Friday, December 28, 2007

Trailing Bhutto's assassination

To help journalists understand yesterday's killing of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Poynter Online columnists Amy Gahran and Al Tompkins looked for available online resources.

Follow Bhutto Assassination News via Blogs, Twitter
December 27, 2007
By Amy Gahran

As I was making tea this morning, I heard on NPR that Pakistani opposition leader and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto had just been assassinated at a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Immediately I jumped on my laptop. Of course, Google News already offers a slew of mainstream news coverage of the assassination -- based almost entirely on reporting done outside Pakistan, since tight restrictions on journalists remain in force in Pakistan even though President Pervez Musharraf lifted six weeks of emergency rule on Dec. 15. (More on that country's press restrictions from the International Federation of Journalists and the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists.)

Given the current dearth of available professional journalism from within Pakistan, the country's lively blogosphere -- much of it in English -- has become a key source of original and diverse news, analysis, commentary, and context from around that troubled nation. Today especially would be a good time for journalists around the world to start paying close attention to Pakistani blogs.

Read more here.

Pakistan Resources

December 28, 2007
By Al Tompkins

Pakistani bloggers have been actively posting updates on the country's escalating tensions after the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

You can check out the official Bhutto Web site, but the site was down a lot on Thursday. Here is Google's cached version.

Read more here.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

"Why kill them when they are just doing their job?"

That's what Jan Marc Lintuan, eldest of four sons of the slain radio broadcaster, Fernando "Batman" Lintuan, told the Philippine Daily Inquirer. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility has just issued a press freedom alert on Lintuan's killing and reactions to what happened, including Jan Marc's statements.

CMFR Philippines Alert:
Radio broadcaster killed
Source: Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility

CMFR/Philippines—A radio broadcaster who was a vocal critic of local government corruption was killed by motorcycle-riding men on 24 December 2007 around 10 am (local time) in Davao, a province south of Manila, and an hour and 40 minutes by plane from the capital.

Fernando "Batman" Lintuan, who had just come from his morning program "Ligas Paka" (If You're Wicked, You're Dead) on local dxGO radio, was gunned down just after leaving the station onboard his car.

The gunmen opened fire at Lintuan at close range at a street intersection. Lintuan, who had been a radio broadcaster since the '80s, was also the first president of the Davao Sportswriters Association and was an official of the Philippine Sports Commission at the time of his killing. He was 52.

Lintuan was the second journalist to be killed in the line of duty this year after Carmelo "Mark" Palacios, who was killed on 18 April 2007. The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility database has listed 70 journalists/media practitioners killed in the line of duty since 1986.

Read more here.

According to PinoyPress, police authorities in Davao say that the much-feared vigilante group, the Davao Death Squad, might be behind Lintuan's killing. Click here for the PinoyPress entry as well as its links about the controversial group.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Now, for the real "bad" news

So I still have my old cellphone number, although I'm a few thousands poorer (So poor I can't even buy watusi and lusis for New Year's Eve) and with more than 98 percent of professional and personal contacts lost. Yes, Cedelf, until now, I am still on a state of denial over the loss of my phone. Sigh.

At least I got my old number back. So please, please, if you know me or I know you or we have worked together for a certain thing or I have interviewed you for a story (etcetera etcetera), kindly send me your number so that I can save it.

But here's more distressing news:

Broadcast journalist shot dead in Davao City: Arroyo orders probe, arrest of perpetrators
Nov. 24

Unknown gunmen shot and killed a radio broadcaster in the southern Philippines on Monday, officials said, as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo ordered police to immediately investigate the incident and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Ferdie Lintuan had just finished hosting a morning program on dxGO Radio in the city of Davao when he was ambushed in his car along with two other journalists, said Jesus Dureza, a senior adviser to the President.

Read more here. For more information about the Lintuan killing, click here, here, here, here, here, here, here.

Two days before Lintuan was murdered, veteran journalist Adrian Cristobal passed away. Click here for more information.

Tsk tsk. The high number of journalists dying (but more often, getting killed for their work) made me remember one incident not so long ago when a friend asked me to be his co-guarantor for a credit loan he was applying for. So there we were in the credit office, showing my documents. "You're from the press?" the credit officer asked me, upon seeing my ID. Sensing her somewhat extreme surprise over my job, I softly told the credit officer: "Yes. Why? Is that a problem?"

"I'll just need to check with my manager," the credit officer told us, walking away with my office to an office a few feet away. My job might have screwed up your application, I told my friend, although we did not exactly know if there was a problem with me being a journalist.

A few minutes later, the officer came back. "But you don't work in the community press? You don't cover conflicts or any hostile situations?" she immediately asked me. I initially thought of telling her the complex nature of the media beat and how the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility works, but I decided otherwise. "If you mean I cover events and issues in the communities or those of conflicts, generally, no." I said.

After I said that, I sensed she was somewhat relieved and appeared more relaxed reviewing my friend's credit application. Now I'm the one curious. Why would a credit officer be so surprised upon learning my work as a journalist?, I thought. Do journalists also get a hard time applying for credit loans or when buying things on an installment basis, just like police and military men (or at least from what some cops and soldiers told me)?

So, after five minutes in front of the credit officer, silently agonizing all these questions, I asked her: "Is there a problem if I am a journalist?"

She sheepishly smiled with my question. While signing the approval of my friend's application, she said: "Aren't journalist killings here in this country remain rampant and unresolved?"


Why do I have to lose my cellphone after I ran out of Christmas bonus?

So yeah, I don't have a phone right now. Lost it last night. Long story. I don't want to explain anymore. Right now, I am too angry at myself for losing that phone -- where close to 500 of my personal and professional contacts' numbers are stored. And now, all these numbers -- gone. (And yes, I did not save the numbers on another platform when I could have done it to save me the agony if in case my phone gets lost or whatever. Stupid stupid me.)

I tried calling my number, but all I hear is that operator speaking that it cannot be reached (yeah, as if I did not know). Called my mobile provider to block my sim card and phone.

For those who know me, you know how to get in touch with me.

Update: So, I'm still going to have my old cell number, thanks to my mobile service provider. So please send your number to my old number so that I can save it. Thank you very much.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Filipino singer Charice Pempengco on The Ellen DeGeneres Show

Okay, just a quick post before I go back to my usual work load.

Here's Filipino singing sensation Charice Pempengco appearing on the Dec. 19 episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show:

She sang a second one in the same episode:

Both clips from luckycura85.

In case you're living under a rock and you don't know the buzz about her, here's the Wikipedia entry on Charice. Below is the clip that first made her internationally famous.

Clip from coolsmurf.

Sorry if I have not been posting issues and articles here lately. I am swamped with work these past few weeks as the year comes to a close, so please bear with me. As you may have noticed in my last two posts, I guess I have been relying on Youtube to maintain sanity.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The amazing Paul Potts

I should have posted the videos of this wonderful singer a few months ago, but I have completely forgotten about it--until now, while I was showing a dramatic music video in Youtube to my sister (more on this in the future).

Here's Paul Potts, winner of Britain's Got Talent.

A clip of his audition, which I can't get over myself with:

He sang a full version of Nessun Dorma (his audition song) in the finals. Sure, he's no Pavarotti, but his story and his singing ability have endeared him to millions of fans not just in his hometown United Kingdom but all over the world.

Both clips from myredroom.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Photos for Peace

Just a quick post on this before I forget this again amid the usual tons of work before the year ends.

I wrote earlier that I would post details about the recent Peace Journalism Seminar of the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR). But since I am very occupied with a lot of other things, I'll just post for now some photos taken during the Antipolo seminar. For more photos of the event, please go to Bimbo has a bunch of photos in his Multiply site.

With CMFR top guns Melinda Quintos de Jesus and Luis V. Teodoro

The participants and CMFR staff

Miriam Coronel Ferrer
, Rep. Satur Ocampo, and CMFR staffwriters Junette and Melai

The ever-posing CMFR staff

Does the photo below remind you of Familia Zaragoza, albeit a loony one?

And back to the crazy CMFR office

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Pwning Pagdilao

After feeling like a headless chicken last night, I think I can breathe for the moment (at least just for the night) and blog.

I was watching a replay of Media in Focus last Thursday. The issue, of course, was the arrest of journalists and media practitioners who were covering the Nov. 29 incident involving Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV and Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim. The guests were: Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas Rey Hulog, police spokesman Chief Superintendent Samuel Pagdilao, constitutional professor Edwin Lacierda, and veteran journalists Rachel Khan, Gil Santos, and Dana Batnag.

And boy, was Pagdilao pwned! (especially by Atty. Lacierda.) My unsolicited advice to Chief Superintendent Pagdilao: Sir, the next time you defend the arrest of journalists and media practitioners last Nov. 29, make sure you actually cite and explain the constitutional and legal provisions justifying the arrest, especially when you're with a lawyer with the likes of Atty. Lacierda. Don't just say that the the arrest was done in accordance with the law.

Atty. Lacierda said the arrest of journalists/media practitioners was warrantless and illegal. Journalists and media practitioners who were covering what happened, Lacierda said, did not commit any of the nine instances involving obstruction of justice under Presidential Decree No. 1829.

I looked up PD 1829, and below are the nine instances:

(a) preventing witnesses from testifying in any criminal proceeding or from reporting the commission of any offense or the identity of any offender/s by means of bribery, misrepresentation, deceit, intimidation, force or threats;

(b) altering, destroying, suppressing or concealing any paper, record, document, or object, with intent to impair its verity, authenticity, legibility, availability, or admissibility as evidence in any investigation of or official proceedings in, criminal cases, or to be used in the investigation of, or official proceedings in, criminal cases;

(c) harboring or concealing, or facilitating the escape of, any person he knows, or has reasonable ground to believe or suspect, has committed any offense under existing penal laws in order to prevent his arrest prosecution and conviction;

(d) publicly using a fictitious name for the purpose of concealing a crime, evading prosecution or the execution of a judgment, or concealing his true name and other personal circumstances for the same purpose or purposes;

(e) delaying the prosecution of criminal cases by obstructing the service of process or court orders or disturbing proceedings in the fiscal's offices, in Tanodbayan, or in the courts;

(f) making, presenting or using any record, document, paper or object with knowledge of its falsity and with intent to affect the course or outcome of the investigation of, or official proceedings in, criminal cases;

(g) soliciting, accepting, or agreeing to accept any benefit in consideration of abstaining from, discounting, or impeding the prosecution of a criminal offender;

(h) threatening directly or indirectly another with the infliction of any wrong upon his person, honor or property or that of any immediate member or members of his family in order to prevent such person from appearing in the investigation of, or official proceedings in, criminal cases, or imposing a condition, whether lawful or unlawful, in order to prevent a person from appearing in the investigation of or in official proceedings in, criminal cases;

(i) giving of false or fabricated information to mislead or prevent the law enforcement agencies from apprehending the offender or from protecting the life or property of the victim; or fabricating information from the data gathered in confidence by investigating authorities for purposes of background information and not for publication and publishing or disseminating the same to mislead the investigator or to the court.

A lawyer-blogger, Punzi wrote: "This crime does not involve preventing Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, Sandiganbayan and other justices from arriving at their respective destinations, as the offense suggests." He cited Section 1 of PD 1829 which states: "The penalty of prision correccional in its maximum period, or a fine ranging from 1,000 to 6,000 pesos, or both, shall be imposed upon any person who knowingly or willfully obstructs, impedes, frustrates or delays the apprehension of suspects and the investigation and prosecution of criminal cases." In short, a person who commits any of the nine instances above is guilty of obstruction of justice.

Punzi also cited examples for the nine instances each:

1. Telling a witness that the hearing where he will be called will be held on 17 July 2005. The witness did not know that this falls on a Sunday and that the hearing will actually be held on 18 July 2005.

2. To CSI fans, corrupting or destroying cricial evidence.

3. Hiding or providing a safe house for known fellons.

4. Publicly changing one's name from "Malu Hwang" to "Nalu Hwang" to evade a sentence imposed upon Malu.

5. Using bomb threats to delay proceeding in court, prosecutors and the Office of the Ombudsman.

6. Surreptitiously inserting or substituting original specimens of signatures in any investigation or judicial proceeding so that it would match the signature of an impostor (sounds familiar, Mr. Nipa Hut?)

7. A police office taking a bribe for not appearing as a prosecution witness in a case he handled and brought to court.

8. Making death threats on a person to prevent him from appearing as a witness to a case.

9. An informant misleading investigating police officers by giving false leads or tips.

What did the journalists and media practitioners do that resulted in obstruction of justice, tell me?

What was also irritating during the Media in Focus episode was when Pagdilao said that journalists also committed violations of the Journalists' Code of Ethics (original and expanded version). What was was he talking about? Of course, he didn't cite any.

More importantly: Who is he to tell the press about journalism ethics? What, after the Nov. 29 incident, Pagdilao has suddenly become an ethics guru?

For his own sake, Pagdilao should refrain from talking about ethical violations allegedly committed by the press last Nov. 29. What he should do instead, apart from reading the Constitution, is to conduct an internal probe to check if the arresting officers last Nov. 29 followed the standard operating procedures and review how they handle similar incidents in the future. He said in Media in Focus that the police is doing an internal review. That's fine. But please, don't check if the press committed any ethical violation, as it is not your area of expertise. Instead, check if the police did not commit any violation, legal or otherwise.

I find it strange every time a government, police, or a military official, especially those without any inkling about the dynamics and ethics of the journalism profession, points out the ethical and professional malpractices of the press. Any journalist in his/her right sense of mind would allow him/herself to be lectured upon, especially by the government, on what they should do. Certainly not me.

Friday, December 07, 2007

To the people’s teacher, poet, friend and comrade

And to my former PI 100 professor, I salute you. May your fight continue to inspire us amid these dark times.

Farewell, Monico Atienza
Source: Antonio Zumel Center for Press Freedom
December 6, 2007

The Antonio Zumel Center for Press Freedom conveys its deepest condolence and sorrow to the family, colleagues and comrades of Prof. Monico Atienza. Ka Nic as he is fondly called passed away yesterday, December 5.

Ka Nic will be remembered for his intensity and determination to carry out the people’s interest even during the darkest hours of martial law. He suffered severe and grave physical and mental torture at the hands of the enemies upon his arrest in 1974. The brutal enemy tried to break him to betray the revolution and his comrades. But he stood firm and militant putting the safety and interest of the revolutionary movement and the comrades foremost in his mind.

Read here for more.

Arkibong Bayan has a two-part special tribute to Sir Nick. Sir Nick's photo above from Arkibong Bayan as well. reports his and fellow Prof. Rene Villanueva's deaths. Bulatlat's special report on Sir Nick here.

Sir Nick's wake lies at the UCCP (United Council of Churches of the Philippines) chapel along EDSA. Tomorrow at 8 am, his remains will be cremated. Photo of news clipping at left from Adarna's Attic.
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