In Spain, Arroyo gets Medalla de Oro for defending human rights (stupid comment by ignorant Philippine ambassador, comparing the university award with the US Congressional gold medal; in the study of these things, that would be like comparing a Rotary award with a Royal Knighthood, there’s no comparison). In Mindanao, Catholics afraid of Muslim homeland deal. And in business, Is a deal looming with Danding?
And After Hugo Châvez’s defeat in a constitutional referendum, where next for Venezuela? A particularly relevant article is Venezuela Is Not Florida, which explains the virtues of the electronic voting system used in Venezuela.
See also an interesting Slate blog entry on how old pros in American politics are abandoning their political careers to become lobbyists.
My column today is The ones who got in the way.
It makes reference to Freedom of Expression: Is There a Difference Between Speech and Press from the Cornell University Law School’s Legal Information Institute website; see also the Wex article on the First Amendment to the US Constitution. In Nouriel Roubini’s blog, Financial Crisis and Economic Hard Landing Outlook.
See also ABS-CBN news execs claw at gov’t officials in dialogue and Gonzalez ups pressure on defiant TV networks and the more circumspect report, Media warned of ‘next time:
Puno said under present laws, that appeared not to have been implemented in previous times even during martial law, “mere presence” of journalists in a crime scene may be seen as “obstructing justice.”
But the media executives fired back, asserting that the presence of journalists in a crime scene is in the performance of their “duty to the people” and that journalists are empowered by the Constitution in its freedom of the press clause as well as the Bill of Rights.
In a conflict between the Constitution and laws enacted by Congress or any lawmaking body, according to legal observers, the Constitution always prevails.
Puno mellowed his stand, saying that while law enforcers fully respect the rights of the press, “both sides should recognize that there is a need to strike a balance between the exercise of press freedom and the government’s duty to protect the citizenry from lawless elements such as those behind the Manila Peninsula siege.”
He said the police upholds the right of the press to inform the public “subject to its standard procedures in police operations, that is why members of the media who were brought to Bicutan were immediately released after they were properly identified and no charges were filed against any of them.”
He also asserted the police ‘had not curtailed the right of the press to disseminate information, but only restricted the gathering of information that could compromise ongoing police operations following the surrender of Trillanes and his group.”
Puno also noted that journalists taken to Bicutan “were those who had insisted on surrounding Trillanes, which provided him with a protective cordon even after police officers were already implementing a lawful order to arrest him.”
He added other journalists who left the hotel when the police appealed to them to do so “were allowed to leave the hotel and not taken to Camp Bagong Diwa for processing.”
“Several Magdalo rebels,” Puno said, “took advantage of the confusion that reigned following the surrender of Trillanes by removing their military uniforms and wearing press IDs to elude arrest.”
He noted that under PNP Memorandum Circular 2006-09-01 issued last year, the processing and debriefing following a crisis situation should include all hostages and victims, perpetrators, witnesses and key participants in the incident.
The PNP circular on crisis management likewise states that “the rights and duties of media personalities in collecting information shall cease the moment a lawful order for them to vacate the crime scene is given so that legitimate police operation will be able to step in to solve the incident.”
The circular further states the venue of the processing and debriefing and investigation “shall be at [sic] friendly ground and secured place, preferably at the police headquarters to be determined by the Ground Commander.”
Puno said the above quoted circular was the reason why, instead of immediately releasing the journalists at the scene of the Manila Peninsula siege following the surrender of Trillanes, Brig. Gen. Danilo Lim and their cohorts, the PNP transported reporters to Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan for processing, after which they were immediately released.
Incidentally, the above answers the questions raised by reader Geo in a long discussion we had in yesterday’s entry, one which exasperated reader ay_naku. A veteran’s take on the matter was in the column of Amando Doronila earlier this week. A very eloquent blog entry is by Miko Samson, a student journalist. In his column, Tony Abaya asks why no one went to the Peninsula:
The Filipino electorate has matured substantially. In the 2007 senatorial elections, movie stars fared badly and candidates who spent lavishly were not necessarily elected. Voters no longer attended political rallies to get to know the candidates. Instead they listened to public affairs talk shows on television to see and hear what the candidates had to say about the issues of the day.
Trillanes was the exception that proved the rule. Despite his almost total absence from the talk shows — because he was in detention for the 2003 Oakwood Mutiny — he was elected because he was young, he was good-looking, and he had the credentials of a rebellious underdog, all of which connected him with the generally young electorate.
But after that, he settled into relative obscurity, once in a while issuing predictable statements against the corruption in the Arroyo government, without really emerging as an exciting new force in Philippine politics. Unlike his glib kuya Gringo Honasan, Trillanes never mastered the art of public speaking and his oral statements, even during the stand-off, came out flat and uninspiring.
Together with two friends, I had the opportunity to talk to Trillanes for more than an hour in the Marine brig in Fort Bonifacio about five months ago. I tried to sense what it was in him that enticed 11 million Filipinos to vote for him last May, and frankly I am still not sure I know…
What he had and has is youthful idealism and a sincere abhorrence of the moral bankruptcy of the present order, but which, however, are fatally tarnished by his lead role in the Oakwood Mutiny of 2003, which was meant (didn’t he know?) to restore to power the then accused (now convicted) plunderer Joseph Estrada.. If he did not know that he was being used then, has he grown any wiser since? How does he reconcile this moral dichotomy?
Not having any original ideas of his own — other than generic ones about corruption and poverty and injustice — he would be totally dependent on his advisers in the highly unlikely event that he became head-of-state of this country. And who would these advisers be?
Judging from the civilian company that he chose to keep during his Moment of Truth, this would include lawyers J. V. Bautista and Argee Guveara… And there is Dodong Nemenzo, former president of UP and former associate member of the Politburo of the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas.
Juan Mercado eloquently presents People Power as tide of history but also, a genie that can’t be summoned at the drop of a hat.
Contrasting views on the Alston Report from Philippine Commentary and Torn and Frayed (I totally disagree on the issue with Philippine Commentary, just as we disagree on the worthiness of national security as a concept, on the value of the “presumption of regularity” when it comes to government officials, etc.).
Phoenix Eyrie, Reloaded, on the divisions within the Liberal Party. Shrewd observations (again, full disclosure: I’m a member of the LP think tank, NIPS, though I’m not a party member). In her blog, smoke says the candidates need to become very, very specific.
Blog@AWB Holdings on the Sumilao farmers’ futile visit to the Senate.
This made me laugh: blogspotting.
Senor Enrique goes to the Rizal Shrine with one of the hero’s grandnephews.