STATEMENT OF THE FFFJ: NEITHER CLOSURE NOR JUSTICE


The Freedom Fund for Filipino Journalists Inc. (FFFJ) calls for the prompt preliminary investigation of the murder complaint against the alleged masterminds in the killing of Palawan-based broadcaster and environment activist Gerardo “Doc Gerry” Ortega. This follows other cases currently in court which have been filed against other alleged masterminds in the killing of other journalists. These should be speedily resolved if the Philippines is to dismantle the culture of impunity.

 

Last 14 February 2011, Patria Ortega, widow of Doc Gerry, filed a murder complaint against former Palawan Gov. Joel Reyes, former Marinduque Gov. Jose Carreon, and Coron town, Palawan Mayor Mario Reyes Jr. before the Department of Justice in Manila. Local authorities earlier filed charges against the gunman and his accomplices.

 

Of the cases on record since 2001, there has been no successful prosecution of any mastermind in the killing of a journalist.

 

Around December 2008, the case against the alleged mastermind in the murder of journalist Philip Agustin, former Dingalan town, Aurora Mayor Jaime Ylarde, was dismissed.

 

The case against the two alleged masterminds in the killing of columnist-broadcaster Marlene Esperat has been on hold pending the resolution of a petition for certiorari filed by accused Osmeña Montañer and Estrella Sabay.

Only the case against the alleged mastermind-killer of broadcaster Herson “Bombo Boy” Hinolan has progressed, with the prosecution resting its case last year.

 

Meanwhile, only Andal “Unsay” Ampatuan Jr. is on trial among the 22 accused, all surnamed Ampatuan, who allegedly planned and executed the 23 November 2009 Massacre in Maguindanao.

 

The delay in the prosecution of these alleged masterminds are manifestations of the problems of the Philippine judicial system; they deny the slain and their kin the justice they deserve.

 

Lawyers of alleged masterminds use the vagueness of the provisions to protect the “Rights of an accused” to shield their clients from arrest, detention, arraignment, and trial. The FFFJ has called for a review of the rules of court and other criminal proceedings, the abuse of which has contributed to the culture of impunity in the Philippines.

 

The FFFJ respects the rights of the accused but must emphasize the need for the justice system to respect the families of the victims by upholding legal practice that will bring these cases to their just conclusion, penalizing the guilty and exonerating the innocent as quickly as possible.

 

It will not do for court proceedings to drag on for years, in effect allowing the killers of journalists and the people behind them to escape punishment, and affording the kin of those slain neither closure nor justice.

 

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3 Tarlac journalists receive death threats

NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUJP)

Alert

February 19, 2011

3 Tarlac journalists receive death threats

Three Tarlac City journalists received death threats via SMS (short message service) after writing a series of articles on the alleged scams related with the ongoing construction of the Tarlac-Pangasinan-La Union Expressway (TPLEX).

In a report submitted to NUJP, the three said George Hubierna, correspondent of People’s Journal and People’s Tonight, got the first warning on January 8, the same day his report on TPLEX was published. The text message sent from +639997430975 said: “Kung ikaw si George Hubierna mag-ingat kana ‘di mo kilala tinalo mo (If you’re George Hubierna, be careful you don’t know who you’re up against).

On January 10, Tarlac Headline News columnist Nelson Bolos got a message from a former official of Gerona town saying he (Bolos) was identified as part of the group behind the publication (of the stories). Bolos was Hubierna’s researcher on the quarry stories.

Paul Gonzales, Headline News’ publisher and editor-in-chief, was also threatened on January 24. “. . .let’s see how brave you and Bolos are,” read the message sent from mobile number +639497759315. This number was also used two days earlier (January 22) to send a second threat against Hubierna.

Aside from these, a friend informed Bolos that two persons “of shady character” were asking questions about Bolos and Hubierna, even showing cut-out pictures of the two to verify their identities.

NUJP-IFJ Media Safety Office

Reference

Rowena Paraan


********************************************************************************************************************************
NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
4/L FSS Bldg. # 89 Sct. Castor corner
Sct. Tuason Street (near T. Morato Ave),
Bgry. Laging Handa,
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 3767330
Email: nujphil@gmail.com
Web: www.nujp.org (under construction)
*********************************************************************************************************************************
Are you a journalist under threat?
Report it to NUJP’s Threat Hotlines:
*(+632) 3767330
* Email: nujphil@gmail.com
* Twitter:http://twitter.com/nujp
*********************************************************************************************************************************
“There can be no press freedom if journalists
exist in conditions of corruption, poverty or fear”
— IFJ
*********************************************************************************************************************************

[photo credit:  by Kriss Szkurlatowski, Poland, Websitewww.12frames.eu]

Gingoog City journalist harassed by local environment exec

Gold Star Daily (photo by Ariel Parcon Jr.)

NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES (NUJP)


Alert
February 19, 2011

Gingoog City journalist harassed by local environment exec

A Gingoog City correspondent of a community newspaper based in Cagayan de Oro City has reported receiving death threats from a Community Environment and Natural Resources officer (CENRO) of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources in Gingoog City.

Edwin Iyo, a correspondent of the Goldstar Daily, said the CENRO, whom he identified as Felipe Carolina, contacted him over his cell phone on February 16, and threatened to shoot him dead.

Iyo told NUJP that Carolina was offended by Iyo’s text message which called the DENR’s attention over the conduct of certain DENR personnel manning a checkpoint in Barangay (village) Anakan, Gingoog City. The text message, which detailed the alleged extortion operation of some DENR personnel manning the checkpoint, was also forwarded by Iyo to the Region 10 Executive Director of the DENR, Edilberto Buiser.

Iyo said he has reported the matter to the editor in chief of the Goldstar Daily Herbie Gomez who advised him to proceed to Cagayan de Oro City.

References:
Rowena Paraan
JB Deveza


********************************************************************************************************************************
NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
4/L FSS Bldg. # 89 Sct. Castor corner
Sct. Tuason Street (near T. Morato Ave),
Bgry. Laging Handa,
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 3767330
Email: nujphil@gmail.com
Web: www.nujp.org (under construction)
*********************************************************************************************************************************
Are you a journalist under threat?
Report it to NUJP’s Threat Hotlines:
*(+632) 3767330
* Email: nujphil@gmail.com
* Twitter:http://twitter.com/nujp
*********************************************************************************************************************************
“There can be no press freedom if journalists
exist in conditions of corruption, poverty or fear”
— IFJ
*********************************************************************************************************************************


********************************************************************************************************************************
NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
4/L FSS Bldg. # 89 Sct. Castor corner
Sct. Tuason Street (near T. Morato Ave),
Bgry. Laging Handa,
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 3767330
Email: nujphil@gmail.com
Web: www.nujp.org (under construction)
*********************************************************************************************************************************
Are you a journalist under threat?
Report it to NUJP’s Threat Hotlines:
*(+632) 3767330
* Email: nujphil@gmail.com
* Twitter:http://twitter.com/nujp
*********************************************************************************************************************************
“There can be no press freedom if journalists
exist in conditions of corruption, poverty or fear”
— IFJ
*********************************************************************************************************************************
 

 

Rabusa received P500T from Defensor

Retired Lt Col George Rabusa admitted that he once received P500,000 from Mike Defensor when the latter handled him.

Rabusa admitted this during the live interview in Get It Straight with Daniel Razon on UNTV 37.

Also in the interview was Gen Danilo Lim.

Journalists Targeted for Assassination in the Philippines

 

(image credit: http://themindanaocurrent.blogspot.com)

 

Media Release: Philippines

February 11, 2011

Journalists Targeted for Assassination in the Philippines


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demands that authorities in the Philippines take immediate steps to ensure the safety of journalists in Palawan province, who remain under serious threat of assassination following the murder of broadcaster Gerado Ortega last month.

IFJ affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has received information that two more journalists have been targeted by those behind Ortega’s January 24 murder.

Rodolfo Edrad Jr, purportedly the link to the alleged mastermind of the Ortega killing who surrendered to police on February 5, told authorities that two more Palawan journalists are next in line to be murdered, information which has been verified by the NUJP.

One of the journalists in question has reported unknown people watching his house, the NUJP reported.


“This credible evidence that journalists in Palawan province face physical harm requires an urgent response by authorities in the Philippines,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

“The IFJ demands that the Philippine National Police work to remove any possibility that further violence be perpetrated against journalists in Palawan province, and move quickly to bring those who ordered the murder of Gerado Ortega to justice.”

The IFJ supports the view of the NUJP that should authorities fail to guarantee Palawan journalists’ safety when there is clear evidence that lives are in danger, it will only serve to bolster the growing perception that the administration of President Benigno Aquino III does not put a premium on protecting citizens’ lives and freedoms.

Ortega, a prominent news anchor and commentator with dwAR, was shot in the head at about 10am on January 24 as he was shopping in the San Pedro district of Puerto Princesa City, the capital of the country’s far-western island province of Palawan.

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 125 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebook here


********************************************************************************************************************************
NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
4/L FSS Bldg. # 89 Sct. Castor corner
Sct. Tuason Street (near T. Morato Ave),
Bgry. Laging Handa,
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 3767330
Email: nujphil@gmail.com
Web: www.nujp.org (under construction)
*********************************************************************************************************************************
Are you a journalist under threat?
Report it to NUJP’s Threat Hotlines:
*(+632) 3767330
* Email: nujphil@gmail.com
* Twitter:http://twitter.com/nujp
*********************************************************************************************************************************
“There can be no press freedom if journalists
exist in conditions of corruption, poverty or fear”
— IFJ
*********************************************************************************************************************************

 

To the Ampatuans’ lawyers: Don’t belittle the suffering of the victims

NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES

Statement
February 11, 2011

To the Ampatuans’ lawyers: Don’t belittle the suffering of the victims

The lawyers of those accused of carrying out the November 23, 2009 Ampatuan massacre are overstepping the bounds of decency and ethics in defending their clients.

We acknowledge the right of anyone accused of a crime to the services of the best counsel they can find, just as we recognize the right of lawyers to defend their clients as best they can.

But we submit that to belittle the suffering of the victims of this most heinous of crimes, to insinuate in open court that the 58 persons who perished in the carnage may have died of natural causes, may have killed themselves, may have killed each other, may have suffered massive injuries caused by insect bites, goes beyond competent legal defense and makes a mockery of the very profession of the law itself.

 

We believe that the law profession remains, in essence, an honorable one and that its practitioners by and large abide by the common principles on which all professions are founded – to help others and never to deliberately inflict harm.

However, in their zeal to defend their clients, the Ampatuan defense lawyers not only mock the victims’ suffering, they also add to the anguish of all the families who lost loved ones in the carnage and who continue to live in fear for their lives.

We appeal to the defense lawyers’ sense of decency and humanity. We recognize your duty to do everything to get your clients off the hook. But please, not at the expense of worsening the already grave injustice inflicted on both the victims and their families by what we can only described as utterly insensitive antics.


We also urge the court and lawyers’ groups to remind their colleagues in the massacre trial defense to observe the tenets of their profession or, failing this, to take steps to compel them to do so.


Reference:

Nestor Burgos Jr., NUJP chairperson
Rowena Paraan, NUJP secretary-general and Media Safety Office coordinator

********************************************************************************************************************************
NATIONAL UNION OF JOURNALISTS OF THE PHILIPPINES
4/L FSS Bldg. # 89 Sct. Castor corner
Sct. Tuason Street (near T. Morato Ave),
Bgry. Laging Handa,
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 3767330
Email: nujphil@gmail.com
Web: www.nujp.org (under construction)
*********************************************************************************************************************************
Are you a journalist under threat?
Report it to NUJP’s Threat Hotlines:
*(+632) 3767330
* Email: nujphil@gmail.com
* Twitter:http://twitter.com/nujp
*********************************************************************************************************************************
“There can be no press freedom if journalists
exist in conditions of corruption, poverty or fear”
— IFJ
*********************************************************************************************************************************
 

[insertion of images are of tungkab.wordpress.com]

[images credit: http://www.pcij.org,  http://onevoiceonecry.wordpress.com, http://www.ramica-ideas.com]

 

 

Journalists Targeted for Assassination in the Philippines



The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) demands that authorities in the Philippines take immediate steps to ensure the safety of journalists in Palawan province, who remain under serious threat of assassination following the murder of broadcaster Gerado Ortega last month.

 

IFJ affiliate the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has received information that two more journalists have been targeted by those behind Ortega’s January 24 murder.

 

Rodolfo Edrad Jr, purportedly the link to the alleged mastermind of the Ortega killing who surrendered to police on February 5, told authorities that two more Palawan journalists are next in line to be murdered, information which has been verified by the NUJP.

 

One of the journalists in question has reported unknown people watching his house, the NUJP reported.
“This credible evidence that journalists in Palawan province face physical harm requires an urgent response by authorities in the Philippines,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said.

 

“The IFJ demands that the Philippine National Police work to remove any possibility that further violence be perpetrated against journalists in Palawan province, and move quickly to bring those who ordered the murder of Gerado Ortega to justice.”

 

The IFJ supports the view of the NUJP that should authorities fail to guarantee Palawan journalists’ safety when there is clear evidence that lives are in danger, it will only serve to bolster the growing perception that the administration of President Benigno Aquino III does not put a premium on protecting citizens’ lives and freedoms.

Ortega, a prominent news anchor and commentator with dwAR, was shot in the head at about 10am on January 24 as he was shopping in the San Pedro district of Puerto Princesa City, the capital of the country’s far-western island province of Palawan.

 

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0919