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Ampatuan Massacre promulgation of verdict will be broadcast live–SC

The promulgation of judgement on the Ampatuan Massacre trial shall be broadcast live on December 19, the Supreme Court (SC) ruled Tuesday, December 10.

The High Court shall allow two People’s Television (PTV) cameras inside the courtroom which other media outfits could hook into, SC assistant court administrator and public information office chief Brian Keith Hosaka said.

Citing space limitations, the Court also decided it would only allow a limited number of reporters inside the court who would not be allowed to bring their own cameras, smart phones and other video and audio recording equipment inside.

The SC Public Information Office shall prepare a list of “accredited media” to be allowed inside the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology compound in Camp Bagong Diwa in Taguig City.

The High Tribunal decided on the petition for live coverage filed last week by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, and the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism.

“The live coverage/streaming of the promulgation would allow the families and relatives of the 58 victims who may not be able to attend the promulgation in Metro Manila to hear live the reading of the court’s decision on the killing of their relatives,” the media groups wrote Supreme Court Chief Justice Diosdado Peralta.

Government communication and media offices also asked to be allowed to cover the event.

Before the groups’ petition, the Court, through Hosaka, wrote to PTV requesting for airtime and technical support, including cameras and video footage that would be provided to other media groups, for the live coverage of the verdict set on December 19

“Because of the paramount public interest involved in this case, the Supreme Court, which is overseeing the matter, would like to have live television coverage of the proceedings,” SC Assistant Court Administrator and Public Information Office chief Hosaka told PTV. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Broadcaster shot dead in Dumaguete

Another broadcaster was shot dead in Dumaguete City in Negros Oriental early Thursday morning, Nov. 7, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) reported.

Dindo Generoso was driving his car when he was shot dead by a lone gunman along Hibbard Avenue in Barangay Piapi around 7:30 a.m., the NUJP said citing a spot police report.

“Colleagues said he was on his way to host his program on radio station dyEM 96.7 Bai Radio,” the NUJP Visayas safety office said in its report.

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) said Generoso sustained eight gunshot wounds at different parts of his body that caused instant death.

PTFOMS added there may be more than one killer as “still unidentified perpetrators riding-in-tandem on a black motorcycle” were reportedly seen.

“This dastardly deed will not go unpunished. Whoever is behind this senseless murder will be brought to justice,” PTFOMS executive director Joel Sy Egco said in a statement.

Generoso was the second broadcaster murdered in Dumaguete City since Edmund Sestoso, who died on May 1, 2018, a day after he was shot on his way home from hosting his radio program.

The identity of Generoso’s killer and the motive for his murder was not yet clear, the NUJP said.

“If the murder is work-related, Generoso would be the 14th journalist to be murdered under the Duterte administration and the 187th since 1986,” the group added.

PTFOMS said Generoso was an anchor for development programs of the local government, including a controversial reclamation project that was halted by the DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources) last week.

Generoso’s murder came 10 days after the Committee for the Protection of Journalists (CPJ) released its 2019 report last October 29 revealing that the Philippines has the highest number of unsolved journalist murders in the world.

The CPJ’s 2019 Global Impunity Index, which “spotlights countries where journalists are slain and their killers go free,” also placed the country, the only one from Southeast Asia on its list, at fifth place while noting that it “has been among the worst five countries nearly every year since the index was first published in 2008.” # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

DOJ dismisses complaint vs Catanduanes gov over 1st media killing under Duterte

By Lottie Salarda

“We were not surprised anymore,” Catanduanes journalist Marlon Suplig said after learning that the Department of Justice in Manila dismissed the murder complaint against Catanduanes Governor Joseph Cua and others over the murder of Catanduanes Now Publisher Larry Que in 2016.

What surprised them was the failure of the DOJ to notify them almost a year after its resolution, Suplig said.

Contrary to the Rules on Criminal Procedure requiring only probable cause for a case to be filed, Assistant State Prosecutor Alejandro Daguiso in a resolution dated October 30, 2017, said there is insufficiency of evidence presented by the complainants and it will be unfair to hold the respondents for trial.

Que was killed after writing a column alleging the negligence of the local officials over the discovery of a major shabu laboratory in the province.

He was the first vitim of media killing under the Rodrigo Duterte government.

The victim was shot by a motorcycle men-riding in tandem at around 9:30 in the morning near his workplace in Virac, Catanduanes.

On May 2, 2017, Edralyn Pangilinan, Que’s common-law wife filed a murder case against Cua, police officer Vincent Tacorda, Cua’s right-hand Prince Lim Subion and other “John Does”.

Gov. Cua (right, in gray shirt) announces his candidacy for governorship in the 2019 local elections. (Photo by Radyo Natin-Virac, used with permission)

After his arrest last year, Tacorda admitted he was instructed to kill Que under the guise of “Operation Tokhang” by Cua through his right-hand man Subion.

Que received death threats from Lim Subion prior to the incident.

According to Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) Executive Director Joel Egco, Tacorda faced a robbery and extortion charges because he allegedly asked the family for 10 million pesos in exchange for evidence of Que’s death.

The extortion case filed against Tacorda was likewise dismissed. He denied all his extrajudicial confessions in his affidavit.

The complainants said they did not receive a copy of the resolution.

Suplig said they did not know that their complaint was already dismissed almost a year ago as they were not given copies.

It was Cua’s camp who announced the dismissal nearly two months before the filing of certificates of candidacies for the 2019 local and national polls.

The incumbent governor is planning to run for the same post next year. #

Broadcaster killed in Albay; 12th under Duterte gov’t

A broadcaster in the Bicol Region was killed early Friday morning on his way to the radio station, the 12th victim of media killing under the two-year old Rodrigo Duterte government.

Joey Llana, 38, a block-timer of radio station dwZR in Legazpi City, Albay was driving  when fired upon by unidentified gunmen at Brgy. Penafrancia, Daraga town at around 4:45 am in the morning.

Llana hosted the radio program “Metro Banat”, which aired from 5:30 to 7 a.m.

Reports said Llana was shot 14 times with .45 caliber and 9mm pistols.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said 14 emptied bullet casings were recovered on the scene by police authorities.

Authorities have yet to determine the motive for Llana’s murder although a sibling of the victim said he had received death threats days before the killing, NUJP said.

Llana’s death is the third media killing in the region, making it currently the most dangerous area for journalists, along with Caraga, which also has three broadcasters killed in the past two years.

Chief Inspector Eder Collantes of the Legazpi City Philippine National Police has confirmed the incident to the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, saying they are coordinating with the Police Regional Office 5 to expedite the investigation. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)

Groups denounce yet another media killing, 11th under Duterte

Media groups denounced the murder of yet another journalist Thursday afternoon, the 11th victim of media killing under Rodrigo Duterte’s government.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), the NUJP Davao Chapter, and the Davao del Norte Press and Radio-TV Club (DNPRC) denounced the killing of Dennis Denora, publisher of the community newspaper Trends and Times and correspondent of Sun Star Davao in Panabo City, Davao del Norte.

“Denora is the 11th journalist killed in the less than two years since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office and the 184th since 1986,” the NUJP said.

The victim was shot by an unidentified gunman who fled on foot after the shooting, Panabo City Police reported.

Denora, 67, was seated in front of a sedan car that was cruising along the city’s national highway when shot.

He was killed on the spot.

The NUJP said that while there is still no official word on the possible motive for his murder, it was likely related to his work as a journalist.

“Denora’s colleagues in the province acknowledge that he was ‘fearless’ in his commentaries in broadcast and print,” the group added.

The NUJP Davao Chapter said Denora’s death is a clear assault to press freedom, and amplifies the existing climate of fear among journalists who are working in their local communities.

“His death underscores the worsening state of media killings in the country. With this, we want the government to take concrete actions to stop these senseless killings by speedily resolving these cases and bring people who attack journalists [to justice],” NUJP Davao said.

In a separate statement, the DNPRC said Denora, also an officer and member of the Davao Region Multi-Media group (DRMMG), was known for his fearless commentaries both in print and on radio.

“[Denora’s] death awakens the anger and pains of journalists who do their job and yet are being judged by the pistol,” the group said.

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFOMS) for its part said its secretariat has already directed the Philippine National Police Task Force Usig to conduct a “deep investigation” on Denora’s killing.

Task Force Usig is a special police unit created to investigate media killings.

A Special Investigation Task Group will be formed to lead the local probe, PTFOMS said.

“Like in previous cases, whether related to work or not, it is our official policy to initially treat any violent incident involving media workers as ‘work related,’” PTFOMS executive director Joel Egco said.

“We will leave no stone unturned to serve the ends of justice. Make no mistake about it,” Egco said. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)