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Philippine Press Freedom Report 2011

Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility: Philippine Press Freedom Report 2011 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.

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 Dean Jose Manuel I. Diokno Melanie Y. Pinlac Bryant L. Macale Kathryn Roja G. Raymundo John Reiner M. Antiquerra Fernando R. Cabigao Jr. Lara Q. de Jesus Writers/Editorial assistants Lito Ocampo Photos Design Plus Cover and layout design

The campaign against impunity On the legal front: justice delayed No substantial improvement Threats, libel suits, and other forms of harassment in 2011 The developing culture of social media Self-regulation: is it working? Combating impunity: eight urgent proposals By Dean Jose Manuel I. Diokno CMFR database on the killing of journalists/media workers since 1986 1 11 21 47 53 61 67

DESPITE THE change in administrationfrom that of Gloria Macapagal Arroyos sham respect for press freedom and its actual contempt for it, to that of Benigno Aquino III, among whose promises during the presidential campaign of 2010 was the protection of press freedom and support for the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill that has long been awaiting passagepress freedom and free expression are still under siege in the Philippines. A number of laws applicable to mass media, among them those on libel, inciting to sedition and obscenity, have been used to harass and silence journalists. The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, despite demands for its reorganization, remains a threat to free expression because of its power to censor films and even prevent their exhibition. And as of this writing, an FOI law acceptable to both the press as well as the public had yet to pass Congress. But it is the killing of journalists, which despite the Constitutional protection for press freedom and free expression is still continuing, that is the most serious threat to the Philippine press, and hence to the democracy of which it is an indispensable pillar. In 2011, six journalists were killed in the line of duty in the Philippines, despite the pledge of the Aquino administration to stop the killings by seeing to it that the killers of journalists and the masterminds behind them are tried and punished. This number compares to four in 2010. There is little consolation in the decline in the number of journalists killed, given the 32 slain in 2009, the suspected killers and masterminds of which are undergoing a trial that could take decades to conclude. And yet, the speedy resolution of that casethe worst in the history of the Philippine press and very likely the worst incident of its kind in the worldis vital to the prevention of further killings. The failure to resolve it quickly and credibly can only further reinforce the culture of impunity. Equally important in putting an end to the culture of impunity, however, is the need to address the harassments and threats that escalated in number in 2011, of which the filing of numerous libel suits against community journalists and the burning of a radio station in Occidental Mindoro were especially disturbing.

Putting a stop to both the killing of journalists as well the harassment and threats, which for some reason local officials and policemen seem to have become the means of choice to silence press criticism, is the urgent task of the press community itself. That community, with the support of civil society and of lawyers committed to the defense of free expression, has discharged that task across many fronts, among others by enhancing public awareness of the costs of the killings not only on the press but even more crucially on society, and by itself taking the initiative in the prosecution of the suspected killers of journalists. But the defense of the press, as part of its duty to protect the entire citizenry, is even more the responsibility of an administration that has repeatedly pledged to protect press freedom, if Philippine democracy is to be the living reality of which it claims to be the steward.

The campaign against impunity

The Legal Front: Justice Delayed 1 On the legal front:Onjustice delayed

THE TRIALS of the alleged masterminds and killers in the killing of journalists and media workers in the Philippines continued to move at a snails pace in 2011. The same weaknesses of the judiciary that have been primarily responsible for the culture of impunity continue to hamper the progress of the media murder cases that are in courts. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) has recorded 73 counts of murder in the courts since 1986 (including 31 counts of murder in the Ampatuan Massacre). Only 10 of the 73 murder cases have resulted in convictions. The convictions were of the gunmen and accomplices; no mastermind has been convicted.

StatuS of work-related caSeS in court On trial Archived With convictions Dismissed and acquitted

Murder count 47 7 10 9

(Note: A murder case may be included in more than two statuses.)

Bail hearings
Many active cases in the killing of journalists were still hearing petitions for bail as 2011 was ending, with the alleged killers of broadcasters Desiderio Jessie Camangyan, Crispin Perez, Miguel Belen, and some of the 196 accused in the Ampatuan Massacre case asking the courts for temporary freedom. In the Ampatuan Massacre trial, the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Quezon City Branch 221 has been hearing bail petitions for almost two years. The prosecution presented around 70 witnesses in opposing the bail petitions of at least 48 accused including primary suspect Andal Unsay Ampatuan Jr. The hearings on Unsays bail petition was first heard Jan. 5, 2010, when the Department of Justice (DOJ) was still conducting its preliminary investigation for the other accused. His petition was supposedly submitted for resolution in January 2011. But Unsays lawyers have asked the court for a chance to present rebuttal evidence


against the prosecutions evidence and the witnesses it had presented in opposing their clients application for bail. Although all evidence presented in the consolidated hearings will be part of the prosecutions evidence, the actual hearings on the merits of the case have yet to resume pending resolution of the applications for bail. (Bail hearings are held on Wednesdays and Thursdays; other motions are heard on Mondays.) Some of the accused have proposed holding separate hearings for each petition. But the court has consolidated all pending bail petitions instead to save time and resources. AMPATuAN MASSACrE NuMBErS (as of December 2011) Total counts of murder Total number of accused Number of detained accused Number of arraigned accused Detained, but not yet arraigned accused Accused still at large 57 (Including 31 counts for media victims) 196 96 64 32 100

The Ampatuan Massacre: the unending battle

The legal battle against the alleged perpetrators of the Ampatuan Massacre is not solely being waged before Branch 221 of RTC Quezon City. Since Nov. 26, 2009, other petitions and cases have also been filed before the DOJ (petitions for review), the Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals (CA) (certiorari and inhibition), and other RTCs (habeas corpus and certiorari). Last June 17, the DOJ denied the separate petitions for review filed by Saudi and Sajid Islam Ampatuan questioning the resolution finding probable cause to include them in the multiple murder case. Signed by DOJ USec. Leah Armamento, the decision said there is no cogent reason to deviate from, modify or reverse the assailed joint resolution, which is in accord with law and pertinent jurisprudence. It also added that respondents-appellants twin defense of denial and alibi are negative self-serving defenses that do not deserve as much weight in law as positive and affirmative testimonies.

On The Legal Front: Justice Delayed

Both Saudi and Sajid Islam asked the DOJ to drop their names from the list of accused in the multiple murder case, saying the evidence against them were incompetent and mere fabrications. They also questioned the testimonies of Rasul Sangki and Kenny Dalandag who had identified them as present either during the Nov. 22, 2009 meeting during which the Ampatuans and their supporters allegedly planned the Nov. 23, 2009 killing, or at the checkpoint in Ampatuan town, Maguindanao on the day of the massacre. Saudi remains at-large as of this writing. Sajid Islam has filed a petition for bail but has yet to be arraigned.

Some positive developments

Despite the glacial pace of the multiple murder case, however, in 2011 there were nevertheless a few positive developments in the search for justice for the 58 victims of the Ampatuan Massacre. The separate petitions for certiorari filed by two primary suspectsformer Maguindanao governor Andal Ampatuan Sr. and former Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) governor Zaldy Ampatuanin 2010 were dismissed by the appellate court. These petitions for certiorari had prevented RTC Quezon City Branch 221 from arraigning the principal accused perpetrators. The CAs Special 11th Division also dismissed Andal Sr.s petition for certiorari and supplemental petition last Jan. 31, while the same CA Division dismissed Zaldys last Nov. 8. The appellate court also ruled that Andal Sr. had fully availed of, and was amply afforded, the right to ventilate his case. Andal Sr., through his counsels, filed a petition for certiorari questioning his inclusion in the list of those charged with multiple murder for the killing of 57 persons. (Only 57 counts of murder were filed in court as the body of the 58th victim, Midland Review staff Reynaldo Bebot Momay, is still missing.) He claimed that former acting Justice Sec. Alberto Agra committed grave abuse of discretion when the latter upheld the results of the preliminary investigation finding probable cause to file multiple murder charges against him on April 16, 2010.


Meanwhile, in its Nov. 8 decision, the appellate court dismissed Zaldys amended petition for certiorari questioning his reinstatement as an accused in the multiple murder case. Rule 65 of the Rules of Court states that any aggrieved person can file a petition for certiorari when any tribunal, board, or officer exercising judicial or quasijudicial functions has acted without or in excess of its or his jurisdiction, or with grave abuse of discretion amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction, and there is no appeal, or any plain, speedy, and adequate remedy in the ordinary course of law. The appellate court ruled that the DOJ acted within the bounds of its jurisdiction when it gave more weight to the positive declaration of the prosecution witness Abdul Talusan y Ogalingan over the defense of denial and alibi by Petitioner (Zaldy). It added that: the DOJ has ample latitude of discretion in the determination of what constitutes sufficient evidence to establish probable cause for the prosecution of supposed offenders. Talusans testimony was submitted by private prosecutors in asking Agra to reconsider his April 16, 2010 decision to remove Zaldy and his uncle Akmad Tato from the list of accused perpetrators of the Ampatuan Massacre. Agra reversed his April 16, 2010 decision on May 5, 2010.

Esperat murder
Meanwhile, the case against the alleged masterminds in the killing of another journalist has also been delayed by petitions for certiorari. The hearings on the murder case against alleged masterminds Osmea Montaer and Estrella Sabay in the killing of Marlene Esperat have been on hold for three years pending the resolution of their petition for certiorari before the Cagayan de Oro (Mindanao station) Court of Appeals. Montaer and Sabay filed on May 21, 2009 a petition for certiorari against RTC Tacurong City Branch 20, the DOJ and Valmie Garcia Mariveles (sister of Marlene Esperat), claiming that grave abuse of discretion was committed in the denial of their motion to dismiss the charges against them. They also questioned the issuance of a warrant for their arrest by the Tacurong City RTC. The CA Mindanao station issued in December 2009 a temporary restraining order prohibiting the lower court from hearing the murder case as well as the law enforcement agencies from serving the arrest warrant. By then, the Supreme Court had ordered

On The Legal Front: Justice Delayed

the case transferred to the Makati RTC Branch 138 upon the request of the Esperat family. Almost two years after issuing the temporary restraining order, last Aug. 19, the CA Mindanao Station 21st Division denied the alleged masterminds petition for certiorari on the argument that it constituted forum shopping. Forum shopping refers to the act of filing the same suit in different courts. It is an act of malpractice that is proscribed and condemned as trifling with the courts and abusing their processes. (Buan v. Lopez, L-75349, Oct 13, 1986, 145 SCRA 38 qtd., in Moreno p. 391) The petitioners claim of grave abusein the issuance of the arrest warrant was also found to be baseless. The language of the Order clearly shows that the respondent judge made his own personal determination of the existence of probable cause by examining not only the prosecutors report but also his supporting evidence, said the Court. However, the denial of the alleged masterminds petition for certiorari has yet to be finalized, and the arrest of Montaer and Sabay has yet to happen. Last Sept. 5, both filed a motion for reconsideration. The Makati RTC Branch 138 therefore denied last Nov. 18 the prosecutions motion for the reissuance of an alias warrant of arrest. The DOJ first filed the murder case against Montaer and Sabay in February 2008 at the Cebu City RTC, where the case against the killers of Esperat was prosecuted. However, due to their petition for a restraining order, the case was withdrawn and then re-filed before the Tacurong City RTC in October 2008. The two accused questioned the jurisdiction of the Cebu City RTC to hear a criminal case on an incident that happened in Tacurong City in a petition for certiorari before CA Cebu (Visayas). In August 2009, the case was transferred to Makati City RTC upon the request of the Esperat family.

Meanwhile, the family and colleagues of slain dyPR broadcaster Fernando Dong Batul expressed disappointment when Puerto Princesa City RTC Branch 95 Judge Bienvenido Blancaflor acquitted former policeman Aaron Golifardo for the 2006 murder of the broadcaster. The decision was promulgated April 11.


Blancaflor said in his decision that the testimonies of some prosecution witnesses were incredible and not believable. He also doubted the intentions of the prosecution witnesses, citing the reward money they received from Puerto Princesa Mayor Edward Hagedorn and former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes. (E)ach witness received monetary reward after they executed their respective affidavits pointing to accused Aaron Golifardo as one of the gunmen, said Blancaflor. He also said Golifardo has substantiated (his innocence) by (presenting) clear and convincing evidence as to the truth of his statements in court, including why he flew to Manila a few hours after the shooting of Batul. Batul was on his way to work when two unidentified men shot him on May 22, 2006. According to his colleagues, Batul was reporting alleged anomalies at the Puerto Princesa City Public Employment and Services Office (PESO) at the time of the killing. PESO facilitated the deployment of workers to Taiwan.

Threatening witnesses
Threats and harassments against witnesses and the relatives of slain journalists continued in 2011. For example, the witnesses in the case against PO2 Darwin Quimoyog for the murder of broadcaster-lawyer Crispin Perez reported receiving threatening text messages. Perez was killed in June 2009 in front of his home in San Jose, Occidental Mindoro. Witnesses identified Quimoyog as the gunman; and the motorcycle used to escape the crime scene was also traced to him. Quimoyog was a bodyguard of local politician Jose Villarosa, now mayor of San Jose. The case against Quimoyog was transferred from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro to Lipa City in August 2010 on the request of widow-eyewitness Irene Perez, who justified the request by citing the political connections of the accused and the threats against her and other witnesses. Out of concern for the safety of the witnesses and the private prosecutors, the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists (FFFJ) requested the transfer of the case against another police officer who allegedly shot dead Desiderio Camangyan from Mati City, Davao Oriental to Cebu City, Cebu. Like Quimoyog, the alleged gunman, PO1 Dennis Lumikid, was a security escort for a local politician who had been the subject of Camangyans commentaries. FFFJ also cited an alleged confrontation between the local

On The Legal Front: Justice Delayed

police and Witness Protection Program security personnel who were protecting the widow and children of Camangyan. The widow and her son witnessed the incident. The Supreme Court partially granted the request last June 8, and ordered the Mati RTC to transfer the records of the case to the Davao City RTC instead of Cebu City.

Action needed
The delays in the trials and investigation of the killing of journalists and media workers need to be addressed. As early as August 2010, and even before President Benigno Aquino III was elected, press freedom advocacy groups and journalists organizations had already proposed possible reforms in the judiciary, including a review of the Rules of Courts (Criminal Procedure). No such review took place in 2011. At least one lawyers group has asked for the reform of the antiquated Rules of Court which have contributed to the slow progress of the cases against the killers of journalists and those responsible for extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations.


naMe of date of killjournaliSt/Media ing worker 2001-Jan-03 Rolando Ureta 2003-May-17 2004-Nov-15 Apolinario Polly" Pobeda Herson Hinolan StatuS Defense is presenting evidence at the Cebu City RTC Branch 16 Trial ongoing at the Lucena RTC Branch 53 Defense is presenting evidence at the Cebu City RTC Branch 16. Accused former Lezo town mayor Alfredo Arcenio filed a petition for certiorari after court denied his motion for reconsideration of his bail petition Hearings at the Makati RTC Branch 138 are on hold pending motion for reconsideration of the denial of the alleged masterminds petition for certiorari at the CA Mindanao station

1 2 3


Marlene Esperat


naMe of date of killjournaliSt/Media ing worker 2005-May-10 Philip Agustin

StatuS Case against other accused was archived at the Manila RTC Branch 6, while case against former Mayor Jaime Ylarde was dismissed in 2008 Prosecution is presenting witnesses at the Lucena RTC Branch 59 Trial ongoing at the Roxas City, Capiz RTC Branch 17 Case archived at the Makati RTC Branch 139 as accused former Police Insp. Redempto Boy Acharon is still at-large Prosecution is presenting evidence at the Cebu City RTC Branch 17 Prosecution is presenting evidence at the Cebu City RTC Branch 17 The Lipa City RTC Branch 85 is hearing bail petition of accused PO2 Darwin Quimoyog A murder case has been filed in Lianga, Surigao del Sur The Quezon City RTC Branch 221 is still hearing bail petitions A murder case has been filed in Labason, Zambonga del Norte The Davao City RTC Branch 14 is hearing bail petition of accused PO1 Dennis Lumikid Case against alleged gunman Leonardo Banaag Jr. was transferred to the San Fernando, La Union RTC from the Laoag City RTC Branch 12 (Supreme Court granted request of Agustins family to transfer venue) The Iriga City RTC Branch 60 is hearing petition for bail of accused Erik Vargas Case against alleged gunman is being heard at the Puerto Princesa RTC Branch 52
On The Legal Front: Justice Delayed 9

6 7 8

2008-June-30 2008-Aug-7 2008-Aug-9

Fausto Bert" Sison Martin Roxas Dennis Cuesta


Arecio Padrigao Ernesto Rollin Crispin Perez

10 2009-Feb-23 11 2009-June-9

12 2009-July-27 13 2009-Nov-23

Godofredo Linao Ampatuan Massacre (31 counts of murder) Ismael Pasigna Desiderio Jessie" Camangyan Jovelito Agustin

14 2009-Dec-24 15 2010-June-14

16 2010-June-16

17 2010-July-31

Miguel Mike Belen

18 2011-Jan-24

Gerardo Doc Gerry Ortega

No substantial improvement
No Substantial improvement 11

MANY THOUGHT the election of President Benigno Aquino III would set in motion reforms to end the spate of killings, and the impunity that has allowed and encouraged them and other attacks on journalists. But after 18 months in office, Aquino has so far failed to fulfill his pledge to stop the killings and hold murderers accountable.

In 2011, the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) recorded six work-related murders, bringing the total number of journalists killed in the line of duty under Aquino to seven, and the total since 1986 to 124. The last killing in 2011 involved a publisher in Bohol province. Antonio Tony Silagon, publisher of Bohol Balita Daily News, was shot by unidentified men last Dec. 15 near his home in Dao village, Trinidad City. Before Silagon, radio blocktimer Roy Quijada Gallego was killed along a national highway in Lianga town, Surigao del Sur last Oct. 14. (A blocktimer is a practitioner who buys blocks of radio time for a program for which he solicits or has solicited sponsors.) Gallego, known as Datu Bagtikan in his Manobo tribe, hosted a blocktime program supposedly supported by the Bayanihan (cooperative endeavor) Council of Datus (BACODA). According to dxSF radio station manager Max Tutor, Gallego was the president of BACODA in Caraga (Region XIII) at the time of killing. Police Insp. Joy Allan Blasco of Lianga Police Station told CMFR that Gallegos commentaries and his involvement with an organization for the protection of the rights of lumad (indigenous) people may have been the reasons for his murder.

Only one murder case, that against the suspected gunman in the killing of Palawan broadcaster and environmentalist Gerardo Doc Gerry Ortega (Jan. 24), was filed in 2011. Meanwhile, a new panel of prosecutors was formed by Department of Justice (DOJ) Sec. Leila de Lima to reinvestigate the murder charges against the alleged masterminds



behind the killing of Ortega, former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes and former Marinduque Gov. Bong Carreon, Coron, Palawan Mayor Mario Reyes Jr., lawyer Romeo Seratubias, Arturo Regalado, and Percival Lecias. De Lima ordered the reinvestigation last Sept. 7 after the first panel of investigating prosecutors upheld its earlier dismissal of the case against Reyes, Carreon, Mayor Reyes, Seratubias, Regalado and Lecias. The earlier panel of prosecutors dismissed the charges against Reyes and five other suspects for lack of sufficient evidence last June 8, while it found probable cause against the gunman and his accomplices. Ortegas widow filed a motion for partial reconsideration and another motion to re-open the preliminary investigation. In her Department Order No. 710, De Lima said the creation of the new panel to address the offer of additional evidence by the complainants, which was denied by the former panel in its Resolution of 2 September 2011. However, Gov. Reyes questioned De Limas order in a petition for certiorari and prohibition filed before the Court of Appeals in Manila last Oct. 3. Reyes through his counsels alleged that De Lima, new panel members Assistant State Prosecutors Stewart Allan Mariano, Vilmar Barcellano and Gerard Gaerlan, and widow Patria committed grave abuse of discretion. Reyes argued in his 40-page petition that the purpose of the reinvestigationto afford the parties due process and give them the opportunity to present their evidencewas already accomplished by the preliminary investigation conducted by the original panel of prosecutors composed of Senior Assistant State Prosecutor Dayog and Assistant State Prosecutors Cacha and Medina. Reyes also said the additional evidence sought to be addressed by the reinvestigation was already laid before and passed upon by the panel of prosecutors on (Patrias) motions for reconsideration of its resolution. He added that the reinvestigation aims at nothing but to persecute (Reyes), who had already undergone the rigors and anxiety of the preliminary investigation of IS No. IV-INQ-11A-00005. I.S. No. IV-17-INQ-11A-00005, titled Patria Gloria A. Inocencio Ortega vs. Romeo Seratubias, et al, refers to the murder complaint filed by widow Patria Ortega against Reyes and nine others. Other cases in the preliminary investigation stage are the murders of Marlina Sumera (March 24) and Niel Jimena (Aug. 22).

No Substantial improvement


No suspects
Meanwhile, as 2011 ended, the police had yet to identify the suspects in the June 13 killing of dwEB radio anchor Romeo Olea in Camarines Sur. Olea was the second dwEB staff killed during the Aquino administration. The first was dwEB volunteer reporter Miguel Belen. (Belen was on his way home on July 9, 2010 when a gunman shot him in Nabua, Camarines Sur. The Iriga City Regional Trial Court Branch 60 is still hearing the petition for bail filed by the alleged gunman.)

reign of impunity
The continuing killings and the failure to prosecute the cases under Aquino is worrying, said national and international media organizations. Has the Aquino administration surrendered even before the battle has begun? Is it that self-fulfilling prophecy thats driving the Aquino governments inability and apparent unwillingness to take the steps necessary to dismantle the culture of impunity so as to stop the killings that since 1986 have made widows, widowers and orphans of hundreds of Filipinos, local media organizations said in a pooled editorial last Nov. 23. except for increasing the budget of the Witness Protection Program and reforming the National Prosecution Services, the Aquino administration has taken almost none of the steps agreed upon in the August 2010 meeting between media advocacy and journalists organizations and his communication group and the (DOJ) as necessary to stop the killings, the pooled editorial said. In an August 2010 meeting at Malacaang, media groups like the Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists and the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines suggested policy options the Aquino government may want to adopt to give teeth to its commitment to end the killing of journalists in the Philippines. Some of the suggestions were: strengthening of the Witness Protection Program, rehabilitating the criminal investigation arms of law enforcement agencies, organizing multi-sectoral Quick Response Teams, and reviewing existing Rules of Court that have been used and abused to delay the prosecution of cases and court proceedings in general.



During his campaign, and in the first months of his administration in 2010, President Benigno Aquino III expressed support for the access to information bills pending in Congress. In 2011 the administration drafted its own version, several provisions of which were unacceptable to the media and lawyers groups supporting the passage of a Freedom of Information (FOI) law. Aquino apparently had the administration version drafted because the advocates version had provisions disadvantageous to the government and subject to abuse. The President ordered the creation of a committee to review and revise the bill based on consultations with government agencies and advocates. Below is an article discussing the progress of FOI legistlation in 2011. A longer version of this article can be found in the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibilitys A Policy Briefing Paper: Freedom of Information. (http://www.scribd.com/ doc/77089882/FOI-Policy-Briefing-Paper/)


At the end of 2011, there were 12 FOI bills pending in the Senate and another 12 in the House of Representatives. The Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media held two hearings on the bills in 2011. House Deputy Speaker Lorenzo Erin Taada III (4th District, Quezon) authored House Bill (HB) No. 53, which adopted in full the bicameral conference committee version of the 14th Congress. Other representatives and senators also filed the same version. The House held a committee hearing and a technical working group (TWG) meeting for the consolidation of the measure. Taada submitted a version consolidating his bill with those of Reps. Marcelino Teodoro (HB 22), Juan Edgardo Angara (HB 86), Rachel Marguerite Del Mar (HB 1968), Sergio Apostol (HB 1713), Winston Castelo (HB 2128), and Karlo Alexei Nograles (HB 59).

No Substantial improvement


Despite these actions by Congress, the bill was still stalled in the committee on public information of both Houses in the year under review. The delay in the legislative process can partly be attributed to the refusal of the executive branch to include the FOI bill in the list of its priority legislative measures. Aquino created an inter-agency team to study the FOI issue in 2011. Aquino said in his July 2011 speech at the 25th anniversary of The Philippine Star, a daily newspaper, that: My administration is in the process of drafting, and suggesting, a Freedom of Information bill that we believe will balance legitimate needs for secrecy with the publics right to know. This right to know carries with it responsibilitiesto use the information available in context; to present facts fairly; and to be conscious of some elements who may want to use the information not to inform the public, but to, rather, inflame them. We are carefully studying the details of such legislation in order to ensure that it serves the public interest without compromising it. (Delivered at the Makati Shangri-La Hotel last July 28; http://www.gov.ph/2011/07/28/president-aquinos-speech-at-the-25thanniversary-of-the-philippine-star-july-28-2011/) USec. Manuel Quezon III of the Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office earlier revealed that the administration had issues with the Taada FOI bill. Instead of supporting the Taada version, Malacaang drafted a version proposing non-disclosure of certain types of information through the following exceptions: Section 6 a.2: Exceptions The information requested pertains to the foreign affairs of the Republic of the Philippines, when its revelation shall/may unduly weaken the negotiating position of the government in an ongoing bilateral or multilateral negotiation Section 6d: Exceptions The information requested consists of drafts of orders, resolutions, decisions, memoranda or audit reports by any executive, administrative, regulatory, constitutional, judicial or quasi-judicial body in the exercise of their regulatory, audit and adjudicatory function.



Section 6b: Exceptions The records of minutes and advice given and opinions expressed during decision-making or policy formulation as part of the Chief Executives deliberative process. Once policy has been formulated and decisions made, minutes and research data may be made available for disclosure unless it is made in executive session. Section 6e: Exceptions The information requested is obtained by any committee of either House of Congress in executive session. Section 6g: Exceptions The information requested pertains to trade secrets and commercial or financial information obtained from a natural or juridical person other than the requesting party, obtained in confidence or covered in privileged communication, and/or filed with a government agency, whenever the revelation thereof would seriously prejudice the interests of such natural or juridical person in trade, industrial, financial or commercial competition. Section 6f: Exceptions The information requested pertains to the personal information of a natural person other than the requesting party, and its disclosure would constitute a clearly unwarranted invasion of his or her personal privacy, unless it forms part of a public record, or the person is or was an official of a government agency and the information relates to his or her public function or the person has consented to the disclosure of the information. Section 11: Additional Protection of Privacy While providing for access to information in public records, this Act also affords full protection of the right to privacy of individuals The administration bill also proposed the inclusion of Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRRs): Section 29: implementing rules and regulations Within ninety (90) days from the appointment of the members of the Commission, the Commission shall promulgate implementing rules and regulations to effectively implement the provisions of this Act.

No Substantial improvement


The Palace version also replaced national defense as an exception in the Tanada version with national security: Section 6a.1: Exceptions The information directly relates to national security or defense and its revelation may cause grave damage to the national security or internal and external defense of the State The same version also proposed the creation of an Information Commission: Section 15: Creation of an information Commission There is hereby created an independent Information Commission, which shall enjoy fiscal autonomy. Its approved annual appropriations shall be automatically and regularly released. Section 16: Composition of the Commission The Commission shall be composed of a Chairman and two commissioners who shall be natural-born citizens of the Philippines and, at the time of their appointment, at least thirty-five years of age, with proven competence, probity and integrity, and has not been a candidate for any elective position within two (2) years prior to appointment; provided, that the Chairman shall be a member of the Philippine Bar with at least ten years experience in the practice of law and with known expertise on the right to information. The Chairman and commissioners shall be appointed by the President of the Philippines for a term of six (6) years without reappointment. Of those first appointed, the Chairman shall hold office for three years, and the last commissioner for two years, without reappointment. The Palace also replaced criminal penalties for violations of the proposed law to administrative sanctions, except in cases of destroying documents or perjury. Section 12: Administrative Liability The acts enumerated in this Section shall be tantamount to gross neglect of duty and shall constitute grounds for administrative and disciplinary sanction against any public official or employee who willfully and knowingly commits the following:



a) Refusal to promptly forward the request under Section 22 of this Act to the public officer within the same office or agency responsible for officially acting on the request when such is the direct cause of the failure to disclose the information within the periods required by this Act; b) Failure to act on the request within the periods required by this Act; c) Refusal to comply with the decision of his immediate supervisor, the Commission or of any court ordering the release of information; d) Approval of policies, rules and regulations manifestly contrary to the provisions of this Act, and which policies, rules and regulations are the direct cause of the denial of a request for information. Section 13: Criminal Liability a) Any public official or employee who falsely denies or conceals the existence of information mandated for disclosure under this Act shall be liable for the crime of removal, concealment or destruction of documents as defined under Article 226 of the Revised Penal Code. With the non-inclusion of the FOI bill in the second Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council (LEDAC) in 2011, citizens groups and other advocates asked Congress to take the lead. The Right to Know, Right Now! Coalition launched its latest campaign called Bantay FOI, Sulong FOI to push the Aquino administration to pass the bill.

BusinessWorld quoted committee chair Sen. Gregorio Gringo Honasan II as saying that Even if it (FOI Bill) was not endorsed by the President as urgent or priority, the bill would still be pursued (Freedom of Information bill still alive in Senate, Aug. 18, http://www.bworld.com.ph/content.php?section=Nation&title=Freedom-ofInformation-bill-still-alive-in-Senate&id=36805) InterAksyon quoted Taada: In the end, the House leadership will have to make a decision if it wants to pass the FOI bill. (FOI passage still possible if lawmakers work for it Taada, Aug. 17, http://www.interaksyon.org/article/11134/foi-passage-stillpossible-if-lawmakers-work-for-it---tanada)

No Substantial improvement


After months in limbo, and a whole year of uncertainty, a revised Malacaang version of an FOI bill will be filed before Congress, USec. Quezon announced on Jan.5, 2012.



Threats, libel suits, and Threats, Libel Suits, and Other Forms of harassment in 2011 other forms of harassment in2011 21

IN 2010, the incoming administration of President Benigno Aquino III promised to stop the killing of journalists and to protect their rights. In the second year of the Aquino administration, however, not only the killing of journalists, but also the threats, libel suits and other forms of harassment against journalists that were characteristic of the Arroyo administration continued. Some of the slain journalists and media workers in the Philippines were receiving threats in connection with their reports on illegal activities and government officials wrongdoing in their localities before they were killed. The number of journalists killed has declined, but there has been an increase in the number of threats against Filipino broadcasters and journalists in 2011. Media organizations and journalists groups have since called on authorities to monitor such threats against media practitioners and to take them seriously. Meanwhile, libel is still a criminal offense in the Philippines, and has been used by government officials and other powerful personalities to harass and threaten media practitioners and journalists to stop them from reporting matters of public interest. The filing of libel suits against journalists in order to silence them may be said to have been encouraged by then presidential spouse Jose Miguel Arroyo, who, from 2003 to 2006, filed 11 libel charges against 46 journalists. To stop him from filing more libel charges against media practitioners and for his abuse of power, 36 journalists together with the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR), the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, and the Manila broadsheet The Daily Tribune filed a P12.5 million (approximately USD248,011) class suit against him on Dec. 26, 2006. Arroyo eventually withdrew his libel suits, but the effect of his actions continues to have an impact on the work of journalists, both in terms of libel suits as well as other forms of harassment and even physical assaults, which were occurring with disturbing frequency in 2011.

Among the threats and forms of harassment reported by journalists in 2011 were the following:



Threatened for reporting illegal numbers games

Last Jan. 24, a General Santos City-based radio station received threats allegedly for its continuous and scathing comments against the proliferation of an illegal numbers game called Last Two in the city. Popular in the southern Philippines, Last Two is a numbers game based on the results of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office lottery. Anchor Jordan Britos received a threat over the stations mobile hotline number while hosting his show RMN Balita: At Your Service. The message read, Baka may magsunod sa inyo sa pinatay na si Dennis Cuesta (You might suffer the same fate as slain Dennis Cuesta). RMN program director Cuesta was killed on Aug. 4, 2008 in General Santos City. The alleged gunman, former Police Insp. Redempto Acharon, is still at large. In a Jan. 27 report published by the Philippine Daily Inquirer, another program host at RMN-General Santos City, Bong Gonzales, said that the management had advised its reporters to temporarily stop on-air discussion of Last Two.

Threatened over corruption stories

Last Feb. 9, journalists George Hubierna, Nelson Bolos, and Paul Gonzales reported to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) that they have been receiving death threats since January after they reported alleged irregularities in the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX) project. Hubierna, a reporter for Manila-based tabloids Peoples Journal and Peoples Tonight said he received a threatening text message last Jan. 8, the same day his newspaper published his story on the resignation of then Gerona town police chief Supt. Calixto Bamba. Bamba allegedly resigned over a conflict with the town mayor on the implementation of Republic Act No. 8794 against overloaded delivery trucks carrying quarry materials through TPLEX. Kung ikaw si Gorge Hubierna mag-ingat ka na di mo kilala tinalo mo (If you are George Hubierna, you should be careful. You dont know who youre
Threats, Libel Suits, and Other Forms of harassment in 2011 23

dealing with), read a text message sent to Hubierna last Jan. 8 through mobile number +639997430975. Bolos, the researcher of Hubierna for his stories on the alleged quarry scam, also received a message from a former Gerona municipal official last Jan. 10: Pare identify nakasama ka sa pagpapadyario (sa quarry). Usapan mga bata nonoy (Youve been identified...publishing stories about the quarry). Bolos also wrote about the controversies in the construction of the TPLEX in his Tarlac Headline News columns. The publisher and editor in chief of Tarlac Headline News, Paul Gonzales, also received death threats last Jan. 24 and 26 warning him to stop publishing stories with Bolos. Paul gonzales tignan natin tapang nyo ni bolos gago kau (Lets see how brave you and Bolos are. Youre both fools), read the Jan. 24 message to Gonzales. The number used to send this threat (+639497759315) was also used last Jan. 22 and 27 to threaten Hubierna. The Jan. 27, threat sent to Hubierna read: Gago ka talaga! tignan natin kung may magagawa si bamba sa iyo (Youre really a fool. Lets see if Bamba can do anything for you). Last Feb. 7, Bolos received a report that two shady characters were looking for him and Hubierna. The two unidentified men allegedly had both their photos.

Threatened for reporting illegal fishing

Last Feb. 21, Armand Reyes of radio station dwCL 93.1 Skyradio based in Ligao City said he was threatened with harm by Jose Marcelo Bumanglag, husband of Oas, Albay Councilor Maria Melanie Flordeliza Bumanglag. In a phone interview with CMFR last Feb. 28, Reyes said he and colleague Jun Villar were going for snacks near the Albay Capitol Annex building when Bumanglag, while driving his van, told him Masuwerte ka, kasama si Boss Jun (Villar) kung hindi laglag ka (Youre lucky Jun Villar was with you. Otherwise, you would have gotten it)!



Reyes initially thought that Bumanglag was referring to Villar but realized that Bumanglag was pointing at him. Villar allegedly works for another local government official in Albay. Bumanglag denied last March 4 that he threatened Reyes. He told CMFR he only greeted Villar when they met that day. Bumanglag said he only told Villar that Reyes was lucky he was with the former. He also said he never calls Villar Boss. Reyes also said he received a text message last Feb. 3 supposedly from someone working for Bumanglag. According to Reyes, the sender of the text message asked if he was challenging Boss Mars (allegedly referring to Jose Marcelo Bumanglag) in his radio program Walang Personalan, Trabaho Lang (Nothing Personal, Its just a Job). The sender also told Reyes in another message that if he were man enough, he would face Bumanglag. Bumanglag, said to be among the subjects of Reyess reports on illegal fishing, however, told CMFR that Reyes habitually insults him over his radio program. Bumanglag said Reyes is an aide of Oas, Albay Mayor Gregorio Ricarte. Reyes denied this allegation and has filed a complaint with the local police, while Bumanglag said he is preparing a libel suit against Reyes.

Threatened over smuggling reports

Cagayan de Oro City radio broadcaster Jun Albino of Magnum Music and News Radio 99.9 FM said he received threatening text messages last May 14 and 17. Albino first received a message on his mobile phone at around 6:51 a.m. of May 14 saying, Mr. Albino undangi ng pg mbstga ky BGKAS kng gsto kpa mo abt sa pista IBULAG namo imng ulo s imng LAWAS (Mr. Albino, stop talking about Bigcas if you still want to attend the festival, or we might cut your head off). CMFR kept getting a busy signal when it tried to call the mobile number (+639333203705) used in sending the threat. Albino is the general manager of the radio station, for which he also anchors the news and commentary program Jun Albino Live aired Monday to Saturday at 6:15 a.m.

Threats, Libel Suits, and Other Forms of harassment in 2011


BGKAS allegedly referred to Lynard Allan Bigcas, who had been the subject of Albinos commentaries when he began receiving the threats. Albino was talking about the alleged smuggling activities of Bigcas. The broadcaster also interviewed Bigcas after the latters press conference last May 13. Albino received another threatening SMS last May 17 at around 7:01 a.m.. The message, sent through the number +639499775758, read: Albino yawa kayo kang dako. Mahayan nemo tanan nemong pag daog daog. Sayang ka! ABB (Albino, you demon. We wont let your abuse pass ABB). ABB is an acronym used by the Alex Boncayao Brigade, a breakaway group of the New Peoples Army. Albino was unsure if the second message was related to the first threat. Im not sure as other people may have been riding on the issue (threat mentioning Bigcas), the broadcaster said.

Broadcaster warned
DxMS-Cotabato City broadcaster Vern Simon reported that his friends from a military intelligence unit warned him of his possible assassination. On the evening of June 1, a group of men who identified themselves as members of the intelligence unit of the Marine Battalion Landing Team under the leadership of a certain Capt. Rey Torres came to the office of the Church-run radio station dxMS looking for Simon to warn him of an alleged plan to kill him. They said someone had already been hired to do so. Simon was not in the office at that time, but the message was relayed to him by a co-worker.

Threatened while on air

Anchor Abner Francisco of dxCA Charm Radio in Kidapawan City received a threat for his ongoing commentary on the arrest of a murder suspect, a certain Roberto Celis Jr., last June 27. A woman who identified herself as Eva Benjamin called dxCA Charm Radio during the program and said she would send armed men to the station if he did not stop commenting on the arrest of Celis. A staff member of dxCA received



the call and warned Francisco. Benjamin is said to be Celiss mother and a member of a rich family in the city. In his radio program Pulso ng Bayan (Pulse of the Nation), Francisco had been talking about Celis since his June 26 arrest for allegedly killing the son of a retired police officer. He allegedly said that the influence, wealth and power of Celiss family in the community enabled him to freely roam the city despite a warrant of arrest issued against him four years ago. Benjamin allegedly told the dxCA staff that she did not like how Francisco had been verbally attacking her son. However, Malu Manar of the NUJP Kidapawan City Chapter said that when Francisco tried to verify if the caller was indeed Benjamin, her other son, identified as Viloria denied that it was his mother who had called the station and threatened Francisco. Manar told CMFR in a phone interview that the family of Celis has close ties with the top police and army officials in the area. In the same week, another journalist from Mindanao allegedly received a threat while on air. Erin Lumosbog, anchor of RPN 9s dxKT Radyo Ronda (Roving Radio) in Davao City, said he received a threat after criticizing a police captain.

Another radio anchor threatened while on air

Ronnie Waniwan, anchor and program director of dxCO Radyo Asenso (Progress Radio), in Cagayan de Oro City, said he had been receiving threatening text messages and calls since July 14. Waniwan told CMFR that he received a call last July 20 from an unidentified person telling him (his) time will come. Most of the threats were sent during his news and commentary programs Lampornas (Morning) and Bulgaranay (Noontime). The unidentified perpetrators used the mobile numbers +639497516667 and +639393192981 to send the threats.

Threats, Libel Suits, and Other Forms of harassment in 2011


One of the text messages read: Putang ina m ikaw d i c waniwan ayaw nlng og gawas sab lay nu ky gkuhaan kna namo og datos (Youre a son of a bitch, Waniwan. Be on the watch when you are out. Weve already gathered information about you). Another message said: Akon g gipalihok ang mga krml sa datos mo (I have released your data to criminals). CMFR tried calling the mobile numbers but was unable to speak to anyone. One number appeared to have been already disconnected. CMFRs calls to +639393192981 were not answered. In a phone interview with CMFR, Waniwan said he was unsure who were sending the threats, but that he believed them to be connected to local political issues he had been discussing over his two programs. But, said Waniwan, It would be unfair to name certain politicians as I really dont know who have been threatening me.

Threatened after harassment

Reporter Ronald Agbaya of dwTI-Lucena City, Quezon began receiving death threats after he reported that Quezon Metropolitan Water District (QMWD) General Manager Enrico Pasumbal had verbally harassed him. Agbaya charged Pasumbal with oral defamation at the City Prosecutors Office last Nov. 11. Agbaya told CMFR that he filed the charges against the QMWD official after he received threats via text messages from different numbers that he said could be related to what occurred between him and Pasumbal. Some of the text messages read: Kpag d u tumigil e may pupuntahan k (If you dont stop you would not like where you will end up) and Kaibigan, manahimik ka na at la ka alalahanin sa grupo (Friend, shut up and you will have nothing to worry about). CMFR tried to call the numbers used in the text messages but failed to connect. An administrative case against Pasumbal was also filed by NUJP Quezon Chapter.



TV reporter warned of plot to kill him

Rodge Cultura, a field reporter of ABS-CBN, told CMFR last Nov. 25 that an alleged gun-for-hire told his brother about the alleged assassination plot last Nov. 22. The gunman is a friend of Culturas brother. Cultura said the gun-for-hire was offered P50,000 (approximately USD1,138) but declined after learning who the target was. But the alleged gun-for-hire warned his brother that somebody else might have already accepted the offer. Last Nov. 23, Cultura said he noticed a man on board a motorcycle who seemed to be waiting for him. He said he became suspicious after the man suddenly stopped and made a U-turn as if to wait for him to pass by. This prompted him to make a U-turn and flee. He reported the matter to the TV network and to the police authorities. The police will now provide him a security escort with ABS-CBN shouldering part of the expenses. Cultura had been reporting on illegal logging in Butuan City which is allegedly a major transit point for illegally-cut timber. The reporter said his stories called the attention of local authorities to the illegal activities of the big player connected with government officials. Kahit may log ban na po, hindi po sumusunod yung mga big player dito (Even when theres a log ban here, the big players are not complying), Cultura added.

Unidentified men kidnapped the daughter of Louie Larroza of dyEC radio last Sept. 15. The girl was released unharmed after eight hours, but the kidnappers were able to evade arrest. Larroza said the abduction of his daughter could have been a warning for (him) to stop (his) broadcasts on corruption and other illegal activities in the province. Redempto Anda, Inquirer correspondent and NUJP Palawan Chapter chairperson, told CMFR that the police had located Larrozas daughter by tracing the signal of the girls mobile phone. The police immediately set up checkpoints around Bancao village where the signal was traced.

Threats, Libel Suits, and Other Forms of harassment in 2011


Anda said the abductors released the broadcasters daughter around 6 p.m. He added that the kidnappers made no ransom demand on the family. Anda said Larroza had been receiving threats that his family would be harmed if he continued his commentaries. Larroza took a leave of absence after the incident, Anda added.

Libel suits
Several journalists were arrested for libel in 2011. A correspondent of a Mindanao-based newspaper was arrested on the strength of libel charges last March 4 at his home in Indahag village, Cagayan de Oro City. Edgardo Ed Maliza, a correspondent of the Gold Star Daily, is facing a libel charge for allegedly maligning former Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) regional director and now USec. Ernesto Adobo in two articles published in the now defunct Azilam Review in 2009. The case was filed before the Cagayan de Oro City Regional Trial Court (RTC) in March 2010. Maliza was the publisher-editor of the Azilam Review. The articles, published in the July 9-15, 2009 and Aug. 27 and Sept. 2, 2009 issues of the Azilam Review, were on the alleged failure of Adobo to take action on anomalous transactions in the regional DENR office. Maliza told CMFR that he reported the alleged misuse of a Certificate of Lumber Origin (CLO) issued by the Community Environment and Natural Resources Officer (CENRO) to a certain businessman from Butuan City. Maliza alleged that the CLO was used to transfer lumber that was not allowed by the certificate. The police released Maliza the same day after the he posted bail of P10,000 (approximately USD231). Asked why he was arrested a year after the filing of the charge against him, Maliza explained that he filed a motion for reconsideration on the resolution of the local prosecutors office. However, Maliza claimed that the prosecutor failed to act on his motion.



Maliza said he believed that the suit and his arrest were in response to his recent reports on the allegedly corrupt activities by members of the Cagayan de Oro City police. Meanwhile, dxRJ broadcaster Albert Loyola was arrested on libel charges last April 18 in Iligan City, Lanao del Norte. Police arrested Loyola at around 11 a.m. on the strength of a March 28 warrant issued by the Branch 3 of the Iligan City RTC in connection with one of two libel cases filed by Councilor Chonilo Ruiz. Iligan City RTC Branch 5, which oversees the other libel case filed by Ruiz, has yet to issue a warrant of arrest. Loyolas lawyer, Ver Quimco, said the councilor also filed a civil defamation case against Loyola and dxRJ. The libel cases stemmed from Loyolas report on the alleged misappropriation of funds by the local city council. In 2010, Loyola allegedly called Ruiz a liar after the latter said he used a P14-million committee services budget for the snacks of those who attended the councils committee hearings. Quimco told CMFR that Loyola said that no snacks were served when he attended committee hearings. Loyola was released only April 19 despite posting bail of P10,000 (approximately USD232) on April 18. The Inquirer last April 19 quoted Loyola as saying that I am determined to face the cases filed by Councilor Ruiz so that the truth will come out. Loyolas media colleagues say the case is meant to harass the broadcaster and claimed that prior to the filing of the libel cases, Councilor Ruiz had physically attacked the broadcaster. NUJP Iligan City Chapter reported that Ruiz mauled Loyola inside the dxRJ radio booth in January 2010. In a statement dated Jan. 10, 2010 Loyola told NUJP that the councilor was irked by his saying that Ruiz lied about using part of his budget for committee services (to serve) meals during public hearings. Loyola filed a frustrated homicide case against Ruiz in connection with the January 2010 incident. Last October 2010, the Regional Prosecutor of Region X

Threats, Libel Suits, and Other Forms of harassment in 2011


reversed the April 2010 resolution of the Office of the Prosecutor of Iligan City finding probable cause for frustrated murder, and ordered the filing of a lower charge of slight physical injuries against Ruiz.

The editor in chief and four other staff of the Manila-based Newsbreak were summoned for arraignment by an Ilocos Sur court in connection with a libel case filed by a former provincial governor. Vigan City RTC Branch 21 Judge Cecilia Corazon Dulay-Archog in a July 1 order set the arraignment of Newsbreaks editor-in-chief Marites Daguilan-Vitug, board member Maan Hontiveros, deputy editor Gemma Bagayaua, and fellows Lala Rimando and Aries Rufo last Sept. 13 for libel filed by Ilocos Sur Gov. Chavit Singson in 2006. The libel case stemmed from several reports in Newsbreaks June 2005 issue which referred to Singson as the second gentleman and discussed his alleged involvement in illegal gambling and smuggling activities. Some of these reports were also published in the Newsbreak website. In an Aug. 8 report, Newsbreak said the arraignment order came out despite a resolution by the Department of Justice (DOJ) junking the libel complaint and setting aside the original prosecutors resolution finding probable cause against the accused. Singson claimed that Newsbreak intentionally maligned him in public and caused him dishonor, discredit and contempt. According to a July 6, 2010 Newsbreak report, Singson said the reports were foul by all standards of decency and was an attempt to depict him as a cad and a scoundrel worthy of contempt and derision. However, Vitug and her staff said in their counter-affidavits, as also reported by Newsbreak last Aug. 8, that the articles were not defamatory because they tackled the conduct of a public official whose acts may be the subject of public discussion in media. They also affirmed that the articles contained qualified privileged communication because they were a fair commentary on a matter of public interest.



Meanwhile, other libel complaints against journalists were dismissed in 2011.

Dismissed for lack of probable cause

A provincial prosecutor dismissed last Jan. 18 a libel complaint filed by a government employee against a columnist and the editors of a local newspaper in Catanduanes. The libel complaint filed by Rommel Valeza, a utility worker at the Office of the Provincial Governor, against columnist Mel Rima of the now defunct local weekly The Island Times, publisher Jocelyn Mendiola-Buena and editor-in-chief Ramil Soliveres was dismissed for lack of probable cause. According to the resolution penned by 2nd Assistant Provincial Prosecutor Joan Mosatalla, Valeza failed to prove that he was the one described in Rimas article. There is a lack of sufficient evidence to establish probable cause that the said utility worker referred to in the article and the complainant are one and the same person, the prosecutor said. The complaint stemmed from Rimas October 2010 column on the alleged sexual exploits of a certain utility worker in the capitol (Touching the Untouchable). The column alleged this utility worker, described by Lima as impakto (ghoul) has been sending erotic text messages to job applicants. Valeza claimed in his December 2010 complaint that he was the utility worker mentioned in Rimas column. He said he was the only worker called impakto at the Catanduanes capitol. The prosecutor, however, said that the use of impakto and utility worker cannot sufficiently establish that Rima was referring to Valeza in his October 2010 column.

Prosecutor dismisses libel case

A prosecutor dismissed a libel complaint against a columnist and staff member of a regional newspaper in San Fernando City, Pampanga. Last June 16, Assistant
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City Prosecutor Nereo Dela Cruz issued a seven-page resolution recommending the dismissal for lack of merit of the libel complaint filed by Renato Romero against Punto! Central Luzons columnist Caesar Lacson, editor Joey Aguilar, general manager Gener Endona, marketing manager Joanna Nina Cordero and publisher LLL Trimedia Coordinators. Dela Cruz added that the complainant failed to present the necessary evidence to secure conviction. The prosecutor said Lacsons commentary was part of his right to reply and can be considered as part of the freedom of expression of its author as the columnist was only replying to Romero. Romero, president of the Pampanga Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PamCham) filed the libel complaint, claiming that Punto! Central Luzon and Lacson, published on Dec. 1, 2010 an article on the PamChams concern over the results of the search for the Most Outstanding Kampampangan Award (MOKA) 2010 with the sole intention of attacking his virtue as a person. The Dec. 1, 2010 column criticized Romero for seeking clarifications from the MOKA committee on why the 2010 winner was not a member of the business sector. Lacson claimed in his counter-affidavit that his commentary constituted fair comment. The article Romero Ululating is actually a rejoinder to the banner headline story Sector: Why no biz awardee in MOKA? in the Dec. 14, 2010 issue of Sun.Star Pampanga, Lacson said. As it constituted personal opinion in reaction to a publicized issue, I deemed it likewise merited a space in my Zona Libre column in the Dec. 17-18, 2010 issue of Punto!, Lacson said.

Libel charges against publisher and columnist dismissed

A local court in Metro Manila dismissed a libel suit against a columnist and the publisher of a national daily last March 31. The order was released last April 15. In an order penned by Judge Rosa Samson, Branch 104 of the Quezon City RTC reversed its earlier decision denying the motion to quash the libel charges filed by a National Press Club (NPC) member against Tribune publisher Ninez Cacho-Olivares and columnist Louie Logarta, saying that the Information filed was fatally defective.



The court said, The Information did not specifically allege, and the Court cannot thus conclude, that at the time the supposed offending article was first printed and published, the private complainant was residing in Quezon City. In his motion for reconsideration, Logarta said the court lacked jurisdiction, citing Article 360 of the Revised Penal Code. Article 360 reads: The criminal and civil action for damages in cases of written defamations as provided for in this chapter, shall be filed simultaneously or separately with the court of first instance of the province or city where the libelous article is printed and first published or where any of the offended parties actually resides at the time of the commission of the offense. Lysander Garcia, NPC member and writer for the NPC Digest, filed the libel case in 2007 one year after the allegedly libelous article was published in Tribune. Logarta, in his June 8, 2006 column Blurbal Thrust identified Garcia as one of those who allegedly raided the executive offices of the NPC with the objective of stealing cash, checks, documents and other valuables. The raid was allegedly instigated by paid goons of a group that lost in the NPC elections on Feb. 24, 2006. On Oct. 19, 2009, the court denied the motions to quash, saying that these were mere reiterations of the arguments which were already adequately passed upon and discussed in the assailed order, and the court finds no cogent reason to reverse its ruling.

Libel against editor and publisher dismissed

The Baguio City RTC dismissed a libel suit against Baguio Midland Courier editor-in-chief Cecil Afable and publisher Charles Hamada last Aug. 1. In a 13-page decision, Branch 61 Judge Antonio C. Reyes acquitted Afable and Hamada of the libel charges after the complainant failed to prove that one of the papers editorials was defamatory, malicious and identified the supposed victim. Afable and Hamada were sued on Feb. 7, 2006 by then Baguio City Budget Officer Leticia Clemente for a Jan. 29, 2006 Baguio Midland Courier editorial that

Threats, Libel Suits, and Other Forms of harassment in 2011


described a lady finance officer who could accommodate two romances at the same time. Clemente claimed that she was the lady finance officer being described. Pablito Sanidad, lawyer of Afable and Hamada, in an interview with CMFR said that after pending for five years all charges against Afable and Hamada were dismissed on the grounds that the statement was not libelous since it was not defamatory, it had no malicious intent, and it did not identify the supposed victim. The court said in its Aug. 1 decision that since it is not defamatory then logically, the presumption of malice was overcome.

Police officer denies access to broadcaster
Senior Supt. Ramon Balauag, an intelligence officer of the Philippine National Police (PNP), allegedly prevented dzMMs Johnny Glorioso in Quezon province last Jan. 5 from covering a story following the arrest of alleged members of the New Peoples Army (NPA). The NPA has been in rebellion against the Philippine government since 1969. Balauag allegedly pushed Glorioso out of his office at the PNP provincial headquarters (Camp Nakar) in Quezon. Glorioso was at Camp Nakar to do a follow up story on the arrest of alleged members of the NPA Southern Command. The NPA is the guerilla army of the Communist Party of the Philippines. In a phone interview with CMFR, Glorioso said he was on his way to interview Balauag about the identity of the government employee caught with the NPA commander. At Balauags office, he saw the suspect, while handcuffed and blindfolded, being held in one of the rooms with two policemen guarding him. Glorioso entered the office to go to Balauags room, but Balauag held him by the shoulders and led him outside. The reporter said that he felt extreme pain on his left shoulder, which was frozen due to a stroke he had suffered earlier. When they reached the lobby, Glorioso asked the police officer to release him. He also asked why the alleged NPA rebel was blindfolded. Balauag answered that



it was part of their standard operating procedure. The police officer then called security and told them not to let any reporter into the office. Glorioso reported the maltreatment of the NPA suspect to the PNP Quezon provincial director and media organizations. Last Jan. 10, Region VI police regional director Chief Supt. Samuel Pagdilao relieved Balauag from his post and transferred him to the regional police office in Canlubang, Laguna while they looked into the harassment complaint. In the evening of Jan. 10, the Quezon provincial police chief Senior Supt. Ericson Velazquez initiated a meeting between Balauag and Glorioso. Glorioso told CMFR that Balauag apologized to him during the meeting. Balauag allegedly said he had no intention of hurting Glorioso, and was just tired.

Attack on journalists continue

In Metro Manila, local police allegedly tried to prohibit members of an alternative media group from covering a demolition in Corazon de Jesus village in the city of San Juan last Jan. 26. Lady Ann Salem and Godson Escopete, members of Tudla Productions Group Inc., were taking video footage of the negotiations between village leaders and the demolition team when a policeman demanded that they leave the premises. Tudla is an alternative film and media collective based in Manila. Pa-midya midya pa kayo dyan. Part din naman kayo ng community (You are saying youre from the media but you are part of the community), the policeman allegedly told Salem and Escopete. In a Jan. 27 interview with CMFR, Salem said the police insisted that they leave despite their showing them their press IDs. Prior to the Jan. 26 incident, police had arrested Escopete last Jan. 25 while he was taking footage at the site, thinking that he was one of the residents refusing to leave the contested land. Police released him 30 minutes after colleagues reiterated that he was a member of the media.

Threats, Libel Suits, and Other Forms of harassment in 2011


The demolition turned violent last Jan. 25 as police and informal settlers clashed in a confrontation. The government of San Juan City had chosen the contested land, which houses at least 50 families, as the site for its new city hall. At least 40 individuals were reported hurt. President Aquino immediately ordered an investigation of the incident.

Anti-drug agent threatens television news team

An agent of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) who admitted being irked by critical coverage of his agency, allegedly threatened a television news team covering the arrest of a drug trafficking suspect last March 1 in General Santos City. The incident happened while the news team of the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Company was at the PDEA Region XII office in General Santos City to conduct interviews on the joint raid carried out by the PDEA and the Sarangani provincial police in Maitum town, Sarangani. Reporter Jay Dayupay said a certain Special Investigator 2 Raymund Parama tried to stop cameraman Randy Estrella from taking footage of the alleged suspect arrested in the raid. Parama allegedly told the cameraman in Filipino, If that ever gets aired, you better watch out. Dayupay asked the PDEA agent why he was being hostile. The PDEA agent allegedly answered: Binibira ninyo kasi kami sa huli naming sa Silway (You have been criticizing us (PDEA) about the arrest of alleged drug traffickers in Silway, General Santos City). Dayupay told CMFR last March 7 that the PDEA agent was allegedly irked over an ABS-CBN report on the complaints of the residents of Silway, General Santos City on another PDEA raid. The residents alleged that the PDEA agents did not coordinate with village officials, were intoxicated during the raid, and were indiscriminate in arresting people. PDEA Region XII spokesperson Wilson Esparcia told the ABS-CBN news team that the PDEA agents were demoralized by the networks story on the Silway residents complaints, Dayupay said.



Dayupay and Estrella have reported the incident to the General Santos City polices Investigation, Detection, and Management Section (IDMS). Dayupay said the local chapter of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (Association of Broadcasters of the Philippines, KBP) and PDEA officials met last March 7 to discuss the incident and other instances of alleged PDEA harassment against media practitioners in the Sarangani and General Santos area.

Reporter alleges harassment by former anti-drugs chief

Rey Pasaporte, reporter of radio dyDD and correspondent of Banat (Hit) News, filed a complaint against a former director of the governments anti-drug trafficking agency in Cebu for allegedly harassing him. Pasaporte alleged that former PDEA Region VII (PDEA-7) chief Adrian Alvarino threatened him over a report he wrote about the former directors alleged involvement in the release of a suspected drug lord. (Alvarino gipabawnag P800 mil (Alvarino given P800 thousand)?, Sept. 24) In an affidavit dated Oct. 6 filed before the Office of the Ombudsman in the Visayas, Pasaporte claimed that Alvarino threatened to get back at him for his Sept. 24 report. Pasaporte called Alvarino last Sept. 24 immediately after learning from his editor at Banat News that the latter might file libel charges over his report. Pasaporte had written in his report that a text message from a concerned citizen said that Alvarino was involved in a payoff for the release of suspected drug pusher Yongyong Villaceran. Villaceran was arrested by PDEA-7 agents but was later released after allegedly paying P800,000 (USD18,522). Pasaporte said in his affidavit that he and other reporters had gone to the PDEA-7 Regional Office to interview Alvarino, but was told the latter did not want to be interviewed. He was furious when the report came out, but I tried to get his reaction before it was published, Pasaporte told CMFR. Pasaporte added that Alvarino asked if he believed the text message he received, saying that the alleged pay-off happened when he was no longer PDEA-7 Director. Alvarino allegedly told him: Ito na lang. Tandaan mo yan Rey ha, babalikan kita diyan (Remember this Rey, Ill get back at you). Pasaporte hung up, but al-

Threats, Libel Suits, and Other Forms of harassment in 2011


legedly received a text message from Alvarino saying, Pasensyahan na tayo (You will be sorry).

Physical assaults
Community newspaper editor attacked
The publisher-editor of the Iloilo City community newspaper The Daily Guardian suffered a head injury when he was attacked in the evening of Jan. 26. Lemuel Fernandez was about to get inside his car in front of his newspapers office when an unidentified man hit him from behind with a blunt object. Local police told the Inquirer last Jan. 28 that the attack on Fernandez might have been work-related. His (Fernandez) newspaper tackles very sensitive issues and it is not remote that they have aggrieved some people, Western Visayas regional police director Chief Supt. Cipriano Querol told The Daily Guardian last Feb. 5. Querol has ordered the creation of Task Force Guardian to investigate the incident. In the same article, Fernandez said he saw the still unidentified attacker and another man seemingly waiting for someone in front of his newspapers office that night.

Journalists allege manhandling by US envoys escorts and military hospital guards

Journalists covering the turnover of donations by the US Embassy to a military hospital in Quezon City said they were manhandled by the US envoys escorts and by hospital guards in March 2011. According to a March 30 report by InterAksyon, the journalists were approaching Ambassador Harry Thomas Jr. for an interview when his security escorts and the guards of the V. Luna Medical Center, a military hospital, pushed them aside and stopped them from taking video footage. Cameraman Benje Judan of TV5 told InterAksyon that some security escorts tried to cover the lens of his video camera as his colleague was trying to interview



Thomas. Eddie Mendoza, TV5s assistant cameraman, was allegedly also struck on the neck. Members of the Defense Press Corps (DPC) said that Thomas escorts grabbed the chest of a female reporter interviewing Thomas. DPC president and Inquirer reporter Dona Pazzibugan-Porcalla told InterAksyon that the group found no reason for the manhandling as the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), which has authority over the hospital, and the US Embassy had granted them permission to cover the event and interview the US Ambassador to the Philippines. AFP spokesperson Lt. Commander Jerome Rommel Ochoco, apologized for the incident and promised action to prevent similar incidents. Last March 31, the DPC wrote to Thomas expressing concern over the harassment. Your aides were rude and physically threatening. While we understand that your escorts were merely performing their duties, some of their actions were absolutely unnecessary. We hope that our next encounter will not be as stressful, said the DPC. Without addressing the complaint, US Embassy spokesperson Rebecca Thompson said in a statement that, The US ambassadors security team performed its prime function for the security of all. They respect the importance of an open and free media and they know that members of the media equally respect the importance of personal security for all.

TV reporters hurt during demolition

Two TV reporters were hurt while covering a confrontation between local authorities and informal settlers during the demolition of the latters homes in Makati City last April 28. ABS-CBN 2 correspondent Niko Baua and TV5 reporter Rommel Lopez were injured during the confrontation at the Laperal Compound in Guadalupe Viejo, Makati. Baua and other reporters were covering the demolition when some irate resi-

Threats, Libel Suits, and Other Forms of harassment in 2011


dents started throwing rocks at the Makati City demolition team. The site of the Laperal Compound was declared a danger zone after a fire last April 19. The Makati government asked the residents to leave the site by 2:30 p.m. of April 28. The local government, Baua reported, promised to give financial assistance of P3,000 to P5,000 (approximately USD70 to USD116) and to transfer the residents to relocation sites in the nearby provinces of Bulacan and Laguna. Our camera cables got burned after it was hit by a Molotov bomb that is why our coverage was cut in a moment. A smoke bomb landed in front of our OB van; the crew cab windshield was also broken. I was taking photos when I was hit by rocks, Baua told CMFR last April 29. Baua decided to continue with his live report after receiving first aid.

Radio station bombing

Unidentified men threw homemade explosives at a government-run radio station in Tabuk City, Kalinga last May 24. The attack is believed to be in retaliation for the stations reports and commentaries on the proliferation of the illegal numbers game known as jueteng in the province. Around 1 a.m., three unidentified men riding in a van threw four gasolinefilled plastic containers at the radio station compound. Three of the four explosives exploded and caused a fire which the guards on duty and the station technician managed to put out. The Tabuk police have yet to identify any suspects. Jerome Tabanganay, local radio broadcaster of dzRK Radyo ng Bayan (The Nations Radio) told CMFR in a May 27 interview that the men may have intended to destroy the radios office and equipment to stop its reports on jueteng operations. Although illegal, jueteng is popular in many Philippine communities and is usually run by local operators. They wanted to silence us, Tabanganay said in Filipino. Tabanganay has been criticizing the police and other local authorities for the



resumption of the illegal numbers game in his news and commentary program Agenda which is aired twice daily (6-7 a.m. and 1-2 p.m.). This is the second attack on the dzRK Radyo ng Bayan and their employees. Five days after the May 2010 polls, a gunman chased Tabanganay inside the radio station compound and shot him four times in the legs. Tabanganay had been receiving death threats since he began criticizing local politicians. The alleged gunman in that incident is facing a frustrated murder case at a local court. Hearings will begin in June 2011.

Broadcaster claims governor attacked him

Tabanganay was also attacked and threatened by the governor of Kalinga province last June 7. Around 1 p.m., Gov. Jocel Baac and 10 armed men barged into the radio booth of the government-run dzRK Radyo ng Bayan and mauled him while he was still on the air. Tabanganay said he sustained a wound on his lips after Baac allegedly hit him with a microphone. Baac also threatened to kill him, Tabanganay told CMFR in a June 9 interview. The attack was recorded on video as Tabanganays program Agenda is streamed live online. Baac, however, denied hitting and threatening Tabanganay in an interview with the Inquirer. Baac told the Inquirer that he only tried to grab the microphone and take it from its stand. The microphone might have hit him in the process. The governor added that: I only wanted him to stop talking because while I was there, he was calling on other members of his tribe to come to his rescue. Tabanganay said Baac was angered by his commentary that the governor (whom he did not name in the report) had reprimanded the dzRK station manager for letting other news agencies report the May 24 bombing attack on dzRK (see Radio bombing on page 42). The governor allegedly scolded the station manager during a Kapihan (a discussion over coffee between government officials and the media) last June 6 because he feared that the report would negatively affect tourism in his province.

Threats, Libel Suits, and Other Forms of harassment in 2011


Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Sec. Herminio Coloma condemned Batacs alleged attack on Tabanganay in a June 9 statement. The PCOO oversees the operations of the Philippine Broadcasting Services of which Radyo ng Bayan is a part. Coloma said that We are requesting DILG (Department of Interior and Local Government) Sec. Jesse Robredo to initiate appropriate procedures for making Governor Baac accountable for his disruptive behavior. We reaffirm our commitment to protect the responsible exercise of freedom of expression by broadcasters and journalists. DILG has launched an investigation into the alleged attack on Tabanganay.

Radio broadcaster wounded in ambush

Two men riding in tandem on a motorcycle shot and wounded James Michael Bombo James Licuanan, a reporter and anchor at Bombo Radyo Cagayan de Oro, on his way home from anchoring his evening program Zona Libre last Nov. 24. Licuanan was shot a kilometer away from his office. Senior Supt. Gerardo Rosales, Cagayan de Oro City police director, told CMFR in a text message last Nov. 25 that the bullet hit the broadcaster in the left buttock and passed through his abdomen. Licuanan is now in stable condition after undergoing an operation. Bombo Radyo Cagayan de Oro station manager Celso Maldecer told CMFR that on the night of the attack, a suspicious-looking man went to the radio station and watched Licuanan conduct his program. The man left minutes before the program ended without approaching Licuanan. Police are looking into the mans connection to the attack, Maldecer said. Maldecer said police has yet to identify the perpetrators. But police already have an artists sketch of the man seen in the radio station. Rosales said local police have created a special investigation task force to look deeper into the shooting of Licuanan. The ambush might be related to Licuanans commentaries, Rosales said.



Maldecer said Licuanan had been discussing the arrest of a Sammy Yusop by PDEA agents. Yusop was arrested for carrying 1.5 kilos of methamphetamine hydrochloride (estimated to cost P20 million or USD458,000). Maldecer and Licuanans other colleagues did not know that the broadcaster previously received a threatening text message. Ngayon lang po namin nalaman sa kanya, sabi niya may text message daw siyang natanggap na pinagbabantaan siya four months ago pero pinagwalang-bahala niya lang (He just told us now, he said that he received a threatening text message four months ago but he did not pay any attention to it), Maldecer told CMFR.

Threats, Libel Suits, and Other Forms of harassment in 2011


The developing culture The Developing Culture Of Social Media 47 of social media

MAJOR EVENTS and issues in 2011 showed how influential social media are in the Philippines. Online posts, discussions, and debates had turned into news headlines overnight. Stories such as Willing Willie and the boy Jan-jan, Mideo Cruz Poleteismo (Polytheism) exhibit, and Christopher Laos driving into a flooded Quezon City street demonstrate the need to learn about and understand the role of digital and social media in society.

The rise of social media

The explosion in social media use cannot be ignored. The Yahoo!-Nielsen Net Index 2011 reported that among online activities like search, email, reading news, or playing games, visiting social networking sites is in the lead (82 percent, an increase of 29 percent from 2010 figures). The study also reported that social networking is a starting point for the online experience for many and a dominant platform to connect and communicate. Andreas Kaplan and Michael Haenlein, authors of Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media, have defined social media as a group of Internet-based applications that build on the ideological and technological foundations of Web 2.0, and that allow the creation and exchange of User Generated Content. Basically, they help Internet users exchange and facilitate information as well as interact collectively. Kaplan and Haenlein categorized social media into six types: collaborative projects (Wikipedia and Delicious), blogs (WordPress.com and Twitter), content communities (YouTube and Flickr), social networking sites (Facebook and MySpace), virtual game worlds, and virtual social worlds. According to Alexa, a web information company, the top websites in the country are social networking sites: Facebook (rank 1), YouTube (rank 4), Blogspot.com (rank 6), Wikipedia (rank 7), Twitter (rank 8), and WordPress.com (rank 10). (http://www. alexa.com/topsites/countries/PH) Digital marketing research company comScore Data Mine reported that in 2011 the Philippines ranked as the top market for Facebook with 92.9 percent of its online population visiting Facebook.com in February 2011. At present, the Philippines continues to hold the top spot for Facebook penetration and also ranks highest in share of time spent on social networking properties across the world, making it the most social



media-addicted market globally. Of the total time spent online in April 2011 by the Philippines online audience, 41.3 percent was spent in social networking sites. (http:// www.comscoredatamine.com/2011/06/the-philippines-spends-highest-share-of-timeon-social-networking-across-markets/) With Twitter penetration, the Philippines ranked ninth in reach with 16.1 percent. (http://www.comscore.com/Press_Events/Press_Releases/2011/4/The_Netherlands_ Ranks_number_one_Worldwide_in_Penetration_for_Twitter_and_LinkedIn) The online activity has become so popular that the Philippines has been tagged as the social networking capital of the world. (http://247wallst.com/2011/05/09/theten-nations-where-facebook-rules-the-internet/)

Good or bad
But because social media are relatively new, people including journalists have yet to appreciate their impact as well as utilize their full potential for sharing knowledge. Media organizations are not the only news and information providers anymore. With social media, just about anybody with access to the Internet can share stories, create conversations, and make an impact. Because interaction is built within the system, social media also check what news and media organizations report and produce. Filipinos, especially those who were in the affected areas, used social media to provide initial updates on the scale of damage and helped mobilize support and assistance to those affected by Tropical Storm Sendong (International code Washi), as they did during the massive flooding caused by Tropical Storm Ondoy (International code Ketsana) in Luzon in September 2009. This year, public criticism over a YouTube video caused a TV program to be suspended, major advertisers to withdraw support, and government to intervene. So many people were deeply offended by the sight of Jan-jan, a six-year old boy, miming adult sexual moves over a primetime variety show Willing Willie (March 12 episode). The audience applauded on cue, his relative was overjoyed at being called onstage and getting to hug celebrity host Willie Revillame for a quick P3,000, and then to take home more cash for the boys performance.

The Developing Culture Of Social Media


Government and religious officials, artists, experts, and civil society leaders condemned the incident calling it an act of child abuse. A Facebook group Para kay Jan-jan (Shame on you Willie Revillame!) campaigned to urge advertisers to pull out from the show as a sign of protest and asked TV networks to produce more quality entertainment. (TV, Willing Willie, The Public Sphere, Melinda Quintos de Jesus, PJR Reports May-June 2011) As much as there have been these positive results, social media have limits. Because just about anybody can share anything online, misinformation (incorrect and unreliable information) and disinformation (dissemination of misleading information) thrive on cyberspace. While social media promote engagement, participation, and feedback, they are open to abuse like any other mass communication tool. With the Internet came other activities known as trolling, flaming, astroturfing, and cyberbullying. It is very common to see comments that are inflammatory, irrelevant, and insulting. Sometimes exchanges even become hostile and life-threatening. This is what happened to motorist and University of the Philippines law student Christopher Lao. A segment of a GMA News report (Aug. 2) showed Lao driving his car into a flooded street in Quezon City. Reporter Jun Veneracion interviewed Lao just after he stepped out of his car and waded through the flood, which was so deep that his car stalled and floated. Laos statements during the interview caught the attention of social media users to the point where he made it to the Twitter trending topic, 8th worldwide and 4th in the Philippines at some point, as well as earning space in a number of Facebook pages. Lao was called names and ridiculed enough for GMA News to take down the video of Lao on their website and to release an apology. (Are there limits to social media use?, Kathryn Roja G. Raymundo, PJR Reports July-August 2011)

Need for new media literacy

The Lao incident confirms the need for a more educated public regarding the use of social media. These platforms provide richer means of exchange not possible in the old media. But as in all channels of communication, the impact on individuals and



groups and on society as a whole depends on the quality and level of responsibility of the messages of the users and providers. GMA News launched its Think Before You Click campaign to promote the responsible use of social media. It said in a statement: Power puts a great responsibility on the shoulders of those who wield it. Online everything is just a click away. And with one click, whether that be to post a tweet, a new status message on Facebook, or a tag on someones photo, we have as much power to tear down as we do to build up. So our proposal is simple, to think before you click. Think about the repercussions of what you are about to post. (Think before you click! GMA urges responsible tweeting, http:// www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/226420/scitech/think-before-you-click-gma-urges-responsible-tweeting)

Same rules apply

Social media have been integrated in the news cycle in the Philippines. Almost all major news organizations including journalists and media practitioners have accounts on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and maintain blogs. News and media organizations usually report trends and most popular stories online. The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines organized a forum on Journalism and Social Media last October 6 for news and media organizations to discuss how social media affected the practice of journalism. Social media have helped journalists find leads, gather and monitor news, and interact with their audience (readers, listeners, and viewers). But journalism is still a discipline, a processinformation published or aired is accurate and verified, journalists use a degree of judgment and analysis when doing stories, and most of all, it offers a broader explanation of issues and puts them in context. One thing remains constant in the digital age, the same journalism rules apply.

The Developing Culture Of Social Media


Self-regulation: is it working?
Self-Regulation: Is It Working? 53

THE PHILIPPINES has one of the freest presses in Asia, at least legally. The Philippine Constitution unequivocally declares in Article III, Section 4 that No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of the people peaceably to assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances. Self-regulation based on a high level of ethical compliance among practitioners is therefore not only the preferred means of press regulation; it is also the only permissible means. Some events in 2011, however, have cast doubts on whether the principle of selfregulation is viable in the Philippine press. The decision by the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (Association of Broadcasters of the Philippines, KBP) Standards Authority on the Aug. 23, 2010 hostage-taking incident was one particular incident.

KBP decision on the Aug. 23 hostage taking

On Aug. 23, 2010, Rolando Mendoza, a dismissed police officer who wanted to be reinstated, took hostage 25 tourists from Hong Kong and some Filipino staff who were in a tourist bus about to leave Manilas Fort Santiago for Luneta Park. The ensuing hostage drama lasted 11 hours and ended with nine individuals, including Mendoza, dead. The press, particularly broadcasting, has been partly blamed for the bloody outcome of the hostage-taking. The consensus from both the government and some media advocacy groups is that the ethical and professional lapses of some of the TV and radio stations during their coverage of the 11-hour crisis made the situation worse (Covering the Aug. 23 hostage taking: Media lapses invite state intervention, PJR Reports September-October 2010). The government, recognizing the existence of the self-regulatory mechanisms of the press, asked the KBP to investigate the broadcast medias ethical violations and to impose appropriate sanctions. The results of the KBP investigation, released in early 2011, validated this conclusion. The KBP imposed fines on member-networks for violating several provisions of the KBP Broadcast Code during their coverage of the hostage-taking incident. But the KBP also revised Article 6 (Crime and Crisis Situations) of its Broadcast Code to prevent media organizations from making the same mistakes they made during the Aug. 23 hostage-taking incident should something similar happen in the future.



The penalties KBP imposed did not seem to be commensurate to the wrongdoing. Although it was among its options, the KBP chose not to suspend erring broadcasters for the major ethical offense of interviewing Mendoza during the most crucial stages of the crisis. In the first place, the KBP decision, comparable to a mountains laboring to produce a mouse, had been almost a year in the making. Its Standards Authority also decided not to include GMA-7 Network Inc. (GMA-7) in its investigation because the network is not a KBP member. And yet GMA-7 committed some of the most egregious violations of the Broadcast Code, among them that of reporting police and SWAT team movements in the afternoon of Aug. 23, 2010. The KBP solution to this dilemma was to ask the government to get involved, in effect providing government a justification for media regulation in the name of self-regulation. The KBP actually suggested that the Office of the President, through the Office of the Executive Secretary, and with the assistance of the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC), support the KBP in establishing a system or mechanism by which the Broadcast Code is made to apply to all broadcast stations in the country, without exception, in the interest of promoting the principle of self-regulation (and accountability) in the countrys broadcast industry. The statement is beyond ironic. Media self-regulation means that media institutions themselves enforce ethical and professional standards among their members without intervention from the government or any other external agency. And yet here is the KBPone of the alleged mechanisms of self-regulation itself asking for government interventionand in the name of self-regulation. Although it does not have authority over non-members, there was nothing to stop KBP from reviewing and evaluating the performance of all broadcast media organizations, whether they were KBP members or not. ABS-CBN 2 paid the fine of P30,000 (about USD700) imposed on it for its lapses in the coverage of the Aug. 23 hostage taking, but neither agreed with, nor admitted any liability in connection with the KBP decision. On the other hand, TV5 appealed the decision, arguing that the police should have intervened in its coverage, again in effect arguing for government regulation by admitting its inability to itself decide, on

Self-Regulation: Is It Working?


the basis of media ethics and professional standards, how their reporters should have behaved. TV5 also argued that it was unfair that while it was being sanctioned, nonKBP members like GMA-7 get away unscathed no matter what it does. RMN similarly appealed the KBP decision, insisting that they had not violated any provisions of the broadcast code. GMA-7s withdrawal of membership from KBP has indeed prevented its being investigated by KBP and exempted it from whatever sanctions it may impose, in both the Aug. 23 hostage-taking incident as well as others. And yet the KBP could have looked into GMA-7s coverage despite its non-membership, and cited it for the lapses in its coverage without imposing such sanctions as fining it the paltry sum of P30,000. Non-KBP membership, as TV5 correctly argued, should not be a license for any media organization to commit ethical and professional lapses that help make things worse rather than better during crisis situations. KBPs dilemma underlined the need for it to review its policies as far as non-KBP members are concerned. It needs to affirm that it has the option to evaluate GMA-7s and other non-KBP members performance, if for no other reason than the fact that public interest requires it. Of equal concern for KBP, however, should have been the lesson it was imparting to both its members and non-members: If non-members can get away unscathed, as TV5 complained, what is to stop KBP members from taking the same path as GMA-7 of resigning their membership, and eventually scuttling the entire self-regulatory imperative in Philippine broadcast media?

right of reply bills

Questions that as a consequence have been raised over whether the press can regulate itself have invited attempts to influence press coverage through legislation. Pending in the current 15th Congress are at least three bills on the Right of Reply (ROR), which media advocacy and journalists groups oppose. The ROR bills would compel editors, publishers, and/or broadcast station managers to publish or broadcast the replies of persons or organizations to articleswhether opinion pieces or news itemsabout them.



In his version of a ROR bill, Camiguin Rep. Pedro Romualdo declares that the press community is unable to regulate itself. Presently (sic), existing media organizations cannot police their ranks particularly fly-by-night media practitioners that are mushrooming anywhere and are using their identity to harass, extort, malign, mortify, or discredit persons that are against their vested interests or would contravene their ill motives, says his bills explanatory note. In the explanatory note of his own bill, Davao City 1st District Rep. Karlo Nograles claims that In order to prevent abuses in the freedom of speech and the freedom of the press, it is imperative for a person to be provided with the right to reply to any allegations and criticisms thrown against him or her, especially those published or aired in the mass media. The penalties for failing or refusing to air or publish replies could be too stiff for many news organizations, especially those based in the communities. In his bill, Nograles proposed the following penalties, all of which are tantamount to abridging the freedom the Constitution guarantees the press: P10,000 for the first offense; P30,000 for the second offense; P50,000 and imprisonment for not more than 30 days for the fourth offense; and P200,000, imprisonment for not more than 30 days and the closure and suspension of the franchise of the publication or broadcast media outlet or station for 30 days for the fifth and succeeding offenses

Media ownership
Changes in ownership can make or break a media company. TV5 and RPN 9 are just among the few examples in history and recent years which demonstrate that media ownership is a crucial factor not only in the development of the media organization but also in the flow of information to the public. For TV5, the change in ownership and management has led to a rapid increase in the ratings of some of its programs, thus challenging the dominance in audience share of ABS-CBN 2 and GMA-7.

Self-Regulation: Is It Working?


ABC 5 has managed to position itself as a credible ABS-CBN 2 and GMA-7 competitor since Media Quest Holdings, Inc. owned by business tycoon Manny V. Pangilinan, acquired it. Now known as TV5, the television network quickly expanded to different platforms in less than five years under the new management. In 2011 alone, TV5 also managed to distribute internationally through Kapatid TV5 which it launched in sometime July. TV5 also entered into a blocktime agreement with government-managed television network IBC 13 to air national and international sports programs on primetime. IBC 13 now airs TV5s AKTV which carries sports programs and events including the recently concluded 26th Southeast Asian Games. Aside from these initiatives, TV5 also expanded its news thrust in different media platforms. On Feb. 21, AksyonTV, the news and sports channel of TV5, aired remote broadcasts from Cebu and Davao. TV5s news website InterAksyon was also simultaneously launched. GMA-7 followed suit. Its sister television channel QTV Channel 11 went off the air, but was re-launched as GMA-7 News TV in February 2011. The concept is not new in Philippine TV since ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) has been on air for 15 years. ANC, however, is only available on cable TV, while AksyonTV and GMA-7 News TV are on free TV and therefore accessible even to non-cable subscribers. TV5 and GMA-7 also launched their international news distribution network through Aksyon TV International and GMA-7 News TV International, respectively. To further expand its news reach, TV5 launched in November 2010 Radyo5 92.3 News FM, the only one with all news programs in the FM bandwidth. ABS-CBN 2 and GMA-7 had gone into radio, online, and international broadcast distribution long before TV5. But TV5s quick expansion has shown how changes in media ownership can lead to rapid changes in a networks audience share and reach. In contrast with what happened to TV5, the issue of ownership and other problems such as mismanagement and corruption have led to the virtual marginalization of



government-sequestered television stations RPN 9 and IBC 13 as far as audience share is concerned. RPN 9 was one of the leading stations in the country in terms of audience share when it was still privately run. Government sequestration after 1986 has led to claims of mismanagement, resulting in poor programming and a failure to update its aging equipment. Since the start of the post-Marcos era, several attempts have been made to reprivatize both networks. However, due to legal and financial issues, among others, these plans have been derailed. (http://www.pcij.org/stories/1998/media.html) Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Sec. Herminio Coloma recently revealed the revival of government plans to privatize RPN 9 and IBC 13. (http:// www.abs-cbnnews.com/business/03/01/11/govt-privatizing-rpn-9-ibc-13, March 3) Around 34 percent of RPN 9 shares are owned by Solar Television Network, Inc. which recently transferred the programming of ETC to Channel 9. The channel that ETC left was replaced by SOLARtvs TALKtv which airs canned US talk shows but which has promised to air news-related programs. In 2010, the Presidential Commission on Good Government under Chairman Camilo Sabio sold 3.6 hectares of land owned by IBC 13 in Quezon Citys Broadcast City. (http://www.manilastandardtoday.com/insideNews.htm?f=2011/may/5/news1. isx&d=2011/may/5, May 5) As noted earlier, TV5 has entered into a blocktime agreement with IBC 13. TV5 owner Manuel Pangilinan, however, said he is not interested in buying RPN 9 or IBC 13. San Miguel Corp., however, has expressed interest in joining the bidding for the two stations. (http://www.philstar.com/Article.aspx?articleId=663670&publicationSub CategoryId=66, March 7) Meanwhile, the Aquino administration, during the Legislative Executive Development Advisory Council last August, announced that it is pushing for the amendment of the charter of government-owned television station NBN so the station can attract advertising. (http://www.gov.ph/2011/08/16/list-of-proposed-legislative-measuresdiscussed-during-the-ledac-meeting-august-16-2011/)

Self-Regulation: Is It Working?


The PCOOs Coloma said NBN 4 was allowed to generate commercial revenues only within ten years after its charter was signed in 1992. After the ten years, the network was allowed to generate only institutional revenues. (http://www.sunstar. com.ph/manila/local-news/2011/08/05/palace-sees-privatization-rpn-ibc-aquino-admin-171215, Aug. 5)



Combating impunity: eight urgent proposals

Combating impunity: Eight urgent Proposals by Dean Jose Manuel I. Diokno 61 by Dean Jose Manuel I. Diokno

SINCE PEOPLE power ousted the Marcos dictatorship 25 years ago, the Philippines has regained all the trappings of a democratic state: We have courts that are open, functioning, and run by civilian judges; We have a judiciary mandated by the Constitution to respect, promote and protect human rights; We have state-of-the-art legal remedies like the writ of amparo, the writ of habeas data, and new laws like the Anti-Torture Law and the Philippine Act on International Humanitarian Law; We have a civilian police force, and a military that is constitutionally required to respect civilian supremacy at all times; We have an Ombudsman whose job is to investigate and prosecute high-ranking public officials who break the law; We have a pro-active Commission on Human Rights (CHR); We have committed human rights organizations and civil society groups; and We have a free and active press. And yet, the human rights situation has gotten worse, not better. And it has gotten so bad that our legal system has become incapable of holding human rights abusers accountable for their crimes. They have, as it were, been granted a license to commit human rights violations with impunity. Impunity is the dark side of accountability. We see impunity in the extrajudicial killing of journalists, activists, judges, lawyers, and witnesses that go unpunished; the death squads that roam our cities dispensing justice from the barrel of a gun; those police rub-outs for which no one ever seems to be held accountable; and those horrific massacres that never seem to end in convictions and imprisonment. We see impunity, most of all, in the fact that since 1986 when we restored democracy, not one high-ranking official has been held liable by a Philippine court for any serious violations of basic human rights. Which begs the question: Why has the human rights situation in our country deteriorated to the point of impunity? To answer this question, we must look beyond appearances and see the realities of our situation. The truth may hurt, but it can also set us free:



1. We have a legal system that is fatally flawed; a system where 25 percent or one-fourth of our trial courts have no judges; a system which follows rules of procedure and evidence designed for juries when we have no juries; a system where our judges are appointed and promoted not because they are good, but because they are good to the powers that be; a system where judges are corruptible if not corrupted, or easily intimidated. 2. We have legal remedies on paper, but not in fact; legal remedies that promise justice to victims of human rights abuses, but deliver only interminable delay and suffering without closure. 3. We have a press that is free, yes; but it is a press that has no access to vital information of public concern, a press that must content itself with sensationalism and which is dependent on big business for its survival. 4. We have military and police forces that declare their commitment to human rights with one hand, but take it away with the other; military and police forces who still believe that membership in the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) is illegal when it was legalized more than 15 years ago; and who operate on the belief that communismand lately, terrorismare evils that should be stamped out by any means. 5. We have a prosecution service that professes adherence to the rule of law but does not practice what it preaches; a prosecution service that protects witnesses but cannot preserve or perpetuate their testimoniesso that the witnesses end up languishing in safe houses for years waiting to testify, while the perpetrators roam free; a prosecution service that allows the filing of John Doe cases against human rights defenders, and tolerates their baseless persecution. 6. And we have an Ombudsmans office that has yet to prove that it can do its job of putting corrupt and abusive government officials behind bars; an office that has itself become known for corruption and delay; an office that, in the past at least, has become the major obstacle to, rather than the instrument for, public accountability. We have, in short, a democracy in name but not in fact; a democracy struggling desperately to stay afloat in the dark sea of impunity.

Combating impunity: Eight urgent Proposals by Dean Jose Manuel I. Diokno


What then can and should be done? There are no easy answers because the problems are so deeply rooted. To solve these problems we must dig out those roots by confronting and eventually changing the policies and practices that have generated injustice and human rights abuses for many of our people. These fundamentally unjust policies and practices include the following:

1. The highly politicized process of appointing and promoting members of the bench. The Judicial and Bar Council was created to remove politics from the process of appointment of judges, but it has not achieved its purpose. The highly politicized process of appointing judges and justices usurps their independence from the time they assume their posts. Judges should not owe their appointment to anyone, but in practice that is exactly what is happening.

2. The lack of a legal mechanism for perpetuating the testimonies of witnesses. The governments Witness Protection Program (WPP) cannot work
unless a mechanism is established for perpetuating the testimonies of witnesses. Since its establishment in 1991, the Department of Justices (DOJ) WPP has used its resources mainly to provide physical protection and financial assistance to admitted witnesses. Because of the usual delay in litigation, witnesses end up languishing in jail-like safe houses for years before they testifyif their cases ever reach the trial stage. Very often, in our experience, witnesses decide to leave the program out of disgust, or because they have finally given in to offers of compromise from the accused. The Philippine Congress should amend the Witness Protection Law to provide such a mechanism. The Philippine Supreme Court should amend the Rules of Court for the same purpose. The changes should be broad enough to accommodate not only witnesses in danger but also whistleblowers. Even those who come from the military and police, who are excluded under Republic Act (RA) No. 6981, the existing Witness Protection Act, should be eligible for admission into the WPP.

3. The practice of filing John Doe cases against human rights defenders and using John Doe warrants to arrest them. The practice of filing
John Doe cases against human rights defenders and others perceived to be



enemies of the State, has been going on since the 1970s. Even if it was outlawed by the Supreme Court in 1988, and banned by the Secretary of Justice in the 1990s, the practice continues. It has outlasted presidents and political administrations. The practice is very simple: criminal cases of a serious nature (e.g., rebellion, murder, robbery) are filed against a group of persons, including several John or Jane Does whose physical descriptions are not mentioned in the criminal complaint or information. Later on, often years later, when a human rights defender or other perceived enemy of the State is blacklisted or placed on the Order of Battle, his or her name is substituted for the John Doe in the criminal complaint or information. A warrant of arrest is then obtained for that person, and before he or she knows it, they are being arrested and hauled off to a detention facility. The DOJ Secretary can easily put a stop to this practice by re-issuing or reiterating DOJ Circular No. 50 prohibiting the filing of John Doe cases. The DOJ Secretary should also stop the practice of reviving old, Marcos-time political cases against activists.

4. The undue reliance of our law enforcers on testimonial evidence when physical and forensic evidence never lie. By custom and tradition, our law enforcers have relied on witnesses to build their cases against persons accused of crimes. Witnesses, however, especially in cases involving high-ranking government officials, can be compromised, intimidated, or eliminated. We must strengthen the capability of our law enforcement agencies to solve extrajudicial killings, enforced disappearances and other major crimes by forensic and physical evidence instead of relying on testimonial evidence. Law enforcement agencies, with the support of the national government, must reduce their reliance on testimonial evidence and develop their forensic capabilities.

5. The urgent need to re-educate our military and police. Even now, despite the repeal of the Anti-Subversion Law in the early 1990s, our military and police still adhere firmly to the belief that membership in the CPP is illegal, and that communism is an evil to be destroyed by any means. This beliefwhich is now being applied to terrorists in addition to communistsis the source of many human rights abuses.

Combating impunity: Eight urgent Proposals by Dean Jose Manuel I. Diokno


6. Lack of human rights clearance from the CHR. To ensure that all members of the military and police have clean human rights records, they must be required to secure clearance from the CHR before they can be appointed or promoted. During the term of President Fidel V. Ramos, this served an effective deterrent. Unfortunately, the presidents who succeeded him did not continue this requirement. President Aquino does not need congressional action to do this; he can do this himself simply by issuing an administrative order requiring such clearance.

7. Return the PNP to the disciplinary jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission. Because of a series of laws and National Police Commission
(NAPOLCOM) circulars, the Philippine National Police (PNP) is no longer under the jurisdiction of the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and has its own agencies and procedures for resolving disciplinary cases against its members. In practice, however, this has resulted in an utter failure of accountability. PNP selfregulation does not work. The power to discipline members of the PNP should be returned to the CSC, where it belongs.

8. Time served. At present, the Ombudsman and the Justice department evaluate their performance based mainly on conviction rates. But conviction rates are mere paper statistics. To restore accountability the Filipino people must actually see corrupt and abusive government officials spend time behind bars. To date, there is no central body in the national government that monitors and ensures that those convicted by final judgment actually go to jail and serve their sentences. And there is no central database that collects the data needed to ensure that they serve time. To ensure accountability, these mechanisms should be put in place as soon as possible. While there are many things that must be done to stop impunity, we must start with the policies and practices that outlast political administrations and generate injustice repeatedly for many of our people. Eliminating impunity is no easy task, but it can be done. It must be done, if we are to save our legal system from a total breakdown of the rule of law. It must be done, if we are to build a nation where our children can live in peace and prosperity, instead of dreaming of a better life on distant shores.



CMFR database on the killing of journalists/media workers CMFR Database On The Killing Of Journalists/Media Workers Since 1986 67 since 1986

non-work related 60 33%

work-related 124 67%

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) recorded 184 cases of killing of Filipino journalists/media workers since 1986 (as of December 2011).



Of the 184 journalists/media workers killed since 1986, 124 were killed because of their work. Seventy-nine out of the 124 work-related cases happened during Of the 184 journalists/media workers killed since 1986, 124 were killed because of their work. Seventythe Arroyo administration (February 2001-June 30, 2010). nine out of the 124 work-related cases happened during the Arroyo administration (February 2001-June 30, 2010).

Of the 184the 184 journalists/media workers killed since 1986, 124 were killed because of their work. SeventyOf journalists/media workers killed since 1986, 124 were killed because of their work. Seventynine out of the 124the 124 work-related cases happenedthe Arroyo administration (February 2001-June nine out of work-related cases happened during during the Arroyo administration (February 2001-June 30, 2010). 2010). 30,

Any information contained in this compilation may be used be used provided that Any information contained in this compilation may provided that the Center for Media FreedomFreedom and Responsibility is properly attributed. the Center for Media and Responsibility is properly attributed.

CMFR Database On The Killing Of Journalists/Media Workers Since 1986


of the journalists/media workers killed in the line of duty since 1986 were based in the provinces. utonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao registered the most number (34) of work-related killings 1986. This includes the 32 journalists/media practitioners killed in the Ampatuan (Maguindanao) Massacre last Nov. 23, 2009.

3 3

Most of the journalists/mediaof the journalists/media workers killed duty since 1986 were based in the provinces. provinces. Most workers killed in the line in duty since in the line based since provinces. Most of the journalists/media workers killed of the line of 1986 wereof dutyin the 1986 were based in the Autonomous Region of Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao registered since number (34) The Region Mindanao registered in most Mostcontainedjournalists/mediawere basedprovidedthe the number (34)based in the provinces. killings workers of that MostThetheof the AutonomousMuslim may be used line theduty sinceline most numbermost1986 were of work-related killings ofkilled inThe line this compilation of Muslim Mindanaoprovinces. 1986of dutythe (34) of work-related journalists/media workers killed in the killed registered the were of work-related killings Any workers e journalists/media information 1986.the in of duty since journalists/media in 32 journalists/media practitioners(Maguindanao) 1986 since This includes includes This32 registered the most number killed in the killed in the Ampatuan (Maguindanao) practitioners since 1986.andthe The based in registered theMuslim Autonomous Region of since 1986. the(34) properly attributed. killed in the Ampatuan Ampatuan (Maguindanao) the Center for Mediathe provinces.32 Mindanaojournalists/media practitioners (34) Mindanao (ARMM) Freedom ThisResponsibility includes the Region in Muslim of work-related killings omous Region of Muslim Mindanao most The Autonomous 23, killings number is of work-related 2009. Massacre last Nov. lastMassacre 2009. Massacre since 1986. This includes the 32 journalists/media practitioners Nov. 23, last Nov. 23, 2009. killed . This includes the 32 journalists/media practitioners killed in the Ampatuan (Maguindanao) in the Ampatuan (Maguindanao) Most of the journalists/media workers (34) lastwork-related since 1986 were based provinces. Most of theregistered the most number in theof the line of duty1986 were based1986. in the provinces. journalists/media23, 2009. killed killed in Nov. 23, 2009. killings since in the This inMassacre last Nov. workers Massacre line of duty since

The Autonomous 32 journalists/media practitioners the most number work-related killings The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao registered the most number (34) of(34) of work-related killings cludes the Region of Muslim Mindanao registered killed in the Ampatuan (Maguinsince 1986. This includes journalists/media practitioners killed killed Ampatuan (Maguindanao) since 1986. This includes the 32the 32 journalists/media practitioners in the in the Ampatuan (Maguindanao) danao) Massacre last Nov. 23, 2009. Massacre last Nov. 23, Massacre last Nov. 23, 2009. 2009.

Any information contained incontained in this compilation may be used provided that provided that Any information contained in this compilation Any information this compilation may be used provided that may be used the Center for Media Freedom Center for MediaResponsibilityattributed. attributed. the and Responsibility is properly Responsibility is properly attributed. the Center for Media Freedom and Freedom and is properly Any information contained in this compilation may be used provided that the Center for Media Freedom andAny information contained in this compilation may be used provided that Responsibility is properly attributed.

the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility is properly attributed.


Most of the FrEEDOM rEPOrT 2011 Any information contained in workers killed the provided that Any information contained in this compilation may bemay be used provided that PhiLiPPiNE PrESSjournalists/mediathis compilation inused line of duty since 1986 were based in the provinces. The Autonomous Region and Responsibility is registered the most the for Media Media Freedom and Responsibility is properly attributed. the Center Center for Freedom of Muslim Mindanao properly attributed. number (34) of work-related killings since 1986. This includes the 32 journalists/media practitioners killed in the Ampatuan (Maguindanao) Massacre last Nov. 23, 2009.

Most of the journalists/media workers killed in the line of duty since 1986 were based in the provinces. The Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao registered the most number (34) of work-related killings since 1986. This includes the 32 journalists/media practitioners killed in the Ampatuan (Maguindanao) Massacre last Nov. 23, 2009.


Male 115 93%

Most of the journalists/media workers killed in the provided that Any information contained in this compilation may be used line of duty since 1986 were based in the provinces. The Autonomous Region and Responsibility is registered the most the Center for Media Freedom of Muslim Mindanao properly attributed. number (34) of work-related killings since 1986. This includes the 32 journalists/media practitioners killed in the Ampatuan (Maguindanao) Massacre last Nov. 23, 2009.

One hundred and five (93 the 124 of the 124 journalists/media workers killed One hundred and five (93 percent) of percent)journalists/media workers killed in the line of duty since 1986 were male. in the line of duty since 1986 were male. male. 1986 were

One hundred and five (93 percent) of the 124 journalists/media workers killed in the line of duty since

Any information contained in this compilation may be used provided that the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility is properly attributed.

Most of the journalists and media workers killed in the line of duty worked solely for print (50) and for Most of the journalists and mediaradio (50). killed in the line of duty worked workers

solely for print (50) and for radio (50). Most of the journalists and media workers killed in the line of duty worked solely for print (50) and for radio (50). Any information contained in this compilation may be used provided that
the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility is properly attributed.

Any information contained in this compilation may be used provided that the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility is properly attributed.

CMFR Database On The Killing Of Journalists/Media Workers Since 1986


FiLiPiNO JOurNALiSTS/MEDiA WOrKErS KiLLED IN THE LINE OF DUTY SINCE 1986 date of deatH 1 2 3 4 1986-April-24 1986-April-25 1987-March-24 1987-April-12 naMe Pete Mabazza Wilfredo Vicoy Virgilio Pacala Dionisio Perpetuo Joaquin* Narciso Balani Rogie Zagado Leo Palo Cesar Maglalang Martin Castor region of killing Manila Bulletin / Tuguegarao Region II City, Cagayan Reuters / Tuguegarao City, Region II Cagayan Manila Hotline / San Pablo, Region Laguna IV-A Olongapo News / Olongapo Region City III newS organiZation / Place of killing dxRA / Davao City dxRA / Davao City dxRA / Davao City dxRA / Davao City Pilipino Ngayon / Manila Region XI Region XI Region XI Region XI National Capital Region Region VIII Region VII Region XI Region III Region VI Region VI

5 6 7 8 9

1987-Aug-27 1987-Aug-27 1987-Aug-27 1987-Aug-27 1987-Aug-28

10 11

1987-Oct-04 1987-Oct-10

Ramon Noblejas Leo Enriquez III

dyVL / Tacloban City, Leyte Kyodo News Service, Washington Times, Peoples Journal / Cebu City Mindanao Scanner / Tagum City, Davao del Norte Luzon Tribune / Balanga City, Bataan Visayan Life Today, dyRP / Iloilo City dyFM-Bombo Radyo / Iloilo City

12 13 14 15

1988-March-29 1988-Aug-12 1988-Oct-30 1989-Oct-17

Noel Miranda Ruben Manrique** Josef Aldeguer Nava Severino Arcones



date of deatH 16 1989-Dec-01

naMe Eddie Telan

newS organiZation / Place of killing Newscaster / Quezon City

17 18

1990-Feb-4 1990-Feb-6

Enrique Lingan Joseph Joe" Kreuger Reynaldo Catindig Sr. Jean Ladringan Nesino Paulin Toling* Danilo Vergara Abdulajid Jade" Ladja Greg Hapalla Gloria Martin Romeo Andrada Legaspi Ferdinand Reyes Alberto Berbon* Daniel Hernandez Regalado Mabazza Odilon Mallari */****

19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

1990-May-15 1990-July-08 1991-April-14 1992-July-01 1992-July-3 1992-Sept-21 1992-Dec-02 1993-Jan-11 1996-Feb-12 1996-Dec-15 1997-June-03

The Luzon Times, The Midway Star / Lucena City 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 dxAS / Zamboanga City

region of killing National Capital Region Region IV-A Region IV-B Region II Region XII Region X Region X

30 31

1997-Dec-17 1998-Feb-15

Region IX Region IX dxXX / Isabela, Basilan ARMM Voice of Zambales / OlonRegion gapo City III Press Freedom / Dipolog City Region IX dzMM / Imus, Cavite Region IV-A People's Journal Tonight / National Quezon City Capital Region Polaris Cable Network / Region II Cauayan, Isabela dxCP / General Santos City Region XII

CMFR Database On The Killing Of Journalists/Media Workers Since 1986


date of deatH 32 33 34 35 1998-March-29 1998-Oct-30 1999-Jan-21 1999-April-25

naMe Rey Bancairin Dominador Dom" Bentulan Bienvenido Dasal Frank Palma*

newS organiZation / Place of killing dxLL / Zamboanga City dxGS / General Santos City dxKR Radyo Agong / Koronadal, South Cotabato dwYB-Bombo Radyo / Bacolod City, Negros Occidental dzMM / Guagua, Pampanga dxPR / Pagadian City dyKR / Kalibo, Aklan dxID / Pagadian City dxLL / Zamboanga City dxKP, Zamboanga Scribe, Mindanao Gold Star / Pagadian City Kokus, Celestron Cable TV / San Pablo City, Laguna dzGB / Camalig, Albay dwTI / Lucena City

region of killing Region IX Region XII Region XII Region VI Region III Region IX Region VI Region IX Region IX Region IX Region IV-A Region V Region IV-A Region III Region IV-A

36 37 38 39 40 41

2000-May-23 2000-Nov-17 2001-Jan-03 2001-Feb-24 2001-May-30 2002-May-13

Vincent Rodriguez Olimpio Jalapit Rolando Ureta*** Mohammad Yusoph Candelario Jhun Cayona** Edgar Damalerio* Rhode Sonny Esguerra Alcantara John Belen Villanueva Jr. Apolinario Polly" Pobeda*** Bonifacio Gregorio Noel Villarante**



43 44

2003-April-28 2003-May-17

45 46

2003-July-08 2003-Aug-19

Dyaryo Banat / La Paz, Tarlac The Laguna Score, dzJV / Sta. Cruz, Laguna



date of deatH 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 2003-Aug-20 2003-Sept-06 2003-Dec-02 2004-Feb-11 2004-June-17 2004-July 31 2004-Aug-05 2004-Sept-29 2004-Oct-19 2004-Nov-12 2004-Nov-15 2005-March-24

naMe Rico Ramirez Juan Jun" Pala Nelson Nadura Rowell Endrinal*** Elpidio Ely Binoya** 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****

newS organiZation / Place of killing dxSF / San Francisco, Agusan del Sur dxGO / Davao City dyME / Masbate City, Masbate dzRC, Metro News / Legazpi City dzRH Radyo Natin / General Santos City 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 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

region of killing Region XIII Region XI Region V Region V Region XII 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

59 60 61 62 63

2005-May-02 2005-May-10 2005-July-05 2005-Nov-18 2005-Nov-20

CMFR Database On The Killing Of Journalists/Media Workers Since 1986


date of deatH 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 2005-Dec-01 2006-Jan-20 2006-April-02 2006-May-22 2006-June-19 2006-June-19 2006-July-18

naMe George Benaojan* Rolly Caete Orlando Mendoza Fernando Batul (A) George Vigo Maricel AlaveVigo Armando Rachman Pace* Carmelo "Mark" Palacios Fernando Batman" Lintuan (A) Marcos Mataro

region of killing dyDD / Cebu City Region VII dxPR / Pagadian City Region IX Tarlac Profile, Tarlac Patrol / Region Tarlac City, Tarlac III dyPR / Puerto Princesa City Region IV-B dxND / Kidapawan City, Region Cotabato XII dxND / Kidapawan City, Region Cotabato XII dxDS / Digos City, Davao del Region Sur XI newS organiZation / Place of killing dzRB / Sta. Rosa, Nueva Ecija dxGO / Davao City Region III Region XI Region III Region IV-A Region VI Region XII Region X Region VIII Region X

71 72

2007-April-18 2007-Dec-24



74 75 76 77 78 79

2008-June-30 2008-Aug-7 2008-Aug-9 2008-Nov-17 2008-Dec-2 2009-Feb-23

Fausto Bert" Sison*** Martin Roxas*** Dennis Cuesta**** Arecio Padrigao*** Leo Mila Ernesto Rollin***

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 Radyo Natin / San Roque, Northern Samar dxSY / Oroquieta City



date of deatH 80 81 82 83 84 2009-June-9 2009-July-27 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23

naMe 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***

newS organiZation / Place of killing dwDO / San Jose City Radyo Natin-Bislig / Barobo, Surigao del Sur Gold Star Daily / Ampatuan, Maguindanao dzRH / Ampatuan, Maguindanao UNTV / Ampatuan, Maguindanao

region of killing Region IV-B Region XIII ARMM ARMM ARMM

85 86 87

2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23

Gold Star Daily / Ampatuan, ARMM Maguindanao Periodico Ini / Ampatuan, ARMM Maguindanao Midland Review / Ampatuan, ARMM 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 ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM

88 89 90 91

2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23

92 93 94 95

2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23

Eleanor Leah" Dalmacio*** Noel Decena*** Gina dela Cruz*** Jose Jhoy" Duhay***


CMFR Database On The Killing Of Journalists/Media Workers Since 1986


date of deatH 96 97 98 99 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23 2009-Nov-23

naMe Jolito Evardo*** Santos Gatchalian Jr.*** Bienvenido Legarta Jr.*** Lindo Lupogan*** Ernesto Bombo Bart" Maravilla*** Rey Merisco***

newS organiZation / Place of killing 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 Midland Review / Ampatuan, Maguindanao 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

region of killing ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM ARMM

100 2009-Nov-23

101 2009-Nov-23


102 2009-Nov-23

103 2009-Nov-23

104 2009-Nov-23 105 2009-Nov-23 106 2009-Nov-23 107 2009-Nov-23 108 2009-Nov-23

Reynaldo Bebot" Momay (missing body) Marife Neneng" Montao*** Rosell Morales*** Victor Nuez*** Joel Parcon*** Ronnie Perante*** Fernando Ranny" Razon*** Alejandro Bong" Reblando*** Napoleon Salaysay***




109 2009-Nov-23


110 2009-Nov-23




date of deatH 111 2009-Nov-23 112 2009-Nov-23

naMe Francisco Ian" Subang Jr.*** Andres Andy" Teodoro*** Daniel Tiamzon*** Ismael Pasigna*** Desiderio Jessie" Camangyan*** Jovelito Agustin*** Nestor Bedolido Miguel Mike" Belen*** Gerardo Doc Gerry" Ortega*** Marilen Len" Flores-Sumera Romeo Olea Niel Lito" Jimena Roy Quijada Gallego Antonio Silagon

newS organiZation / Place of killing 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 dwAR / Puerto Princesa City dzME / Malabon City dwEB / Iriga City, Camarines Sur dyRI / Magalona, Negros Occidental dxDA, dxSF, and dxJM / Lianga, Surigao del Sur Bohol Balita Daily News / Trinidad City, Bohol

region of killing ARMM ARMM

113 2009-Nov-23 114 2009-Dec-24 115 2010-June-14

ARMM Region IX Region XI Region I Region XI Region V Region IV-B NCR Region V Region VI Region XIII Region VII

116 2010-June-16 117 2010-June-19 118 2010-July-31 119 2011-Jan-24 120 2011-March-24 121 2011-June-13 122 2011-Aug-22 123 2011-Oct-14 124 2011-Dec-15

Legend: * - with conviction ** - dismissed *** - under trial **** - archived (A) - acquittal

CMFR Database On The Killing Of Journalists/Media Workers Since 1986


About the Center for Media Freedom and responsibility

THE 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 mediapublic officials, the private sector, civil society groups, readers, viewers and listenerswho 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.