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We will continue to be vigilant against such boorish public behavior by government officials
The Mindanao Independent Press Council (MIPC) Inc. regrets the actuation, behavior, and demeanor of Ms. Jeannette Palmera, the assistant provincial director of the the Department of Interior and Local Government in Davao del Norte.
Based on the accounts of the journalists present during the November 15 inauguration of the operation center of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) in Tagum City, Ms. Palmera acted in an uncouth, unethical, and deplorable manner towards the journalists whom she scolded for taking pictures of the rebel returnees who were at the event to receive monetary incentives for surrendered firearms.
According to the journalists, Ms. Palmera repeatedly lashed out at journalists while reminding that the faces of the rebel surrenderers cannot be shown to the public.
This was done in the presence of multiple officials from various provincial government officials in Region 11, including police and military officials. Ms.
Palmera did this in a condescending manner, and in the most embarrassing way possible as she repeatedly tried to get her pointless point across. No one should be embarrassed than Ms. Palmera herself, as her boorish behavior betrays her ignorance that members of the media do not publish faces of former rebels for security reasons, especially when requested so by government forces.
The media personalities attending the said event clearly did not need any tongue-lashing from Ms. Palmera that bordered on the hysterical.
Her verbal assault was unnecessary, uncalled for, and utterly misplaced. Owing to the nature and gravity of her position, we respectfully suggest that Ms. Palmera, undergo media literacy training and relevant workshops to enable her to understand the job of the press, and have a better grasp of her own.
We will continue to be vigilant against such boorish public behavior by government officials as we do our mandate in keeping the public informed.
We will not be cowed by such show of cheap power trip and ignorance.
Reference: Edith Z. Caduaya 09065294997
BY ROGER M. BALANZA
Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo is filing libel charges against the online news site Rappler for reporting that he “endorsed” and “recommended” the early release of convicted rapist and murderer former Calauan, Laguna mayor Antonio Sanchez.
At a press briefing in Malacanang on Tuesday, Panelo said that he is also filing libel complaints against Inquirer.net for a tweet that carried the same malicious tenor.
Sanchez is serving seven life sentences for the 1993 rape and murder of University of the Philippines Los-Baños student Eileen Sarmenta, and the murder of her friend, Allan Gomez. Panelo was one of Sanchez’s lawyers in the case.
The online stories revolved around a letter he wrote to the Board of Pardons and Parole (BPP) referring a letter of the Sanchez family that requested clemency for Sanchez.
Panelo said that he did not “endorse” or “recommend” the early release of the former Laguna mayor, but merely “referred” the letter to BPP.
“Those articles are reeking with malice and it’s libelous in nature because they tend edto impute an act to discredit me in public and to tarnish my honor,” Panelo said.
“I am filing a libel case against net Inquirer and Rappler for publishing these malicious articles,” he told reporters. The presidential spokesman said the charges would be filed “immediately” as soon as his office is ready with the complaints.
Inquirer.net used the word “recommended” while Rappler used the word “endorsed” when Panelo said he only referred the letter to the appropriate agency or department.
Because of the words used in the report, Panelo said that “people are saying now that I really did something about the so-called release.”
He reiterated that he merely wrote a referral letter to the Board of BPP to act on the request of Sanchez’s daughter, Marie Antonelvie, to grant her father pardon but “never recommended anything.”
“The application was referred to the Bureau of Pardons and Parole for their evaluation. We have nothing to do with it. But then they’re writing an article saying I recommended, I did not,” Panelo said.
He said he asked both Inquirer.net and Rappler to correct their reports but they have not tried to do so.
“I demanded rectification but I have not received any report from them. I sent a text earlier just before the press briefing. I also texted Pia (Ranada of Rappler) and I told her no intervention, I explained to her but she has not responded. She just said ‘got it.,’” Panelo said.
Panelo, who was a former broadcaster himself, said journalists “should be writing accurately.”
“The letter says I’m just referring the letter and when they said it was denied, I said ‘Thank you for your prompt response, nothing more,’” Panelo said.
He said he did not feel the need to inhibit from writing a referral letter despite being Sanchez’s former lawyer since he was only performing official duties by responding to all letters by referring it to the proper agency or department.
“It doesn’t matter to me because you cannot discriminate otherwise you will also be accused of discriminating them because you were a former lawyer of 27 years. The president said is you have to respond to all,” Panelo said.
“In the first place, the letter was not even in reference to Republic Act No. 10592, it refers to their applying for clemency,” he added.
R.A. 10592 or the good conduct time allowance (GCTA) law provides new guidelines on how to compute good conduct time, including a 20-day deduction for each month of good behavior during the first two years of imprisonment.
No influential person
Panelo also rejected the claim of Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Ferdinand Gaite, who said the Palace official’s letter of referral could be interpreted as “intervention to act favorably on the application of early release” of Sanchez.
“In the first place, it was not a referral letter to act favorably. The letter speaks for itself, it was an ordinary referral of them to do something about the request. That’s for them (BPP) to decide, we have nothing to do with it,” Panelo said.
He said there is no influential person to President Rodrigo Duterte and that a letter bearing his signature and his office’s official seal should not put pressure on any department to act favorably.
“My name does not carry weight because the president’s policy to all of us, walang (there are no) sacred cow dito (here). Kaya lahat kami alam namin yun. Walang makaka-impluwensiya kahit kanino (We all know that. Nobody can influence anyone),” Panelo said.
Panelo said all letters of referral are sent to heads of agencies and departments who are “responsible, competent, and intelligent enough” to follow the President’s policy.
In a statement, Inquirer.net said it respected Panelo’s right to sue for libel “if he feels aggrieved by the report.”
“We shall refer the matter to our lawyers when he files the suit,” Inquirer.net said.
In a separate statement, Rappler described Panelo’s libel threat as “pure diversionary tactic”, noting that the Palace official should have just answered questions about his possible conflicts of interest instead of “shooting the messenger.” (with PNA report)
VICTIM’S WIFE TAGS INVEST SCAMMER KAPA
DUTERTE GOVT DESTABILIZING ITSELF
Leaders of the political opposition on Sunday, September 9, ganged up on President Rodrigo Duterte, following his claim of a plot to oust him from Malacanang.
On Saturday, September 8, Duterte bared an alleged plot to destabilize his government and oust him from office being hatched up by Senator Antonio Trillanes, the Liberal Party (LP) which is led by Vice President Leni Robredo and former President Benigno Aquino, and elements of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) of exiled communist leader Jose Maria Sison.
“It’s all in his mind. He is already paranoid,” said Trillanes, in an interview at his office in the Senate..
Trillanes has holed himself up in his Senate office since Tuesday to avoid arrest after an amnesty granted to him by then President Aquino for his role in two uprisings was voided by Duterte.
Duterte has become paranoid, said opposition lawmaker Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano, echoing Trillanes.
Alejano, a Navy officer who joined Trillanes, then a Navy lieutenant, in the Oakwood mutiny of 2003 and the Manila Peninsula Hotel Siege of 2007, was also given amnesty by Aquino for the twin mutinies that targeted then President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
I don’t know why he is being paranoid! There’s no such ouster plot, said Alejano. He said that if there is a plot to oust Duterte, it could come from the people not the opposition.
“Duterte has gone crazy,” Alejano told reporters when he on Sunday visited Trillanes in his Senate office.
Rep. Teddy Baguilat said in jest that forgetfulness could be playing a joke on the 73-year old Duterte.
The Ifugao lawmaker, a member of the LP, said the President might have been thinking of Oktoberfest, the month long beer festival in Germany, not “Red October,” a reference to the 1917 communist uprising in Russia.
Liberal Party (LP) stalwarts Vice President Leni Robredo and Senator Francis Pangilinan also denied the opposition LP is planning to oust Duterte.
“The accusation of destabilization is downright false. It is ridiculous. Dissent is not destabilization,” said Pangilinan in a statement.
“Every time scandals and controversies hound this administration, whether it be corruption issues or issues of incompetent governance, it blames the opposition.” he said.
Pangilinan, president of the LP, said his party need not do anything for the Duterte administration to self-destruct.
The Duterte administration is “destabilizing itself” due to incompetence and corruption, he said.
“The opposition does not have to do anything. On its own, either by its incompetence or corruption, the government is doing a good job of destabilizing itself,” Pangilinan said.
LP chair Robredo, in her radio program, said the LP can never mount a coup because it lacks warm bodies.
She said the LP force can be counted in one’s fingers, many of its members having moved to Duterte’s party, Partido Demokratiko Pilipino/Lakas ng Bansa (PDP/Laban).
The LP, she said, is always made the whipping boy every time something goes wrong in the Duterte administration.
Robredo twitted the President for claiming that the LP is plotting a coup saying it is like Duterte blaming US President Donald Trump for the country’s economic woes.
The LP is always blamed for the shortcomings of the Duterte administration. I don’t think that’s right, Robredo said.
Pangilinan, who earlier said that it is Duterte’s appointees who are destabilizing the government, said that the President should lend his ears to allies calling for the resignation of officials of the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the National Food Authority (NFA).
Pangilinan said that in wake of the rice crisis, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Representatives Joey Salceda and Karlo Nograles, and Senator Cynthia Villar have called for the firing or resignation of officials of the two agencies.
House minority leader Danilo Suarez even “went so far as calling for the firing” of officials at the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Finance, Department of Budget and Management, and the National Economic and Development Authority “for their inability to manage the economy,” added Pangilinan.
“For everyone’s sake, instead of throwing baseless accusations at LP and the opposition, the government should listen to the cry of the people and focus on rising prices of goods and lack of jobs that would sufficiently provide for the average Filipino family,” said Pangilinan.
Akbayan Representative Tom Villarin, another partylist solon, joined Alejano in lashing at Duterte.
Villarin said that instead of blaming others for his administration’s woes, Duterte should find solutions to people’s problems.
Villarin said that the “strongman” Duterte “has turned into a weak leader losing control, rambling and scrambling for escape and excuses, instead of finding solutions.”
Villarin said Duterte “should not drag the entire nation into his paranoia” to cover up for his failure to address economic problems.
“Prices of goods are skyrocketing, unemployment is increasing, while the value of peso and business confidence are hitting rock bottom. Instead of rallying the people in mitigating a looming economic crisis, he makes it all about securing and maintaining his presidency. No wonder that less and less Filipinos trust him in performing his duty,” said Villarin. The latest survey by the Social Weather Stations showed Duterte’s net satisfaction rating dropping by 8 points.
Two Reuters journalists accused of breaching Myanmar’s state secrets law during their reporting of a massacre of Rohingya were jailed for seven years Monday, in a case that has drawn outrage as an attack on media freedom.
Myanmar nationals Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, who have been held in Yangon’s Insein prison since their arrest in December, were charged with violating the Official Secrets Act, a draconian British colonial-era law which carries a maximum sentence of 14 years.