (done nothing) wrong. Ted Failon even interviewed the brother of Mendoza (while) he (was being arrested) by the police.

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You even showed shots of police positioning at each side of the shuttle.... We watched you. (We,) the public knew what [information] you have fed us. (The coverage on Aug. 23) was an example of irresponsible reporting in the Philippines.” Slightly similar was CMFR’s call for the media to stop being defensive, and to engage in intensive reassessment and self-criticism instead. In an Aug. 28 statement, CMFR “urges (the media) to resist blaming the police for not having imposed restrictions on them. The self-regulatory regime in which the media function demands that they do not wait to be told what to do given the basic responsibility to minimize harm.” Others have also echoed CMFR’s position. “Media has no excuse on this incident. They are not little kids that ‘need to be told’ not to air sensitive events that can snap any established negotiation,” a reader of GMANews.tv said. Some, like the one who posted this comment on the same news site, thought that “[t]he blind pursuit of high ratings (by the broadcast media)...is paramount to risking innocent lives...in short bira nang bira at hindi na nag-iisip ang mga media natin (…our media simply broadcast with little thought).” A comment over abs-cbnNEWS.com meanwhile called for stations to resist the “culture of competition.” And as if the repercussions of state regulation were no longer an issue, some agreed that the government should regulate media content. A comment on abs-cbnNEWS.com read: “There should be a government agency that would be quick to censor what the media show on TV.” Still on the comments page, one cried “no to 100 percent self-regulation” and another plainly said, “Kasuhan na ang media (File charges against the media)!” But while the media committed dangerous lapses in the incident, the Constitutional protection of press freedom must be upheld. University of the Philippines journalism professor Danilo Arao said in the article “Pagpuna bilang pagtatanggol sa midya (Criticism as means of protecting media)” that criticism and self-criticism of the media must be done to protect it from state intervention: “Ang pagpuna ay hindi pagkutya kundi indikasyon ng pag-aalala (Criticizing the media is not meant to put them down but to serve as a reminder).”

Students’ perceptions of the media
It is not clear yet whether the Aquino administration could or would put an end to the culture of impunity, a phenomenon that exists to a large extent because of the previous administration’s lack of political will to hold the perpetrators of media killings liable.

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The trial of those accused of planning and executing the Ampatuan Massacre in November 2009 is ongoing, but is moving slowly. Although four other journalists were killed in separate incidents in 2010, the massacre of 32 journalists was considered the worst blow to press freedom under the Arroyo administration. Attacks against press freedom during her administration include the arrest of journalists covering the Manila Peninsula standoff and Arroyo spouse Jose Miguel Arroyo’s libel-suit spree against 46 columnists and reporters. This being the situation of press freedom in the Philippines, are students still interested in taking courses in mass communication, or considering mass communication as a career? An unpublished 2007 study from the University of the Philippines (UP) (“Next in line: The impact of media killings on the attitude of journalism students in UST [University of Santo Tomas], UP, and PUP [Polytechnic University of the Philippines]” by Rosario Joy Flores and Jam Marie Razal) measured the interest of journalism students in pursuing careers in the media after graduation. Most students from PUP, UP, and UST (85.36, 84.78, and 83.01 percent, respectively) saw politicians as mostly to blame for the killing of journalists. Some believed lack of proper training (PUP, 63.04; UP, 53.04; UST, 47.16) is also a reason behind the killings. More than half of the students surveyed per school believed some media practitioners get killed because some media practitioners themselves abuse press freedom (PUP, 56.09; UP, 56.52; UST, 62.66). The students believed a better justice system (PUP, 12.80; UP, 17.39; UST, 9.43), raising ethical standards (PUP, 17.68; UP, 19.56; UST, 18.86) and proper training (PUP, 17.07; UP, 17.39; UST, 20.75) are among the solutions to the killings. Most students were strongly affected by news regarding media killings; majority fears they could be victims themselves (PUP, 63; UP, 80; UST, 82). But nine out of 10 students surveyed from the three universities said they would still like to pursue careers in journalism after graduation. Some students surveyed however would explore other career options, primarily advertising. Meanwhile, a 2008 unpublished thesis from UP (“AdJourn: A study on journalism graduates working in the advertising industry and the usefulness of their education to their profession” by Dana Angeli Errazo) looked into why some journalism graduates chose to work in advertising agencies. Compared to the low pay media

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workers receive relative to their work hours and scope of work, those working in the advertising industry get heftier pay, faster career advancement and have a more flexible schedule. Despite the low pay and dangerous working environment, schools offering mass communication courses still have a relatively high enrollment turnout, at least, based on the figures obtained by CMFR from colleges and universities (UP, De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University, UST) and the Commission on Higher Education (which supplied enrollment data for four other schools). Year-on-year comparisons of enrollment figures from selected universities show that, despite the declining press freedom situation, the schools surveyed still had high enrollment figures in mass communication courses. Enrollment for five of eight Manila-based mass communication schools in 2010 decreased, but the decrease was minimal. There was a four-percent decrease in 2010 enrollees in UP compared with 2009. However, this may not be attributed solely to the harsh press freedom condition in 2009. Even before the Ampatuan Massacre, a decrease in these figures was already being noted. Lawyer and professor Charlton Romero, chair of St. Scholastica’s College-Manila’s Mass Communication department said that the factors that contribute to decreasing enrollment figures “relate [more] to economics/financial [reasons], and interest in other new, popular courses such as culinary [arts], etc.”
Number of mass communication undergraduate enrollees from selected schools School
De La Salle University Ateneo de Manila University University of the Philippines-Diliman University of Santo Tomas St. Paul UniversityManila Colegio de San Juan de Letran Polytechnic University of the Philippines University of the East

2008
95 402 958 1048 129 525 1232 443

2009
121 383 918 1194 222 430 1086 455

2010
118 411 854 1337 222 410 1062 431

Sources: Commission on Higher Education, enrollment figures obtained from De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University, University of the Philippines, and University of Santo Tomas

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The figures from 2008 to 2009 show that more than half of the enrollees across all eight schools were female.
Enrollment breakdown by gender
2008-2009 School Ateneo de Manila University University of the Philippines University of Santo Tomas St. Paul University Manila Colegio de San Juan de Letran Polytechnic University of the Philippines University of the East M 119 244 206 3 231 482 147 F 277 687 842 126 294 750 296 %F 69.95 68.07 80.34 97.67 56 60.88 66.82 M 115 248 265 3 169 389 141 2009-2010 F 263 646 929 219 251 695 319 %F 69.58 72.26 77.81 98.65 59.76 64.11 70.11 M 115 230 355 3 170 299 129 2010-2011 F 290 624 1032 219 240 763 302 %F 71.6 73.07 77.19 98.65 58.54 71.85 75.31

Sources: Commission on Higher Education, enrollment figures obtained from De La Salle University, Ateneo de Manila University, University of the Philippines, and University of Santo Tomas

THE AUG. 23 HOSTAGE-TAKING: MEDIA LAPSES INVITED GOVERNMENT INTERVENTION
(Reprinted from PJR Reports, September–October 2010)

M
2010.

EDIA COVERAGE of the Aug. 23 hostage taking at Manila’s Quirino Grandstand provoked attempts at state intervention within days of the event, making it one of the most significant developments in the media in

A congressman introduced in the House of Representatives a bill that would penalize the media for revealing police and troop movements, and there was talk in government circles of imposing news blackouts during crisis situations. A few weeks later, President Benigno Aquino III, describing the behavior of some reporters on the scene as “irresponsible bordering on the criminal,” threatened to have Congress pass a law penalizing such behavior. As the details of how the media covered the incident later showed, Aquino wasn’t exaggerating. Media behavior underscored the imperative of continuing attention,

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by the media themselves, to ethical compliance and adherence to professional standards. What happened At about 9:30 a.m. of Aug. 23, dismissed police officer Rolando Mendoza took hostage 25 tourists from Hong Kong and some Filipino staff who were in a bus about to leave Fort Santiago for Manila’s Rizal Park. The ensuing hostage drama lasted 11 hours and ended with nine individuals, including Mendoza, dead. As early as 11 a.m., local media had started reporting on the situation in the form of breaking news and flash reports. Mendoza had already released two hostages by then. The ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) began covering the hostage crisis live at about the same time. Towards the evening, many of the television networks were also covering the hostage crisis live. Among none of them did it seem to have occurred that irresponsible coverage of the event could cost lives. The two major primetime news programs offered different approaches to their reportage: GMA-7’s 24 Oras presented the news as if were an action movie, while ABS-CBN 2’s TV Patrol gave the audience the melodramatic side, or what’s known as “weeping mother” stories: it interviewed Mendoza’s parents, other relatives and neighbors. Were it not for reporter Erwin Tulfo and his insistence on playing negotiator, TV5 could have actually done better than either network. TV5’s special coverage, “Hostage sa Manila (Hostage in Manila)” and later on, its news program Aksyon, were actually more restrained and presented a comprehensive background on Mendoza and the reasons for his dismissal from the service. Government station NBN-4, and the government-sequestered stations IBC-13 and RPN-9 were equally restrained. But their reporting was incredibly inadequate, despite their easy access to government sources of information, including the police. NBN-4 could not get right the number of the hostages, the fatalities, and even the name of the hostage-taker, both during the event itself and even later. All three networks’ reports were without background, except for the claim by NBN-4 and IBC-13 that Mendoza had been accused of extortion. “Tumabi kayo (Get out of the way)” At about 7:15 p.m., a policeman explicitly asked TV reporters not to cover live the arrest of Mendoza’s brother, Gregorio. Gregorio, who was also a policeman, was

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accused of being an accessory to the crime his brother was committing. Despite the policeman’s pleas and his colleagues’ attempts to prevent the media from covering the arrest, all the television stations continued covering it live. ABSCBN 2 reporter Ron Gagalac even said: “Pangamba nilang magwawala itong hostagetaker kapag nakita niya itong pangyayaring ito ([The police] fear that the hostagetaker might turn violent if he sees this).” Minutes after Gregorio’s arrest was broadcast live all over the Philippines, the hostage incident turned bloody. Background reports In the afternoon, ANC aired reports that were supposed to provide the public with more information. The network aired a report on the “injustice” Mendoza had supposedly suffered when he was dismissed from office two years before his mandatory retirement. The report also aired interviews with Mendoza’s relatives, all of whom told the world how wonderful a person he was. A similar report was later aired on TV Patrol, which used the same weepy tone. In Alex Santos’ report, Mendoza’s awards while in the service were also featured, in addition to painting him as an ideal public servant. “Napakaliit ng sweldo ni Mendoza pero minahal pa rin niya ang kaniyang trabaho at isinugal ang sarili para sa serbisyo (Mendoza received a low salary, but still loved his work and sacrificed himself in the service),” said Santos. Both ANC and ABS-CBN 2 also aired an interview with Armando Ducat Jr., owner of a day-care center in Tondo, Manila who held hostage 26 of his students and four teachers in a bus on March 28, 2007. While the report was initially a review of prior hostage dramas, Ducat was given the chance to comment on Mendoza’s acts. “Naniniwala rin si Ducat na tama ang ginawa ni Mendoza dahil hindi naman daw maaaring kimkimin na lang nito ang kaniyang sama ng loob (Ducat also believes that Mendoza did the right thing because he should not let his frustrations bottle up inside).” In short: the public was being told that in addition to being an ideal son, neighbor, and policeman, Mendoza was also a victim of injustice and had every right to react the way he did. Both Saksi (GMA-7) and Aksyon (TV5) aired similar reports on Mendoza and Ducat. But these were not as partial to Mendoza as TV Patrol’s report. And yet what was at issue was not the validity of Mendoza’s claim that he had been wrongly accused and convicted of a crime, but his resorting to hostage-taking to force the government to reinstate him. When the supposed background stories focused on the hostage-taker’s humanity and the supposed injustice he had suffered,

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they were in effect saying that the end—resolving Mendoza’s woes—justified the means—his taking hostage 25 people who had nothing to do with his problems. Covering Gregorio Mendoza At around 7 p.m. last Aug. 23, said the report of the Incident Investigation and Review Committee (IIRC), Manila mayor Alfredo Lim ordered the arrest of Gregorio. Gregorio ran to the media, claiming that the police were going to kill him or were at least preparing to charge him with being an accessory to his brother’s crime. Lim’s alleged instruction to “take (Gregorio Mendoza) to Tondo,” said IIRC, was police shorthand for torture; this was the basis of the IIRC recommendation to file criminal charges against Lim. Quite noticeable in the coverage by TV Patrol was the voice of one of its staff seemingly forcing Gregorio to accept a headphone so anchor Ted Failon could interview him. What made Failon’s interview problematic was his attempt to negotiate with Gregorio by asking him to cooperate with his fellow policemen. “Sa pagkakataong ito, hindi po ba kayo pwedeng mahinahong sumama sa mga pulis at sasamahan po kayo ng mga tauhan ng midya (At this point, is it not possible that you calmly come with the police and people from the media will escort you)?,” Failon repeatedly asked Gregorio. Instead, Gregorio resisted the policemen who were trying to drag him to a waiting police car, while his relatives tried to help him. Reporter Susan Enriquez of 24 Oras rushed toward the man and tried to get Gregorio to answer her questions even while he was fighting off the police. The media followed Gregorio as he continued to resist arrest and being “taken to Tondo,” although the policemen trying to arrest him said they were taking him to the Western Police District UN Avenue headquarters. Other police officers tried to block the media, some of them shouting that Mendoza may have access to the news and further coverage could provoke him. True enough, a few minutes after Gregorio was shown on television being taken away by the police, Mendoza began firing. Interviewing the hostage-taker Even before Mendoza had posted his written request for “Media now” on the windshield of the bus he had taken control of, the IIRC report said he had requested for a reporter and a cameraman. TV5’s Tulfo arrived a few hours after and offered his services. But as the IIRC report noted, Mendoza asked for a female reporter instead. But Tulfo was able to talk to Mendoza for Radio Mindanao Network (RMN) anyway. Together with anchor Michael Rogas, he began negotiating with Mendoza.

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At around 6 p.m., Rogas started interviewing Mendoza. A few minutes into the interview, Police Supt. Orlando Yebra handed Mendoza the Ombudsman’s letter informing him that the office would review his case. The IIRC report noted that “while…Mendoza was talking to Yebra, Rogas kept on calling his attention to continue their live interview in the middle of the hostage negotiations,” thus hampering the negotiations at a very critical time. Mendoza was in fact watching on the bus television his brother’s arrest aired over 24 Oras, and was threatening through Rogas and Tulfo to shoot the hostages if the police did not stop. “‘Yung kapatid ko nakikita ko, bakit nila ginaganiyan? Akong may kasalanan dito, walang kasalanan ‘yan! Ipakita ninyo na pinakawalan ninyo kapatid ko! Pagka hindi, titirahin ko ang mga nandirito sa loob (I can see my brother [on TV], what are they doing to him? I’m the one at fault here, not him! Show me that he is being freed, or I will shoot the people inside the bus)!” Tulfo proudly described his role in the “action” during his report: “At ang request niya sa akin dahil ako raw ang pinakamalapit dito sa NCRPO (National Capital Region Police Office) van na hingiin na pakawalan ‘yung kapatid niya. So what I did was, lumapit ako rito sa NCR mobile van, at sinabihan ko ‘yung ground commander na pakawalan ‘yung kapatid (Since I was nearest the NCRPO van, [Mendoza] requested that I ask the police to release his brother. So I went over to the NCR mobile van and told the ground commander to release his brother).” Aside from Tulfo and Rogas, Jorge Cariño of ABS-CBN 2 and Enriquez of GMA7 were also able to talk to Mendoza. Cariño’s interview was aired during the TV Patrol Special Report and over Bandila late in the evening. Enriquez’s interview was never aired by GMA-7. The problem with interviewing a hostage-taker is that it gives him or her a platform from which he or she can say anything. A simple question or comment from a reporter untrained for such a situation can also prolong the situation by giving the hostage-taker the sense that he’s gaining public sympathy. At the same time, the interviews with Mendoza choked police communication lines with the hostage-taker. The IIRC report noted that Yebra was still trying to contact Mendoza, but that the latter was not answering the police phone, and his mobile phone was busy. Assistant negotiator Police Chief Inspector Romeo Salvador told the IIRC that Tulfo was talking on the police phone while describing the bus. Blow-by-blow coverage The media were also providing blow-by-blow reports on Mendoza’s shooting of the hostages as well as on police operations.

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When Mendoza started firing, ABS-CBN 2 reporter Gagalac ran to where the bus was parked, and joined the police raiding team, despite police requests for him not to go with them. The ABS-CBN 2 camera panned to all directions, thereby disclosing to Mendoza the positions of the police. While ABS-CBN 2 was giving the audience a long shot of the bus, Gagalac continued to report his and the police team’s position. “Gumagapang kami rito sa may damuhan sa Grandstand, kasama ang mga pulis upang makalapit (We are crawling here at the grassy area of the Grandstand with the police to approach [the bus])” and “May limang pulis akong kasama rito at nakaporma na sila rito sa may puno (I have five policemen with me and we are positioned in one of the trees)” were some of the statements he made while reporting, thus providing Mendoza information on police movements. Meanwhile, Emil Sumangil of 24 Oras was reporting that he was positioned close to the snipers who were at that point already firing at the bus. Raffy Tima, also of 24 Oras, also disclosed on air that the NCRPO’s command vehicle was 25 to 30 meters from the bus, and worse, that the police were preparing to use “longer” firearms in case Mendoza tried to escape. Michael Fajatin confirmed that a sniper had shot one of the tires of the bus to keep it from moving. Tulfo, on the other hand, reported that, “May nakita tayong isang miyembro ng Special Action Force ngayon. Nakaluhod ito ngayon, naka-ready ‘yung kaniyang baril, nakatutok doon sa may salamin. At this point, ‘yung ibang mga SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics team) naman, ay nakikita natin na gumagapang doon sa may likurang bahagi ng bus (We can see from here a member of the Special Action Forces. He is on his knees, his gun ready, aiming at the bus window. At this point, other SWAT members may be seen crawling from behind the bus).” Unconfirmed information When bus driver Alberto Lubang managed to escape, he shouted “Patay na silang lahat (All [hostages] are dead)!” an unconfirmed claim the media aired. GMA7’s Tima did not immediately echo the driver’s statement on TV. While 24 Oras anchor Mel Tiangco pressed Tima for further details on Lubang’s escape, he avoided using the same words as Lubang’s. Tima stood by the fact that none of the information had been confirmed yet. Mike Enriquez and Tiangco later said that the information from the driver was being withheld because it was unconfirmed. While Tulfo did report Lubang’s claims, he repeatedly said that the authorities had yet to confirm if these were true. Gagalac, on the other hand, reported Lubang’s claims as if they had been confirmed. Panicky anchors The media are usually and logically expected to report events calmly to prevent panic among viewers, listeners or readers. But some of the news anchors themselves

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The Aug. 23 hostage-taking: Media lapses invited government intervention

were panicking. While another GMA-7 reporter was on the air, Mike Enriquez butted in, shouting that shots were being fired. Tiangco kept asking where the bullets were coming from. Mike Enriquez answered that they were coming from the bus (“Sa may bus [From the bus]!”). Tiangco frantically followed up. “Sa may bus? Sa side, sa harap? Sa pagkarinig mo, saan nanggaling ang putok? (From the bus? At the side? In front? From what you’ve heard, where did the shots come from?)” “Sa bus, kumpirmado, sa bus, Mel (In the bus, it’s confirmed, Mel),” Mike Enriquez answered. Not content, Tiangco followed up with, “Oo nga, pero saang bahagi sa bus (Yes but at which part of the bus)?” Sounding like a panicky neighbor, she asked again, “Sa labas ng bintana, sa loob ba? Pinaputukan ba ‘yung bubong? Saan nanggaling? Sa bintana? Sa pinto? ([Were the shots fired from] outside the window, inside the bus? Were shots fired on the roof? On the window? On the door?)” Aftermath The hostage crisis ended with the death of eight hostages and hostage-taker Mendoza. TV news media then focused their stories on the condition of the survivors. It was only then that GMA-7 (Saksi) and TV5 (Aksyon) aired full background reports. TV Patrol Special Report, the continuation of ABS-CBN 2’s coverage of the hostage taking, aired a report on the condition of the bus just as the Scene of the Crime Operatives were entering and probing for evidence. It was once again an unwarranted intervention into police procedures; entering a crime scene before it had been examined could compromise whatever evidence there was in the crime scene. To assess how the police handled the situation, Aksyon, Saksi and Bandila all interviewed former SWAT chief and now Manila Regional Trial Court Branch 12 Judge Jaime Santiago who said that there were indeed problems with the police handling of the situation. In Teledyaryo’s 9 p.m. newscast, on the other hand, newscaster Aljo Bendijo raised questions that initially criticized police handling of the hostage incident, but left other important questions unasked, among them how badly the media had behaved and contributed to the outcomes of the hostage-taking, which, in addition to nine dead, also made a mess of the country’s relations with Hong Kong and China.

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Local guidelines on covering crisis situations
ABS-CBN News & Current Affairs Standards Ethics Manual (2006) Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) Broadcast Code (2007) GMA News and Public Affairs (Guidelines revised Sept. 9, 2010 following the Aug. 23 hostage incident)

1. Covering an incident “live”

- Explain to viewers where and why certain information is being withheld by law enforcers.

- Coverage shall not - Explain to viewers why provide vital information or certain information is offer comfort or support to being withheld. the perpetrator. - Avoid revealing the plans, positions, weapons and actions of law enforcers. - Exercise care in airing live interviews and live coverage. - Do not hinder or obstruct - Assume that the hostageauthorities’ efforts to taker/perpetrator is resolve the situation. monitoring coverage. - Stations may adopt - Do not cast judgment on a standard operating perpetrator’s actions. procedure (SOPs) in crisis - Assume that the reporting, consistent with perpetrator is unstable the KBP Code. and dangerous. - Assume that children may be watching and that graphic speech and video must be avoided. - Avoid interviewing or otherwise talking to hostage-takers and other subjects of law enforcement operations.

2A. Covering an ongoing incident

- Keep in mind the possibility [that] the hostage taker has access to coverage. - Avoid speculative analysis of the hostage taker or gunman’s state of mind or demands.

2B. Telephoning the hostage taker/ gunman/terrorist

- Do not telephone the perpetrator during an ongoing incident without consulting senior news management. - Be alert to the possibility that calls from persons involved in crisis situations may be hoaxes.

2C. Media Safety

- Coverage teams must use the appropriate protective equipment. - When safety is at stake, avoid unnecessary risks. - Avoid interviewing or otherwise talking to hostage takers and other subjects of law enforcement operations.

- Seek news through witness 2D. Interviewing victims/hostages statements, but avoid adding to a witness’ s peril or distress.

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ABS-CBN News & Current Affairs Standards Ethics Manual (2006)

Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) Broadcast Code (2007)

GMA News and Public Affairs (Guidelines revised Sept. 9, 2010 following the Aug. 23 hostage incident)

- Make interviewees aware that their comments and identities may be publicized. - Avoid placing interviewees at risk. 2E. Media as player - Avoid becoming part of the incident being reported. - Media personnel should avoid interfering with law enforcement authorities. - Obey instructions from law enforcement, but still explore all means to get the story. - Coverage shall not - Decline police requests to provide vital information or negotiate or mediate. offer comfort or support to the perpetrator. - Do not hinder or obstruct - Exercise restraint authorities’ efforts to assuming that police may resolve the situation. not be able to handle - Stations may adopt media or a crowd. standard operating - If possible, coordinate with procedure (SOPs) in crisis the authorities when a reporting, consistent with crisis situation occurs. the KBP Code. - Assign professionals in our organization to focus only on the ethical, safety, and non-technical aspects of coverage. - Reveal the identity of victims of any ongoing incident only when the situation has been resolved; avoid airing names of fatalities until authorities have verified and their relatives are notified. - [C]overage should avoid inflicting undue shock and pain to families and loved ones of victims. - Avoid announcing fatalities until verified by authorities.

2F. Police and investigating authorities

2G. Beyond basic and technical aspects of media coverage 2H. Handling victims - Practice restraint and sensitivity in handling victims and reporting on suffering.

Editor’s note: Terms such as victims, perpetrators, hostage-takers, etc. are as used in the guidelines drawn up by the media organizations cited in this matrix.

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International guidelines on
Poynter Institute (Al Tompkins, 2000) Poynter Institute (Bob Steele, 1999) David Paletz and Alex Schmid (Eds., Terrorism and the Media, 1992)

1. Covering an incident „live‰

- Beyond competitive factors, what are your motivations for „going live‰? What (part of) truth testing can you give up to speed (up) information to the viewer? - What rules in sourcing and factchecking do you observe? - What are the consequences of delaying information versus airing it instantly? - Are you prepared to air the worst possible outcome of an unfolding story? - How do you ensure the coverage does not promote hype or fear? - What are your guidelines in handling and showing violent or graphic content? Who in the editorial team is in charge of deciding when to delay or stop airing? - Is time of day a key factor in your deciding to go live?

- Avoid describing or showing any - Provide no live coverage of terrorists, information that could divulge which gives them an the tactics or positions of Special unedited propaganda Weapons and Tactics team platform. members. - Seriously weigh the benefits versus potential harm of releasing certain information. - Be forthright with viewers, listeners or readers about why certain information is being withheld for security. - Challenge any gut reaction to „go live‰ from the scene of a hostage-taking crisis, unless there are strong journalistic reasons for a live, on-the-scene report. Things can go wrong very quickly in a live report, endangering lives or damaging negotiations.

2A. Covering an ongoing incident

- Assume the perpetrator always - Avoid inflammatory has access to reporting. catch-words and - Give no information about a phrases. hostage-takerÊs mental state - Report any demands or reasons for actions while a without propaganda standoff is in progress. and rhetoric. - Give no analyses or comments - Refrain from doing on the perpetratorÊs demands. anything that could - Keep news helicopters out where endanger the lives of the standoff is happening; noise hostages. coming from these could scare a gunman to deadly action. - Strongly resist the temptation to telephone the perpetrator, much so attempt to negotiate. - Notify authorities when the perpetrator calls the newsroom. Also, be ready on how to respond to it. - Avoid making telephone calls to terrorists.

2B. Telephoning the hostage-taker/ gunman/terrorist

Editor’s note: Terms such as victims, perpetrators, hostage-takers, etc. are as used in the guidelines drawn up by the media EditorÊs organizations cited in this matrix.

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The Aug. 23 hostage-taking: Media lapses invited government intervention The Aug. 23 hostage-taking: Media lapses invited government intervention

covering crisis situations
BBC Editorial guidelines (Hijacking, kidnapping, hostagetaking and siege, 2005) CBS News (Production standards for coverage of terrorists, 1977) International Center for Journalists - Disaster and crisis coverage (2009)

- We do not interview a perpetrator live - Except in the most compelling circumstances, and then only with on air. - We do not show any video and/or the approval of the senior news audio from a perpetrator live on air. management, there should be no live - We delay broadcasting live material coverage of the terrorist/kidnapper at the expense of providing him/her of stories such as a school siege unedited platform. or plane hijack, events that may be unpredictable and distressing.

- We should also consider the ethical - We must report the perpetratorÊs implications of providing a platform to demands, but only after ensuring they perpetrators. are free of rhetoric and propaganda. - We broadcast recordings made by - Contact experts for guidance on how not to exacerbate the situation in image perpetrators only after referral to a senior editorial management. and wordings.

- Ascertain whether phoning the perpetrator will interfere with the authoritiesÊ communications.

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Poynter Institute (Al Tompkins, 2000)

Poynter Institute (Bob Steele, 1999)

David Paletz and Alex Schmid (Eds., Terrorism and the Media,1992)

2C. Reporting medical condition and interviewing of hostages

- Be very cautious in any reporting on the medical condition of hostages, and in interviewing hostages, held or released, while a crisis continues. - Be careful in interviewing family members or friends of those involved in standoff situations. Conduct the interview for information and not for shock value. - Fight the urge to become a player in any crisis situation unless it is the last resort and it is approved by senior news management. - Do not report information obtained from police scanners. - Avoid making themselves part of the story.

2D. Interviewing family members or friends of those involved

2E. Media as player

2F. Police and investigating authorities

2G. Going beyond the incident 2H. Handling victims

- Go beyond the basic story of the incident. Provide background and context behind it.

Editor’s note: Terms such as victims, perpetrators, hostage-takers, etc. are as used in the guidelines drawn up by the media EditorÊs organizations cited in this matrix.

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BBC Editorial guidelines (Hijacking, kidnapping, hostagetaking and siege, 2005)

CBS News (Production standards for coverage of terrorists, 1977)

International Center for Journalists - Disaster and crisis coverage (2009)

- When reporting crisis situations, obey authorities to not report anything that could worsen the situation. - Reporters must follow procedures for dealing with authoritiesÊ request for a news blackout.

- Reporters should obey all police instructions in a crisis situation but report immediately to news management if instructions seemingly intend to manage or suppress the news.

- Treat victims with dignity and respect. - When interviewing, simply introduce yourself and let them know, „I am sorry for what you are going through today.‰ - Start by asking open-ended, nonjudgmental questions. - Back off if the person says no to an interview or when emotion runs high. Thank them kindly and walk away. - Give victims a sense of control. Ask if, where and how they would be comfortable for an interview.

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KILLINGS AND OTHER ATTACKS ON JOURNALISTS IN 2010

T

HE HOPE that the killing of journalists would stop once a new administration is in place has been dampened by the first work-related killing of a journalist and about 20 extrajudicial killings that occurred

during the first six months of the Benigno Aquino III administration.

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The latest media casualty was Miguel Belen, a volunteer reporter for dwEB and a former barangay (village) official in Iriga City, Camarines Sur. Belen died last July 31, 22 days after unidentified men shot him in Nabua, Camarines Sur last July 9. Belen was on his way home from covering the last draw of the Small-Town Lottery when unidentified men ambushed him in Barangay San Jose, Nabua town. In an interview last July 13, dwEB station manager Richard Arnedo said Belen had previously reported on local elections and corruption in Iriga City. Arnedo said other staff members of dwEB have also received threats in the past. The murder case against the alleged killer of Belen was being heard at the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Iriga City when this report was being written.

Three killed before the end of Arroyo administration
Three media practitioners were killed in separate incidents in the regions of Northern Luzon (Region I), and Southern Mindanao (Region XI) as the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration neared the end of its term last June 30. Desiderio “Jessie” Camangyan, a blocktimer at Sunrise FM-Mati City in Davao Oriental, was killed at around 10 p.m. while hosting a singing competition in Old Macopa village, Manay town last June 14. A blocktimer is a freelance practitioner who purchases “blocks” of radio time for a program for which he then solicits advertisements. In a June 15 interview, Philippine National Police (PNP) Southern Mindanao spokesman Supt. Querubin Manalang said police investigation showed that Camangyan had just taken his seat after introducing a contestant when the gunman came from behind him and shot him in the head. Sunrise FM station manager Bobong Alcantara said Camangyan and his two co-hosts in Hotline Patrol had been invited by the village captain of Old Macopa to host the competition. But only Camangyan came. Camangyan was with his common law wife and their six-year-old son when he was shot. Hotline Patrol is a blocktime program hosted by Camangyan, and his colleagues Frank Gupit and Nonoy Bacalzo. Members of the local media believe the killing was work-related. Alcantara said the killing could be due to Camangyan and his partners’ commentaries. The three had been discussing the problems of illegal logging in the province prior to the killing.

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A murder complaint against the alleged gunman—Police Officer Dennis Lumikid— and John Does has been filed before the Mati RTC. Last October, the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists requested the Supreme Court to transfer the trial to RTC Cebu City for the safety of the prosecutors and witnesses. In Laoag City, dzJC Aksyon Radyo’s (Action Radio) anchor Jovelito Agustin died last June 16 at a local hospital a few hours after two unidentified men on a motorcycle shot him four times. Agustin had come from his daily public affairs program which usually dealt with problems in the province as well as election issues like the disqualification of some candidates. Nick Malasig of dzJC told the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) in a June 16 interview that Agustin said he had received threats prior to the killing. In fact, some unidentified men shot at Agustin’s house in Bacarra town during the campaign period for national and local elections in May 2010. No one was hurt. Agustin had suspected a local politician as the one behind the shooting incident last May. Leonardo Banaag, the alleged gunman in the murder of Agustin, was arrested last Sept. 23 and as of this writing was being tried at the Laoag City RTC Branch 12. Banaag used to work for Bacarra town Vice-mayor Pacifico Velasco, who is accused of masterminding Agustin’s murder. Vice-mayor Velasco was a subject of Agustin’s critical commentaries. Velasco and Banaag, along with three John Does, were charged with the murder of Agustin and the attempted murder of Agustin’s nephew before the prosecutor’s office last June 21. In August, the investigating prosecutors issued a partial resolution saying they found probable cause and would file charges against Banaag. (No resolution has been issued regarding Velasco as of press time.) Three days after Agustin died, Nestor Bedolido, editorial consultant of the weekly Kastigador (Castigator) and publisher of the Mt. Apo Current, was killed in Digos City, Davao del Sur. Bedolido was shot a few meters from his house. The Davao del Sur PNP claimed that Bedolido was not a practicing journalist. The chief of PNP Davao del Sur said in an interview that their investigation showed that Bedolido was “a propagandist” and was previously working for the provincial government’s newsletter. Senior Supt. Ronald Dela Rosa was also quoted in the Manila-based broadsheet Philippine Daily Inquirer as saying that “If we count him as a journalist, then he

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should be active in writing for an independent media outlet.” Kastigador is a weekly newspaper established in December 2009, while the Mt. Apo Current is a magazine allegedly funded by a local politician. However, media people in Davao del Sur consider Bedolido a media practitioner. Torrecampo said Bedolido might have been killed because of his exposés on a local politician in Davao del Sur. But Bedolido was “a propagandist” for some local candidates during the May 2010 elections, he added. Torrecampo also said Bedolido previously worked for the provincial magazine of Davao del Sur Gov. Douglas Cagas before he transferred to the opposing camp’s magazine, the Mt. Apo Current. Bedolido’s son, Marxlen, told the Inquirer that his father’s killing was “politicallymotivated.” He also told the Inquirer that his father worked as a writer during the elections for then gubernatorial candidate Claude Bautista. In the Philippines, some media practitioners have been known to work for newspapers and blocktime programs funded by local politicians and businesses. Some politicians are also known to employ broadcasters to host political programs. The alleged gunman in the killing of Bedolido surrendered in October 2010. Voltaire “Boyet” Mirafuentes came to Manila last Oct. 6 together with his lawyers and surrendered to the PNP, and subsequently to the Department of Justice (DOJ). In his sworn statement dated Oct. 6, Mirafuentes alleged that he was coerced by Cagas and Matanao town Mayor Butch Fernandez to kill Bedolido. According to the alleged gunman’s Oct. 6 sworn statement, Cagas and Fernandez allegedly told Mirafuentes that the publisher-editor caused Mirafuentes’ parents’ death because “inintriga sila ni Bedolido (Bedolido was spreading gossip about your parents).” Mirafuentes said his parents were allegedly killed by Fernandez’s security Apolinario “Jun” Gamayot Jr. and Elizardo “Doydoy” Bacon. But Fernandez allegedly told Mirafuentes that Gamayot and Bacon were really working for the camp of Cagas’ rival Bautista. The DOJ in Manila is conducting a preliminary investigation into the killing of Bedolido.

Suspect in killing of Zamboanga del Norte blocktimer charged
A murder complaint against the alleged killer of radio blocktimer Ismael Pasigna has been filed before a court in Labason town, Zamboanga del Norte. 

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Labason town Mayor Wilfredo Balais told the CMFR that the case against the alleged gunman who killed Pasigna was filed last Jan. 18, 2010. A gunman on a motorcycle shot Pasigna on his way to work in Labason town on Dec. 24, 2009. The incident happened around 30 to 40 kilometers from the house of Balais where Pasigna had come from. Balais said Pasigna usually passed by his house before going to the radio station. Pasigna was one of the anchors of the government-funded blocktime program South Express Balita aired over the local radio station B-96 FM. He started working as a radio announcer in August 2009. Neneng, widow of Pasigna, and Balais said the program focused on the progress of local government projects and was not critical. “He was just speaking the truth,” Neneng told CMFR last Jan. 19. In a Jan. 13 interview, Police Inspector Chamber Lacay said police investigation suggested that the incident was election-related. Balais also believed the incident was politically-motivated. He allegedly received an anonymous text message after the killing of Pasigna saying that he would be the next victim. Both Pasigna and Balais are members of the Alliance Party for Progress, a local political party in Zamboanga del Norte. In a separate interview, however, Neneng said there is a possibility that the killing could be related to her husband’s radio work. Neneng said that Pasigna had aired over radio a controversy regarding the filing of a certificate of candidacy by a political party in Zamboanga del Norte.

Killer of radio broadcaster-witness found guilty
A local court in Cebu City has found the accused killer of a radio broadcaster and key witness to the killing of another broadcaster in May 2002, guilty. In a 19-page decision dated Dec. 28, 2009, Branch 6 Judge Ester Veloso of the Cebu City RTC sentenced Muhammad “Madix” Maulana to life imprisonment for the 2005 murder of Pagadian City-based radio broadcaster Edgar Amoro. The court also ordered Maulana to pay the family of Amoro: P50,000 (approximately USD 1,076) as civil indemnity, P100,000 (approximately USD 2,151) for moral damages, P25,000 (approximately USD 538) for exemplary damages, and P20,000 (approximately USD 432) for temperate damages. The decision was promulgated last Jan. 26, 2010. 

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CMFR learned that Amoro was murdered because of his positive identification of the gunman in the killing of Damalerio in May 2002. Amoro and Edgar Ongue, who were with Damalerio when they were attacked, positively identified police officer Guillermo Wapile as the gunman. Amoro was also actively helping Gemma, the widow of Damalerio, in the prosecution of her husband’s killer. The court said Maulana’s alibi that he could not have been in Pagadian during the attack because he was attending a wedding in Binwatan, a town two hours from Pagadian City, did not hold water. “The accused’s denial and alibi cannot be sustained in the light of the positive identification of him as the perpetrator of crime,” the court said. “It could not have been physically impossible therefore for the accused to be at Pagadian at the time of the incident.” The court found that on Feb. 2, 2005, Maulana and two accomplices attacked Amoro on his way home from the public high school where he was teaching in Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur. The Amoro family said in an interview that Edgar Amoro had been receiving threats from Wapile and his group since 2002. (Ironically, the death of Amoro occurred when the Damalerio case was being transferred to Cebu for the safety of the witnesses involved in the case.) Wapile was convicted in November 2005. Amoro’s daughter, Edel Grace, told CMFR that the conviction of Maulana brought “relief” to her “troubled mind.” “It’s the fulfillment of my promise to my dad (to find justice),” she added. “The successful promulgation of the Amoro murder case, a sequel to the brutal killing of broadcast journalist Edgar Damalerio, serves as another breakthrough in the prosecution service’s efficiency in handling media murder cases, notwithstanding the many challenges we face in the name of truth and justice,” Edel Grace said in a Jan. 26, 2010 statement. The Cebu Daily News reported that the lawyer of Maulana will file a motion for reconsideration questioning the decision of the Cebu RTC Branch 6. Lawyer Ferdinand Pablo told the Cebu Daily News that the basis of the decision—which he described as the “dying declaration” of Amoro that Maulana shot him—“was not supported by any evidence as it was not stated in the complaint-affidavit of Erlinda. The victim immediately died and there was no chance for him to talk to his wife.” 

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Maulana will be transferred to the National Penitentiary in Muntinlupa City. Another suspect in the killing of Amoro, Norham Ambol, is still at large. The conviction of Maulana came two months after the conviction of the killer of Zamboanga del Norte broadcaster Klein Cantoneros. Cantoneros was killed on May 4, 2005 in Dipolog City by three assailants on a motorcycle. In a decision dated Nov. 24, 2009, Branch 6 judge Hipolito Bael Jr. of the Dipolog City RTC found guilty accused Robert “Wangyu” Woo for the murder of Cantoneros. He was charged with “Murder Qualified by Treachery, Evident Premeditation and Abuse of Superior Strength”. Woo was sentenced to a maximum imprisonment of 14 years, 8 months and 1 day and was asked by the court to pay a death indemnity of P50,000 (approximately USD 1,076); actual damages of P167,000 (approximately USD 3,594); and moral damages of P50,000 (approximately USD 1,076) to the family of Cantoneros.

PHYSICAL ASSAULTS AND DEATH THREATS Suspects in attempted killing charged
An attempted murder complaint has been filed against the gunman and his accomplice in the attempted killing of a Kalinga-based radio broadcaster in Tabuk City, Kalinga province. The alleged gunman, Jerry “Boljak” Ladaga, chased Jerome Tabanganay, radio anchor for government-run dzRK Radyo ng Bayan (The Nation’s Radio)-Kalinga, inside the radio station compound and shot him four times in the legs last May 15. Police investigations said the incident was work-related. Tabanganay said the gunman, who was waiting inside the radio compound, approached him as he arrived for his morning program at around 6:45 a.m. (local time) and asked for his name. Sensing danger, he ran inside the radio station, but the gunman chased and shot him, hitting his knee and the back of his right leg. The wounded Tabanganay was able to reach his radio booth, and cried for help. Tabanganay told CMFR in another phone interview, also last May 17, that he had been receiving death threats through text saying, “Papatayin kita (I will kill you)” and other similar messages prior to the incident. He speculated that his commentaries might have hurt certain political figures in the province. 

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However, Tabanganay also mentioned that a local candidate who lost in the elections had accused him of being biased for his rival. He said this might also be a possible motive for his attacker.

Reporter fears surveillance connected to massacre
A journalist in General Santos City claims that unidentified men have been watching his house. Aquiles Zonio, a correspondent of the Inquirer, said two men riding in tandem on a motorcycle took his photograph last Oct. 24 while he was in front of his house. The following day Zonio said a motorcycle-riding man was “peeking through our gate.... He seemed to be checking if my motorcycle was there.” In a text message to CMFR last Oct. 29, Zonio said the alleged surveillance might be related to his continuing reports on illegal small scale mining or to the Nov. 23, 2009 Ampatuan Massacre. Zonio was supposed to be part of the Mangudadatu convoy on Nov. 23, 2009, but he and two others had to go back to their Sultan Kudarat hotel to get their valuables. (Zonio’s account of their experience can be accessed at http://newsinfo. inquirer.net/inquirerheadlines/nation/view/20091125-238187/Hotel-incident-madeus-skip-media-convoy-at-last-minute.) Two other men he did not know also checked out his house last Oct. 26 around 8:40 p.m. (local time), and last Oct. 27 around 4:30 a.m. (local time), leading Zonio to suspect that they were trying to establish what his daily routine was. Zonio has reported the incidents to the local police.

Media workers attacked after filing complaint
Two media workers from Cagayan de Oro survived an attack a few days after they filed a complaint against a local politician for allegedly mauling them a day before the May 10 elections. Father and son Herbert Hugo and Herbert Hubert Dumaguing were walking with four companions in the evening of June 24 when a dark blue car passed them and the driver or a passenger fired three shots at them. In an interview with CMFR last June 25, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) Media Safety Coordinator for Mindanao JB Deveza explained 

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that it was unclear if the gunman had fired at random or intended to kill the Dumaguings. Neither father nor son was able to get the car’s plate number or identify the gunman. The Dumaguings have filed a police report in Cagayan de Oro City regarding the incident, Deveza said. A June 25 report by the ABS-CBN News Channel quoted the Dumaguings as linking the gunman to a local politician. Last June 10, four journalists, namely the two Dumaguings, Alphyn Cabanog, and Algin Lobino, filed a criminal complaint against Camiguin Gov. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo and Catarman town Mayor Nestor Jacot, accusing the governor of illegal detention, grave threats, robbery and violation of the total gun ban during the campaign period for the 2010 elections. The four were among the six media workers who immediately sought refuge in the house of then outgoing Catarman town Mayor Jose Antonio Gabucan after Romualdo, Jacot and their men allegedly attacked them last May 9. Local media had reported that a seventh journalist, Roland Bruno, had gone missing after reporting the incident the same day to the local police. Local reports quoted the elder Dumaguing as stating that Romualdo’s supporters had accosted Bruno in search of radio reporter Rene Abris, one of the journalists who reported the alleged mauling of the Dumaguings to the police. Bruno made it home the next day (May 10).

Kidapawan journalist gets death threat
A Kidapawan-based radio broadcaster received a death threat attached to a funeral wreath last April 28. Williamor Magbanua, a radio blocktimer at dxND of the Notre Dame Broadcasting Corporation, and an information officer of incumbent Kidapawan City representative Bernardo Piñol Jr., said he found the wreath hanging over the fence of his house at around 5:30 a.m. (local time). Magbanua is also a correspondent for the Inquirer and of the online news website GMANews.tv. Attached to the wreath was a note in the Visayan dialect saying that Magbanua had violated the rules of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) because he was peddling lies which trampled on the rights of women. 

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The note was signed by a certain Dencio Madrigal, who said he was the spokesperson of the Front 72 Valentin Palamine Command of the New People’s Army (NPA) Far South Mindanao. The NPA is the armed group of the CPP. Magbanua, however, said he did not think the wreath and the threat came from the NPA, but from the camp of Nancy Catamco, the political rival of Piñol, who, however, immediately denied that it came from her. He also said in an interview with NUJP Kidapawan Chapter Chair Malu Manar that, “(t)his is not the way the NPA writes their press statements. As a radio reporter who used to write stories about the NPA, I know how the rebels write and send their statements.” Magbanua denied that he has demeaned women in his shows. “Never in my shows,” he said. He challenged Catamco to listen to the recordings of his show to prove her allegations. “She is creating all those rumors,” Magbanua said in Filipino. Last April 30, Manar received in her e-mail an open letter of the NPA Front 72 Valentin Palamine Regional Operations Command denying that the threat on Magbanua came from them. The group said: “May we reassure Mr. Magbanua that, as a matter of policy, and as track record shows, the NPA does not send death threats, not even to those who have been found guilty by the Hukumang Bayan (People’s Court). The NPA through its Eight Points of Attention strictly follows the rules and regulations on the proper conduct towards civilians, including Mr. Magbanua.” The “Open Letter to Williamor Magbanua” dated April 29 was signed by Dencio Madrigal.

LIBEL AND OTHER LEGAL THREATS Sued for libel, journalist also receives death threat
After a Supreme Court justice filed 13 counts of libel against her in connection with an article she wrote last year, journalist Marites Vitug received death threats she believes to be connected with her book on the judiciary. But the spokesman of the Supreme Court made light of her fears and described the alleged threat as “funny.” Vitug, editor of the media organization Newsbreak and of the online news site abs-cbnNEWS.com, believes the threats were connected to her book “Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court”. The book is on the controversies surrounding the Supreme Court and its justices. It was launched last March 16. (To find out more about the said publication, please visit http://www.shadowofdoubt.info/.) 

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Supreme Court spokesperson and recently appointed Court Administrator Midas Marquez said the idea of anyone of the Supreme Court justices’ threatening Vitug was “ridiculous.” An NUJP statement took exception to his reaction, saying that death threats against journalists are “never funny.” Vitug first received threatening text messages in the early afternoon of March 22. The messages were sent through mobile number (+63)909-134-8825. CMFR dialed the number but could not make a connection. The first message, Vitug said, was about “the pen being mightier than the sword. But the sword kills faster than the word.” The second message was more direct but its seriousness only dawned on her after reading it for the third time, she said. “Kaya pala maraming napapatay na journalist, dahil katulad mo. May katuwiran pala si Ampatuan na pagpapatayin ang mga journalist. Sana nakasama ka doon. Malay mo malapit na (Now I know why many journalists are killed. It’s because they are like you. Ampatuan did have a reason to kill those journalists. You should have been with them. Who knows, you might be next),” the second message read. “Ampatuan” is the surname of some of the 195 accused in the Nov. 23, 2009 Ampatuan Multiple Murder case. Vitug told CMFR she has reported the threat to National Capital Region Police Office chief Police Director Roberto Rosales. Rosales has yet to get back to her regarding the details of the sender. She also said she “want(s) to make (the threat) public because this is the best protection.” Meanwhile, Vitug has met with her lawyers to discuss her reply to the libel complaint filed against her by Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. of the Supreme Court. The libel complaint is based on an article she wrote on Dec. 3, 2009 on the alleged involvement of Velasco in his son’s campaign in Marinduque province (“SC justice in partisan politics?”, http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/12/03/09/scjustice-partisan-politics). This is the first time a Supreme Court justice has filed a libel case against a journalist. Supreme Court justices have usually used the court’s contempt power in similar incidents. In his 10-page complaint-affidavit, Velasco alleged that Vitug’s article caused “irreparable dishonor, discredit, and contempt” to his family especially his son Lord 

Philippine Press Freedom Report 2010

Allan, who was then running for the lone congressional seat in Marinduque province in the May 2010 elections. Velasco is seeking P1 million in damages. The complaint was filed before the Manila City Prosecutor’s Office last March 12. The Dec. 3, 2009 article discussed the allegation that Velasco has been assisting in his son’s congressional bid and the ethical issues involved. According to the story, Velasco solicited support for his son and asked “at least two local officials to run with his son as councilor and promised to underwrite [their] campaign expenses.” It said the local officials declined Velasco’s alleged offer. Vitug said in the article that Velasco denied such allegations. “Ms. Vitug publicly accused me in her Newsbreak online article…and portrayed me as an unethical person without delicadeza who has wantonly violated the Code of Judicial Conduct and existing laws,” Velasco claimed in his complaint. He accused Vitug as “likely (to have been) paid to write the article” by his son’s political rival, Edmund Reyes. “I have inhibited myself from soliciting, directly or indirectly, support for Allan’s candidacy, aware as I am that such solicitation constitutes a prohibited partisan political activity,” Velasco said in his complaint. Velasco quoted the denial by a village official cited by Vitug as one of those who were “offered” to join his son’s ticket. “Hindi naman totoo na nag-offer sa akin si Justice Velasco na tumakbo na konsehal sa Torrijos (It’s not true that Justice Velasco offered me to run as councilor for Torrijos town, Marinduque),” Velasco quoted the official’s affidavit in his complaint. In a March 15 abs-cbnNEWS.com report, Vitug said she “went back to the story because that was published in December (2009). I found it really fair. I couldn’t really find the libelous element in the story. My lawyer said there might be another article (involved) because (he) can’t see anything libelous there.” She explained in an abs-cbnNEWS.com article that she wrote the story since it was the first time a Supreme Court justice’s child was running for Congress. “How does he help a member of the family running for public office considering that, as a Supreme Court justice, he is really very limited by his profession? That was really the whole point of the story. He missed it,” Vitug said. ABS-CBN 2’s Bandila also reported that Vitug proposed that Velasco take a leave of absence if the complaint goes to court. “He may be able to influence the processes in the court so why shouldn’t he take a leave of absence while the case is pending?” Vitug told ABS-CBN 2. 

Killings and other attacks on journalists in 2010

Case against Mike Arroyo to continue
Now that the legal impediments have been resolved with finality, the 36 journalists and three media organizations that filed a P12.5 million class suit against the husband of former President Arroyo can expect the case to proceed. Lawyer Harry Roque told CMFR in a May 28 interview that two impediments to the progress of the court proceedings—the motion to quash the class suit for lack of cause of action and the complaint over the alleged failure of the complainants to pay the proper docket fees, both filed by Jose Miguel “Mike” Arroyo—have finally been set aside. The Supreme Court denied the motion filed by Arroyo asking for the dismissal of the damage class suit filed by 36 journalists and three media organizations against him. Last March 10, the Supreme Court upheld the Sept. 22, 2008 and the Feb. 24, 2009 decisions of the Court of Appeals denying Arroyo’s petition for certiorari, arguing that the appellate court did not err in its decision to allow the class suit to proceed. “The Court further resolves to deny the petition for failure of petitioner to sufficiently show that the Court of Appeals committed any reversible error in the challenged decision and resolution as warrant the exercise of this Court’s discretionary appellate jurisdiction,” the Supreme Court’s First Division stated in a resolution. On Dec. 26, 2006, 36 journalists, together with the CMFR, the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism and the Manila broadsheet The Daily Tribune, filed a P12.5 million (approximately USD 248,011) class suit for damages in response to the libel cases Arroyo had been filing against journalists since 2003. The suit argued that Arroyo was abusing his right to sue and that the libel suits were an attack on press freedom. 

Philippine Press Freedom Report 2010

UPDATES ON SOME ONGOING TRIALS

T

HE TRIAL of the alleged killers and masterminds behind the Ampatuan Massacre has been agonizingly slow. Until the last hearing for the year 2010 last Dec. 16, the trial had mostly been limited to resolving the numerous

motions and petitions filed by both the defense and the prosecution. The hearings on the charges against the primary accused, Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr., was for example still on his petitions for bail as the year ended. 

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Other Ampatuans
Other Ampatuan clan members in detention have yet to be arraigned, pending their separate petitions before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC) Branch 221 and the Court of Appeals. Zaldy Ampatuan, suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao governor, for example, filed in June 2010 a petition for certiorari questioning the May 5 decision by former acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra to reinstate him and his uncle Akmad “Tato” Ampatuan Sr. among the accused in the murder case. Last May 5, Agra had reversed his April 16 order to drop Zaldy and Akmad from the list of the accused in the multiple murder case. He cited the testimony of a new witness, Abdul Talusan, who allegedly saw Akmad and Zaldy in a Nov. 22, 2009 meeting in Sharif Aguak, Maguindanao. Talusan’s testimony was part of a motion for reconsideration filed by the prosecution. Zaldy filed a memorandum to his June 2010 petition last Oct. 18. The Oct. 18 Zaldy Ampatuan petition claimed that “it was grave abuse of discretion for Agra to admit the new evidence belatedly introduced by the panel of prosecutors. Such admissibility of new evidence, especially that Zaldy was not given an opportunity to refute or controvert the same, constitutes a violation of Zaldy’s right to due process.”
Statistics on the Ampatuan Massacre trial Charged Under trial On bail proceedings Detained 195 (previously 197) 51 1 (Unsay Ampatuan) 83 (including Mohammad Sangki who is with the Witness Protection Program and Sukarno Badal who is with the Department of Justice)

Bribes and threats
The slowness of the proceedings has made the families of the victims, their lawyers, and the witnesses vulnerable to attacks and bribes. Some families have disclosed attempts to bribe them into withdrawing from 

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the case. Others have reported the surveillance of their homes and receiving death threats. Catherine Nuñez, mother of UNTV reporter Victor Nuñez, reported that men on motorcycle were looking for her and her family. The Nuñez’s neighbors reportedly saw the men surveying their area around 7 a.m. (local time) last Dec. 9. The men came again around 10 a.m. and asked directions to the “Nuñez compound”. They have also inquired about the routes in and out of the compound. Aquiles Zonio, one of the reporters who decided not to proceed to Shariff Aguak on the day of the Massacre, said in a Nov. 18 forum at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication that he too had been receiving death threats since 2009. (See related story on page 74.) Some policemen who issued statements alleging the involvement of the Ampatuans in the Massacre have allegedly been maltreated and threatened even while in detention.

Disbarment
Maguindanao Gov. Esmael Mangudadatu, Nenita Oquendo, Dennis Ayon, and lawyers Gemma Oquendo and Nena Santos, together with the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ), have filed a disbarment complaint against Unsay Ampatuan’s lead lawyer Sigfrid Fortun. In their complaint, the group alleged that: “Respondent Atty. Fortun had astutely embarked in an untiring quest to obstruct, impede and degrade the administration of justice by filing countless ancillary motions and initiating suits based on imaginary causes of action, all in the hope of burying the principal issue of his clients’ participation or guilt in the murder of 57 people that ill-fated day of 23 November 2009.” The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) is a founding member and the secretariat of FFFJ. One of the incidents cited by the group was Fortun’s claim during a hearing in early 2010 that his client Unsay could not understand Filipino or English. But Unsay was later interviewed by TV networks in Filipino, and was able to speak that language fluently. Fortun, said the group, was in violation of his lawyer’s oath and of Canon 1 and Rules 1.01 and 1.02 of the lawyers’ Code of Professional Responsibility. Canon 1 states that “A lawyer shall uphold the Constitution, obey the laws of the land and promote respect for law and for legal processes.” 

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Events in the trial of Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr. and 194 other alleged perpetrators of the Ampatuan Massacre from April-December 2010 DATE April 16 EVENT Then acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra issues a resolution ordering the public prosecutors to withdraw the Information against suspended Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan and Akmad “Tato” Ampatuan Sr. The National Prosecution Service lead by then Chief State Prosecutor (now Prosecutor General) Claro Arrellano issues a statement condemning the resolution of Agra. Families of the Ampatuan Massacre victims hold protests in Mindanao. April 21 Bail hearings are still on hold pending resolution of the motions for recusation. Nine policemen and two civilian volunteer organization (CVO) members are arraigned; they plead not guilty to 56 murder charges. (The two CVO members later retracted their pleas, claiming they are not the persons called Maot Dumla and Thong Guimano.) May 5 May 12 June Agra reverses his earlier resolution to remove Zaldy and Akmad in the charge sheet. Prosecution files the 57th Information, that of the murder of Victor Nuñez, before the Quezon City Regional Trial Court (RTC). Zaldy, through lawyer Redempto Villanueva, files a petition for certiorari before the Manila Court of Appeals questioning the decision of Agra to reinstate him and Akmad in the charge sheet. (On Oct. 18, Zaldy’s party filed a memorandum to the June petition.) The Quezon City RTC orders the consolidation of the 57th Murder Information (for Victor Nuñez) filed by the prosecution. The 57th Information was filed later than the others as a result of several claimants for the last three recovered bodies. The case against Police Officer 1 Johann Draper, driver of one of the children of Unsay, is dismissed for lack of probable cause. Warrants of arrest are re-issued for 135 perpetrators including 22 surnamed Ampatuan after the court found probable cause for the murder charges. July 28 Five other alleged perpetrators are arraigned for the first 56 murder cases in court. They, together with Unsay and 11 others, are also arraigned for the 57th Information. Trial court informs parties that a sixth recusation motion was filed by the lawyers of Unsay. Aug. 4, 6, 11, 17 Sept. 1 Preliminary conference and pre-trial The scheduled start of trial on the merits. Hearing is postponed after several defense lawyers asked for extension of deadline to file comment on the pre-trial order released by the court on Aug. 27.

April 19

July 21 

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Sept. 8

Trial on the merits of the Ampatuan Massacre begins. The prosecution presents Lakmodin Saliao, a former helper at the Ampatuan household. Saliao testifies on how the Ampatuans and their supporters planned and carried out the massacre.

Sept. 15

Continuation of Saliao’s testimony Police officers Arnulfo Soriano and Marsouk Mascud are arraigned; they plead not guilty. Saliao reveals attempts by the Ampatuans and their lawyers to cover up the crime and bribe witnesses into withdrawing their affidavits.

Sept. 20

Akmad, Sajid and Anwar file a petition to transfer venue of the trial from Camp Bagong Diwa to the Quezon City Hall of Justice “where Branch 221 of the (RTC) is regularly performing it’s (sic) judicial functions.” Defense lawyers cross-examine Saliao. Norodin Mauyag, a resident of Sitio Malating in Ampatuan town, is presented to the court. Mauyag describes how armed men led by Kanor Ampatuan stopped the convoy at the police checkpoint at Sitio Malating.

Sept. 29

Oct. 6

Prosecution proceeds with direct examination of Mauyag. Defense later crossexamines Mauyag. Mohades Ampatuan is arraigned; he pleads not guilty. Abdul Esmael Abubakar, a farmer from Sitio Masalay, Ampatuan town, testifies how Unsay and his men allegedly killed the 58 victims on Nov. 23, 2009. Abubakar tells the court that he saw a big, yellow backhoe go up the hilltop. The backhoe was allegedly used to dig a hole and crush the vehicles. The bodies and crushed vehicles were then thrown into the hole. Judge Jocelyn Solis Reyes clarifies that the presentation of witnesses since Sept. 8 were part of the trial on the merits of the case. Fortun questions this as his client had filed in early September a petition for bail. Reyes tells him the court has yet to act on his motion for bail. Another accused, Moactar Daud, is arraigned; he pleads not guilty.

Oct. 20

Oct. 27

Hearing on the prosecution’s motion to discharge from the charge sheet possible state witnesses begins (“conversion hearing”) for Police Inspector Rex Ariel Diongon, Police Officer 1 Reiner Ebus, former Vice-mayor Mohammad Sangki, and Police Inspector Michael Joy Macaraeg. (Request for Macaraeg’s discharge as state witness was withdrawn last Nov. 10.) Diongon, who was the group director of the 1508th Police Provincial Mobile Group (PPMG), testifies that Unsay ordered through Major Sukarno Dicay the setting up of checkpoints to guard the possible filing of certificate of candidacy by Esmael “ Toto” Mangudadatu. Diongon also testifies on what happened at the checkpoint—how they stopped the convoy, how some were physically harassed, and how members of the convoy were brought to the clearing. Unsay fails to attend hearing due to an alleged sickness. According to a Bureau of Jail Managament and Penelogy guard, he allegedly complained of stomach ache earlier in the day.

Nov. 3

Defense lawyers cross-examine Diongon. 

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Nov. 5 Nov. 10

Court orders the consolidation of Unsay’s petitions for bail. Twenty-eight accused persons including members of the 1507th PPMG are arraigned; they plead not guilty. Ebus, driver-security of Unsay, describes how the victims were killed on the hilltop of Sitio Masalay, Barangay Salman, Ampatuan town. He also testifies on the attempts to cover-up the crime by burying the bodies and the vehicles.

Nov. 17

Norman Taktak and Macton Bilungan are arraigned; they plead not guilty. Trial court announces it will hold two hearings a week in December. The court will later decide if this set-up will continue.

Nov. 24 Dec. 1

Continuation of preliminary conference and pre-trial for newly arraigned accused The hearing on the consolidated petition for bail of Unsay starts. The trial on the merits for the other 50 accused continues. Diongon and Ebus are recalled to the witness stand for the cross-examination of lawyer Paris Real, counsel of Samson Andatuan, a member of the Civilian Volunteer Organization. Toy Mangudadatu, brother of Esmael Mangudadatu, testifies on what happened a few days before the massacre. Aside from his relatives, he identifies members of the media who were part of the ill-fated convoy. Noh Akil, a village councilor, testifies that on Nov. 24, 2009 a meeting was held in the house of then Maguindanao Officer-in-charge Sajid Ampatuan to discuss the “cover-up” of the Massacre.

Dec. 2

Cross-examination, redirect examination, and re-cross of Akil Police Chief Inspector Dean Cabrera M.D. of the Philippine National Police Crime Laboratory presents results of the autopsies he did on Nov. 25 and 26, 2009. He autopsied 12 victims including journalists/media workers Francisco “Ian” Subang, Noel Decena, Eleanor “Leah” Dalmacio, Jephon Cadagdagon, Mc Delbert Arriola, Romeo Jimmy Cabillo, Santos Gatchalian Jr., Arturo Betia, Victor Nuñez and Lindo Lupogan.

Dec. 8

Sangki is called to the stand for the cross-examination of lawyer Real. Sangki tells the trial court his fear of the Ampatuans stopped him from warning the Mangudadatus of what may happen during the filing. Cabrera continues with his testimony. He relates to the trial court his findings on the bodies of Subang and Decena.

Dec. 9

Cabrera’s testimony continues. He reveals that genital examination on the bodies of two female victims—journalist Dalmacio and Mangudadatu supporter Rahima Palawan—yielded positive traces of semen. The autopsy reports on Cadagdagon, Arriola, and Cabillo are also presented. Cabrera continues with his testimony, particularly on his autopsy findings on the bodies of Cabillo and Gatchalian. Last hearing date for the year 2010 Cabrera’s testimony continues with his autopsy findings on the bodies of Betia and Nuñez. Trial court sets hearing on January 13, 19, 20, 26 and 27, 2011.

Dec. 15 Dec. 16 

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Murder of Marlene Esperat
There has been no progress in the yet-to-begin trial of the suspected masterminds in the killing of journalist Marlene Esperat pending the decision of the Court of Appeals of Cagayan De Oro on the petition for certiorari and prohibition filed by the alleged masterminds Osmeña Montañer and Estrella Sabay. Esperat was killed on March 24, 2005 in her home and in front of her children in Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat province. The gunman and his accomplice pled guilty and were sentenced in October 2006. More than two years later, the prosecutors filed murder charges against Montañer and Sabay who allegedly masterminded the killing to retaliate for Esperat’s exposes of corruption in the Department of Agriculture Region XII office. The Makati RTC Branch 138, where the trial was ordered transferred by the Supreme Court in 2009, cannot proceed with the hearings because of a preliminary injunction issued by the appellate court in Cagayan De Oro on Dec. 3, 2009 in connection to the petition for certitorari. A preliminary injunction, according to Rule 58 of the Rules of Court, is “an order granted at any stage of an action prior to the final judgment, requiring a person to refrain from a particular act.” Because of the same injunction, the Philippine National Police cannot even arrest the alleged masterminds. The resolution by Associate Justice Elihu A. Ybañez of the Twenty-First Division of the Cagayan De Oro Court of Appeals stopped the implementation of the Oct. 21, 2008 arrest warrant issued by Tacurong City RTC Judge Milanio Guerrero against them. (In an Order dated May 13, 2010, Judge Alberico Umali of Makati RTC Branch 138 denied the motion of Montañer and Sabay to lift the warrant of arrest against them, stating the Dec. 3, 2009 resolution of the Cagayan De Oro Court of Appeals “only enjoined the (trial) Court and the other respondents from implementing the warrant of arrest and it did not authorize the court to lift it.”) The court also “enjoin(ed) respondents from further proceeding with Criminal Case No. 3064 or under the same Information from which petitioners were charged for Murder or from acting on any matter raised relative thereto, until this petition for certiorari and prohibition is finally resolved unless sooner revoked.” The alleged masterminds filed on May 21, 2009 a petition for certiorari and prohibition asking the appellate court to declare the denial of their motion for reconsideration for the dismissal of the murder case as grave abuse of discretion on the part of Judge Guerrero. 

Philippine Press Freedom Report 2010

Murder of Dennis Cuesta
Accused Redempto “Boy” Acharon’s being at large for more than two years now has resulted to the Makati RTC Branch 139’s temporarily archiving the case. In an order dated last June 21, the court said that “(i)n order not to unduly clog the docket of the Court, considering that accused...had remained at large for more than six months despite the issuance of warrant for his arrest on (Jan. 13, 2010) let the records of the… case be sent to the archives subject to reinstatement upon the arrest of the accused.” The court, however, issued an alias warrant of arrest against Acharon. Despite reports that the alleged gunman in the killing of broadcaster Dennis Cuesta was just in General Santos City, the PNP has failed to arrest former Police Inspector Acharon, because they “could not find him.” Cuesta died on Aug. 9, 2008, five days after a gunman on a motorcycle shot him along a national highway near a shopping mall in General Santos City. A program director and anchor at the local station of Radio Mindanao Network (RMN), Cuesta was on his way home from an RMN-sponsored outreach program.

Murder of Roger Mariano
Branch 54 of the Manila RTC has cleared former Senior Police Officer Apolonio Medrano and Basilio Yadao of charges for the murder of Ilocos Norte-based broadcaster Roger Mariano in 2004. The decision dated Aug. 6, 2010 was promulgated last Aug. 11. Mariano was on his way home from the dzJC radio station when armed men attacked him along the national highway in San Nicolas town, Ilocos Norte on July 31, 2004. Mariano was allegedly looking into suspected anomalous transactions at the local electric cooperative before he was killed. His widow, Alma Mariano, has asked that the case against the alleged gunmen be transferred to Manila for fear that the witnesses could be influenced by the accused. Her request was granted and the trial resumed in 2006. Branch 54 Judge Reynaldo Alhambra said in his Aug. 6 decision that the prosecution had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the accused were the same men who attacked and killed Mariano. The judge also said that the identification of the accused was “certainly difficult, if not impossible” to establish. His decision enumerated the testimonies of eye witnesses and said that “their narrations may have been embellished to the point 

Philippine Press Freedom Report 2010

that these are contrary to the natural and logical consequences of what they claimed to have been the events that transpired that night.” “In this case, the quantum of proof required to justify a conviction for a criminal offense was not satisfied by the prosecution. Thus, the Court has no option but to uphold the constitutional presumption of innocence in favor of the accused.” Mariano’s relatives were disappointed with the result of the trial. “We are very saddened by the decision and we felt that we were robbed of the justice we deserve. It’s frustrating for us and makes us question the integrity and credibility of our justice system,” a family representative told CMFR.

Murder of Fausto Sison
Another disappointing development is the private complainants’ withdrawal from the case against the alleged gunmen in the 2008 killing of Fausto Sison. Sison’s widow Marieta, and his daughters Liwayway and Almira told the court last April 28 that they are dropping charges against Mario, Michael, and Menandro Biscocho. Both daughters also stated in their affidavit that they no longer have the desire to testify against the Biscocho brothers. Both Liwayway and Almira positively identified the Biscocho brothers as the persons who ambushed and killed their father. Sison, a correspondent for the weekly Regional Bulletin and a broadcaster at the Lucena-based dzAT-AM, was with his daughters Almira and Liwayway in Lutukan village, Sariaya, Quezon, when a gunman riding pillion on a motorcycle overtook his car and opened fire in June 2008.

Cases in Cebu RTC
The Cebu City RTC is now hearing four cases of killing of journalists: the murders of Herson Hinolan, Arecio Padrigao, Ernesto Rollin, and Rolando Ureta. As of press time, the defense in the Hinolan and Ureta cases are presenting their evidence. In the trial on the murder of Hinolan, the defense started its presentation of evidence only after the Cebu RTC Branch 16 denied the motion for demurrer of evidence filed by the accused mastermind-killer—former Lezo town, Aklan Mayor Alfredo Arcenio—in the 2004 killing of Hinolan. 

Philippine Press Freedom Report 2010

Judge Sylva Aguirre Paderanga in a three-page order said that “the evidence of guilt of the accused so far presented by the State remains strong.” She reminded the prosecution, however, “that even after such time that the defense shall have presented its evidence, the burden to overcome the constitutional presumption by proof beyond reasonable doubt to justify the conviction of the accused still remains with the prosecution.” Meanwhile, the prosecutors in both the Rollin and Padrigao cases are still presenting their evidence. 

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CMFR DATABASE ON THE KILLING OF JOURNALISTS/MEDIA PRACTITIONERS IN THE PHILIPPINES SINCE 16* (as of December 2010)

All journalists killed since 16 by motive

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) has recorded 175 cases of killing of Filipino journalists/media practitioners since 1986. *More detailed information may be accessed at http://www.cmfr-phil.org/map/index_ inline.html. 

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Journalists killed in the line of duty since 16

Of the 175 journalists/media practitioners killed since 1986, 118 were killed because of their work. Seventy-nine out of the 118 work-related cases happened during the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration (February 2001-June 30, 2010).
Of the 175 journalists/media workers killed since 1986, 118 were killed because of their work. Seventynine out of the 118 work-related cases happened during the Arroyo administration (February 2001-June 30, 2010).

Journalists/media practitioners killed in the line of duty by administration 

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Journalists killed in the line of duty since 16 by region of place of killing

Most of the journalists/media workers killed in the line of duty since 1986 were based in the provinces. The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) registered the most number (34) of work-related Most of the1986. This number includes the 32 journalists/media the line ofkilled in the so-called Nov. killings since journalists/media practitioners killed in practitioners duty since 1986 were based in23, 2009 Ampatuan Massacre. the provinces. The Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) registered the most

number (34) of work-related killings since 1986. This number includes the 32 journalists/media practitioners killed in the Nov. 23, 2009 Ampatuan Massacre.

Filipino journalists/media practitioners killed in the line of duty by island groups

Page | 55 

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Filipino journalists/media practitioners killed in the line of duty by gender

One hundred ten (93 percent) of the 118 journalists/media practitioners killed in the line of duty since 1986 are male.

One hundred and ten (93 percent) of the 118 journalists/media workers killed in the line of duty since 1986 are male.

Journalists/media practitioners killed in the line of duty since 16 by medium

Most of the journalists and media workers killed in the line of duty worked solely for print (49 of the 118 or 42 percent), followed by those who worked for radio (45). The number of print journalists who were killed increased after the Maguindanao massacre where most (24 out of the 32 fatalities) were working solely for print. This includes Reynaldo “Bebot” Momay whose body has not been found.

Most of the journalists and media practitioners killed in the line of duty worked solely for print (49 of the 118 or 42 percent), followed by those who worked for radio (45). The number of print journalists who were killed increased after the Ampatuan Massacre where Page 56 most (24 out of the 32 fatalities) were working solely for print. This includes Reynaldo| “Bebot” Momay whose body has not been found. 

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FILIPINO JOURNALISTS/MEDIA WORKERS KILLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY SINCE 1986
Date of Death 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 1986-Apr-24 1986-Apr-25 1987-Mar-24 1987-Apr-12 1987-Aug-27 1987-Aug-27 1987-Aug-27 1987-Aug-27 1987-Aug-28 1987-Oct-04 1987-Oct-10 Name Pete Mabazza Wilfredo Vicoy Virgilio Pacala Dionisio Perpetuo Joaquin* Narciso Balani Rogie Zagado Leo Palo Cesar Maglalang Martin Castor Ramon Noblejas Leo Enriquez III News Organization / Place of Killing Manila Bulletin / Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Reuters / Tuguegarao City, Cagayan Manila Hotline / San Pablo, Laguna Olongapo News / Olongapo City, Zambales dxRA / Davao City, Davao del Sur dxRA / Davao City, Davao del Sur dxRA / Davao City, Davao del Sur dxRA / Davao City, Davao del Sur Pilipino Ngayon / Manila dyVL / Tacloban City, Leyte Kyodo News Service, Washington Times, People’s Journal / Cebu City, Cebu Mindanao Scanner / Tagum City, Davao del Norte Luzon Tribune / Balanga City, Bataan Visayan Life Today, dyRP / Iloilo City, Iloilo dyFM-Bombo Radyo / Iloilo City, Iloilo Newscaster / Quezon City The Luzon Times, The Midway Star / Lucena City, Quezon Mindoro Weekly Reporter / Pinamalayan, Oriental Mindoro Northern Sierra Madre Express / Timauini, Isabela Southern Star / General Santos City Panguil Bay Monitor / Ozamiz, Misamis Occidental Philippine Post / Iligan, Lanao del Norte Prenza Zamboanga / Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur dxAS / Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur dxXX / Isabela, Basilan Region of Place of Killing Region II Region II Region IV-A Region III Region XI Region XI Region XI Region XI National Capital Region Region VIII Region VII

12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

1988-Mar-29 1988-Aug-12 1988-Oct-30 1989-Oct-17 1989-Dec-01 1990-Feb-04 1990-Feb-06 1990-May-15 1990-Jul-08 1991-Apr-14 1992-Jul-01 1992-July-03 1992-Sep-21 1992-Dec-02

Noel Miranda Ruben R. Manrique** Josef Aldeguer Nava Severino Arcones Eddie Telan Enrique Lingan Joseph “Joe” Kreuger Reynaldo Catindig Sr. Jean Ladringan Nesino Paulin Toling* Danilo Vergara Abdulajid “Jade” Ladja Rev. Greg Hapalla Gloria Martin

Region XI Region III Region VI Region VI National Capital Region Region IV-A Region IV-B Region II Region XII Region X Region X Region IX Region IX ARMM 

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26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41

1993-Jan-11 1996-Feb-12 1996-Dec-15 1997-Jun-03 1997-Dec-17 1998-Feb-15 1998-Mar-29 1998-Oct-30 1999-Jan-21 1999-Apr-25 2000-May-23 2000-Nov-17 2001-Jan-03 2001-Feb-24 2001-May-30 2002-May-13

Romeo Andrada Legaspi Ferdinand Reyes Alberto Berbon* Daniel J. Hernandez Regalado Mabazza Odilon Mallari* Rey Bancairin Dominador “Dom” Bentulan Bienvenido Dasal Frank Palma* Vincent Rodriguez Olimpio Jalapit Rolando Ureta*** Mohammad Yusoph Candelario “Jhun” Cayona** Edgar Damalerio*

Voice of Zambales / Olongapo City, Zambales Press Freedom / Dipolog City, Zamboanga del Norte dzMM / Imus, Cavite People’s Journal Tonight / Quezon City Polaris Cable Network / Cauayan, Isabela dxCP / General Santos City dxLL / Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur dxGS / General Santos City dxKR Radyo Agong / Koronadal, South Cotabato dwYB-Bombo Radyo / Bacolod City, Negros Occidental dzMM / Guagua, Pampanga dxPR / Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur dyKR / Kalibo, Aklan dxID / Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur dxLL / Zamboanga City, Zamboanga del Sur dxKP, Zamboanga Scribe, Mindanao Gold Star / Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur Kokus, Celestron Cable TV / San Pablo City, Laguna dwTI / Lucena City, Quezon Dyaryo Banat / La Paz, Tarlac The Laguna Score, dzJV / Sta. Cruz, Laguna dxSF / San Francisco, Agusan del Sur dxGO / Davao City, Davao del Sur dyME / Masbate City, Masbate MBC-dzRH Radyo Natin / General Santos City

Region III Region IX Region IV-A National Capital Region Region II Region XII Region IX Region XII Region XII Region VI Region III Region IX Region VI Region IX Region IX Region IX

42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51

2002-Aug-22 2003-Apr-28 2003-May-17 2003-Jul-08 2003-Aug-19 2003-Aug-20 2003-Sep-06 2003-Dec-02 2004-Feb-11 2004-Jun-17

Rhode Sonny Esguerra Alcantara Apolinario “Polly” Pobeda*** Bonifacio Gregorio Noel Villarante** Rico Ramirez Juan “Jun” Pala Nelson Nadura Rowell Endrinal*** Elpidio “Ely” Binoya**

Region IV-A Region V Region IV-A Region III Region IV-A Region XIII Region XI Region V Region XII

John Belen Villanueva Jr. dzGB / Camalig, Albay

dzRC, Metro News / Legazpi City, Albay Region V 

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52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79

2004-Jul-31 2004-Aug-05 2004-Sep-29 2004-Oct-19 2004-Nov-12 2004-Nov-15 2005-Mar-24 2005-May-02 2005-May-10 2005-Jul-05 2005-Nov-18 2005-Nov-20 2005-Dec-01 2006-Jan-20 2006-Apr-02 2006-May-22 2006-Jun-19 2006-Jun-19 2006-Jul-18 2007-Apr-18 2007-Dec-24 2008-Apr-27 2008-Jun-30 2008-Aug-07 2008-Aug-09 2008-Nov-17 2008-Dec-02 2009-Feb-23

Roger Mariano (A) Arnnel Manalo**** Romeo Binungcal Eldy Gabinales (aka Eldy Sablas) Gene Boyd Lumawag Herson Hinolan*** Marlene Esperat*/ *** Klein Cantoneros* Philip Agustin****/** Rolando Morales Ricardo Uy Robert Ramos**** George Benaojan* Rolly Cañete Orlando Mendoza Fernando Batul*** George Vigo Maricel Alave-Vigo Armando “Rachman” Pace* Carmelo “Mark” Palacios Fernando “Batman” Lintuan (A) Marcos Mataro Fausto “Bert” Sison*** Martin Roxas*** Dennis Cuesta**** Arecio Padrigao*** Leo Mila Ernesto Rollin***

dzJC / San Nicolas, Ilocos Norte dzRH, Bulgar, Dyaryo Veritas / Bauan, Batangas Remate, Bulgar, Mt. Samat Forum / Pilar, Bataan dxJR-FM Radio Real / Tandag, Surigao del Sur MindaNews / Jolo, Sulu dyIN - Bombo Radyo / Kalibo, Aklan The Midland Review / Tacurong City, Sultan Kudarat dxAA / Dipolog City, Zambaonga del Norte Starline Times Recorder / Dingalan, Aurora dxMD / General Santos City dzRS-AM / Sorsogon City, Sorsogon Katapat / Cabuyao, Laguna dyDD / Cebu City, Cebu dxPR / Pagadian City, Zamboanga del Sur Tarlac Profile, Tarlac Patrol / Tarlac City, Tarlac dyPR / Puerto Princesa City, Palawan dxND / Kidapawan, North Cotabato dxND / Kidapawan, North Cotabato dxDS / Digos City, Davao del Sur dzRB / Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija dxGO / Davao City, Davao del Sur UNTV / San Simon toll gate, North Luzon Expressway, Pampanga dzAT / Sariaya, Quezon dyVR / Roxas City, Capiz dxMD / General Santos City dxRS - Radyo Natin / Gingoog City, Misamis Oriental Radyo Natin / San Roque, Northern Samar dxSY / Oroquieta City, Misamis Occidental

Region I Region IV-A Region III Region XIII ARMM Region VI Region XII Region IX Region III Region XII Region V Region IV-A Region VII Region IX Region III Region IV-B Region XII Region XII Region XI Region III Region XI Region III Region IV-A Region VI Region XII Region X Region VIII Region X 

Philippine Press Freedom Report 2010

80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102

2009-Jun-09 2009-Jul-27 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23

Crispin Perez*** Godofredo Linao*** Bengie Adolfo*** Henry Araneta*** Mc Delbert “Mac-mac” Arriola *** Rubello Bataluna*** Arturo Betia*** Romeo Jimmy “Pal-ak” Cabillo*** Marites Cablitas *** Hannibal Cachuela*** Jephon Cadagdagon*** John Caniban*** Eleanor “Leah” Dalmacio*** Noel Decena*** Gina Dela Cruz *** Jose “Jhoy” Duhay*** Jolito Evardo*** Santos Gatchalian Jr.*** Bienvenido Legarta Jr. *** Lindo Lupogan*** Ernesto “Bombo Bart” Maravilla*** Rey Merisco***

dwDO / San Jose City, Occidental Mindoro Radyo Natin-Bislig / Barobo, Surigao del Sur Gold Star Daily / Ampatuan, Maguindanao dzRH / Ampatuan, Maguindanao UNTV / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Gold Star Daily / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Periodico Ini / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Midland Review / Ampatuan, Maguindanao News Focus, RPN - dxDX / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Manila Star, Punto News / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Saksi Mindanaoan News / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Periodico Ini, Sultan Kudarat Gazette / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Socsksargen Today / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Periodico Ini, Rapido / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Saksi Mindanaoan News / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Gold Star Daily / Ampatuan, Maguindanao UNTV / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Mindanao Daily Gazette / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Periodico Ini / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Mindanao Daily Gazette / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Bombo Radyo-Koronadal City / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Periodico Ini, Tingog MindaNOW / Ampatuan, Maguindanao

Region IV-B Region XIII ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM

Reynaldo “Bebot” Momay The Midland Review / Ampatuan, Maguindanao 

Philippine Press Freedom Report 2010

103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118

2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Dec-24 2010-Jun-14 2010-Jun-16 2010-Jun-19 2010-Jul-31

Marife “Neneng” Montaño*** Rosell Morales*** Victor Nuñez *** Joel Parcon*** Ronnie Perante*** Fernando “Ranny” Razon*** Alejandro “Bong” Reblando*** Napoleon Salaysay*** Francisco “Ian” Subang Jr.*** Andres “Andy” Teodoro*** Daniel Tiamzon *** Ismael Pasigna*** Desiderio “Jessie” Camangyan*** Jovelito Agustin*** Nestor Bedolido Miguel “Mike” Belen***

Saksi Mindanaoan News, dxCP / Ampatuan, Maguindanao News Focus / Ampatuan, Maguindanao UNTV / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Pronterra News / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Gold Star Daily / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Periodico Ini / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Manila Bulletin, Reuters / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Clear View Gazette / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Socsksargen Today / Ampatuan, Maguindanao Mindanao Inquirer, People’s Forum / Ampatuan, Maguindanao UNTV / Ampatuan, Maguindanao B- 96 FM / Labason, Zamboanga del Norte Sunrise FM / Manay, Davao Oriental dzJC / Laoag City, Ilocos Norte Mt. Apo Current, Kastigador / Digos City, Davao del Sur dwEB / Nabua, Camarines Sur

ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM Region IX Region XI Region I Region XI Region V

Legend: * - with conviction ** - dismissal *** - on trial **** - archived (A) - acquittal 

About the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

T

HE FORMATION of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) addresses one of the critical concerns confronting the Philippines after People Power toppled the Marcos dictatorship in February 1986. That concern calls attention to the power of the media and the role of the free press in the development of Philippine democracy. All over the world, press freedom has been found to be essential to the democratic system. Effective participatory government is possible only when it can count on a well-informed society where individuals freely exchange ideas, where public debate and discussion arise from knowledge and understanding of national affairs. That freedom involves not only media professionals, but also the public served by the media—public officials, the private sector, civil society groups, readers, viewers and listeners—who receive information and are part of the cycle of public communication. But freedom of the press, like all liberties, has its limits, for the simple reason that it is vulnerable to abuse. Democratic recovery confronts serious obstacles on the media front. The press and the media need to exert special efforts to measure up as a collective vehicle of information, as an instrument for clarifying complex issues and dilemmas of development that the public should understand. Against this background, CMFR was organized in 1989 as a private, non-stock, non-profit organization involving the different sectors of society. Its programs uphold press freedom, promote responsible journalism and encourage journalistic excellence. For more information about CMFR, visit http://www.cmfr-phil.org.