The embargo

Only regained DSL last night, hence the hiatus (further delayed by the downpour and intermittent brownouts this afternoon!).

20080611_ces.jpgAs you can imagine, I’m one of those quite worried over the fate of Ces Drilon, who I personally like very much indeed. She’s a gutsy lady.

But the story of her kidnapping has become hopelessly intertwined with that of the news embargo, upon ABS-CBN’s request, that took place for much of Monday.

The self-censorship among media outfits actually stretched from Sunday to nearly all of Monday. According to Ding G. Gagelonia (blogging on June 10),

This running story first broke on the news wires of the Associated Press and is being carried both by the International Herald Tribune, with at least two local broadsheets bannering the report despite a news blackout clamped by police authorities and, in journalistic parlance, a story embargo requested by ABS-CBN, a practice normally honored by all journalists.

The embargo no longer being tenable, he briskly provided the details as they initially emerged:

However, with the AP having broken the embargo first and both Tribune and SunStar Daily Cebu running it, along with IHT, this writer is sharing these details, apart from having confirmed the same from my own sources in the mainstream working press in Manila:

Ces Drilon and her two-member news crew went missing Saturday, June 7 but our sources confirmed they had actually been “abducted” after ABS-CBN network receIved the ransom demand. The story was also broken to media by the ARMM police chief Joel Goltiao. A text message is making the rounds quoting a ransom price considerably higher than that being reported by the Daily Tribune.

It remains unclear but it is reported that a certain Mindanao State University Professor Octavio Dinampo was in touch or was travelling with the ABS-CBN team of Ces. My sources tell me Ces herself decuded last Saturday to go on the coverage based on the tip that an unnamed ASG personality was “going to surrender.”

From the media reports now emerging, on Sunday morning Dinampo picked them up from the Mindanao State University hostel, and armed men identified as being under a certain ASG commander Albader Parad intercepted them as their vehicle passed through Kulasi village, ARMM police chief Joel Goltiao said.

My own understanding is that is that it was the government station, NBN-4, and not the wire services that broke the story. It was the government that forced an end to the embargo by reporting the kidnapping of Ces Drilon and Co. on its Monday evening news program. Since news on a government station has an official nature to it, it’s logical to assume that it was then that the wire services, which I understand had been unable to obtain a statement from ABS-CBN up to that point, could run with the story.

So let me say first of all that government appeals for “restraint” are pure, unadulterated bullshit. You have a rare instance where media exercised prudence (not altogether altruistically, as I’ll explore in a bit) but government, always eager to appeal for “restraint,” jumped the gun… The reasons for this could range from malicious glee (no love lost either for the network or Drilon on the part of officialdom) to a general interest in beating the war drums in Mindanao to provide a distraction for economic issues and expand the President’s political and military (one and the same) options.

Still, for a time, an embargo was asked for, and respected, while ABS-CBN tried to downplay the story. This explains the befuddlement experienced by bloggers like AlternNation101 whose hackles were immediately raised by the network’s (uncharacteristic) discretion:

So is this true? If it is, then why is it not on the headlines? If it is not, then why is abs-cbnnews.com not denying it?

I may be wrong but if asked to bet, I will bet on this NOT being true. I suspect that ABS-CBN is doing some story on the Abu-sayyaf and would like to use some opportunity to sensationalize it. Perhaps even the Abu-sayyaf is in on it to have some publicity too..

Well, wrong. There was a kidnapping, but I don’t know if I entirely agree with Gagelonia (in a subsequent, and thorough, roundup on emerging details on the kidnapping) who says it’s this sort of speculation that discredits citizen journalism. I’m not so sure. It only points to media having to once again confront the insistence in some quarters that media not get any brownie points for the hazards that accompany the job for those in the field. That, and and the general confusion surrounding kidnappings. This inevitably fosters speculation which will be rife when news embargoes are in place. And it’s also true that confusion was fostered by the embargo.

I’ve been looking at various blogger’s reaction to the kidnapping of Ces Drilon, and considering how antagonistic non-media bloggers tend to be, I’m surprised they haven’t seized on the embargo issue more ferociously.

Splice and Dice raises three issues raised by the kidnapping: personal culpability; the fragility of the peace process; and media’s handling of the kidnapping of one of its own:

For one, Drilon resisted the security offered by the military before entering the den of the terrorists. There’s a reason there that, perhaps, only Drilon knows and can explain better, although it’s tempting to say that it may have something to do with lack of trust, or with the very reason why she had to trouble herself of venturing into hostile land. She perfectly knew the harm that could most probably come their way, and I suspect she could easily see that with half an eye, but she continued physically unprotected. Which is ironic because she’s been with the military and the Abu Sayyaf in separate occasions for a number of times already, which is enough to compel her to call upon the hand of God or of man to stand by her side half of the way.

But some say the circumstance that the “missing” folks now have is a win-win plot: they get to have an insider scoop into the heart of the renegades while the renegades get free publicity. There’s even a theory linking the government with the abduction. But I leave the reader’s imagination to go into those depths.

Two is that Octavio Dinampo, a professor and MNLF senior Shura member who convenes the Bantay Ceasefire, was also kidnapped, which is ironic in the sense that he’s been entangled in the mesh and mess he’s been trying to mediate. It may not be a sufficient premise to say that even the messenger gets to be shoved into dire circumstances at some point, but Dinampo would have expected the day that he will soon be skimmed and fried in his own fat long before somebody else could tell him. That is so especially in a country where mitigation through mediation has rarely succeeded entirely.

And three, the media which has sworn to protect the public by informing us in many ways is now the same media, or a portion of it, which has sought to withhold information about Ces Drilon and others while the rest of us grope in the darkness. It’s the same issue that has stirred a mild storm among the members of the media themselves, which is patent enough in a democracy divided in both flesh and substance. Some say it’s a matter of balancing public interest with private interest – public interest being the public as it is, and private interest being the family, corporate and genetic, of Drilon and her crew – in cases where the delicate balance between life and death or harm is as thin as impoverished limbs.

But of these, it’s the last that concerns us, here. As smoke noticed,

I was also struck by this unintended but no less blatant exercise of power to control what the public knows.

Both echo, ironically, what journalist Vergel Santos said was objectionable about the embargo: it was an effort by ABS-CBN to “manage” the news. It could only do so, by means of a fraternal appeal to rival news organizations.

Here’s the network’s party line: ABS-CBN explains news blackout on Ces Drilon. And here’s Why Inquirer didn’t run big story:

Ressa phoned the Inquirer on Monday to appeal for a news blackout until 6 a.m. Tuesday while negotiations for the release of the ABS-CBN team were ongoing.

She told Magsanoc that reporting the abduction would pose a danger to the lives of Drilon, Jimmy Encarnacion and Angelo Valderama.

Ressa said the news blackout was important because the network was afraid that other extremist groups in the area might take advantage of the situation.

In response to Magsanoc’s reservations about the news blackout, Ressa said she had also appealed to other newspapers, ABS-CBN’s rival network GMA 7, the wire service agencies and the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines to observe a news blackout.

The Inquirer editor in chief initially suggested that the blackout last only until midnight of Monday, but Ressa appealed for up to 6 a.m. of the next day. She said one of the network’s news executives would be flying to Sulu to help in the negotiations.

So is the issue the actual embargo? To me, the issues are:

1. Why did government intervene to break it?

2. Whether the partially successful embargo provides a precedent for future embargoes.

3. Why were media outfits, none of whom have any love for each other, willing to accede to ABS-CBN’s appeal?

Regarding the first: having been in some crisis situations myself, I can appreciate how difficult it is to balance the public interest with the need to safeguard your own, and this is particularly so when you’re trying to figure out how to keep the Abu Sayyaf from going berserk, while at the same time not adding fuel to the fire: an AFP and PNP humiliated by the recent bombings in Mindanao might be tempted to substitute blundering about for real sleuthing, and cause more harm than good.

After all, from the point of view of the military and the Abu, journalists are expendable.

Still, a reflection on when a personal tragedy involves a public crime: the embargo is ultimately only justifiable, in this instance, if it sets a precedent for all media to impose a news blackout in the first, say, 24-48 hours of a kidnapping –any kidnapping. That is, unless the family of a victim or the institution the victim is associated with (preferably, both) specifically authorizes the media to report on the case. There may be a justification for an abduction being reported from the get-go: to prevent the kidnap victim from being liquidated (for example, Lozada) but in other cases, where the kidnappers are well known and have a track record, reticence may be in order. This is what one journalist (who happens to be President of NUJP) has suggested.

Which makes the illogical behavior of the government logical only if you assume (as I do) that there are hawks in the administration happy over any mayhem in Mindanao.

Concerning the second issue, see Arlene dela Cruz’s They kept asking about ransom, TV journalist recalls which points to the debate that must have taken place in many a newsroom in the country, and where dela Cruz’s views must have been echoed time and again as editors pondered on whether to go for the story or respect Maria Ressa’s appeal:

A journalist following his or her instinct would file that story right away. But remembering what had happened to me, my unsolicited advice at this stage is to keep pertinent details of the negotiation confidential – if indeed there’s already one – to ensure the safety of Ces and her crew.

Institutionally, I’m assuming media won’t let the hunt for a story extend to actually jeopardizing the safety of hostages: as the Peninsula caper proved, it would not only be condemned by the authorities, and the victims’ families, but the public, too (And an individual, and not just institutional level, there’s also the sobering “there, but for the grace of God, go I,” moment experienced by Julie Alipapa, see her How Inquirer correspondent eluded abduction).

And as for the third, was it just a matter of journalists being clubby?

More of a case of solidarity in adversity, methinks. For one thing, they know what it’s like to have one of their own kidnapped by the Abu Sayyaf, who are not, shall we say, cuddly people. For a taste of things to come for Drilon, let’s return to what Arlene dela Cruz recounted:

One day, they blindfolded and interrogated me regarding the text messages I was still getting on my mobile phone. Later in the night they pushed me into a shallow pit – and then someone pissed on me.

In the next few days, they kept asking me about the ransom. The torment only subsided when they turned me over to another group around the first week of February.

The uneasy calm allowed for some conversation between me and a man named Lakandula, one of their leaders.

“When will you, reporters, stop writing stories about the fighting in Sulu? Is that all what you reporters are after?” Lakandula then wondered aloud. “You write your report and that’s it. It’s all just work for you. Is that it? Just another ‘scoop’ from Sulu?”

I remember the two of us having this exchange inside a hut, and outside we could see a group of women passing by.

“Do you see those women, their children? Every day they have to walk for several kilometers to draw water from the river. Why? Because they don’t have a source of water near their homes.”

(Revision to my original comment re: Philippine Commentary: he denies he thinks Drilon had it coming.)

I hope Ces will be OK. But there are many who would want things to turn out otherwise.

Postscript: Coffee With Amee points out,

One does not venture out into uncharted territory without knowing full well the risks involved. It wasn’t like the previous coverage of the Peninsula takeover incident where we saw Drilon running around in heels wearing a headband to get to interview Trillanes et al. That one was unplanned supposedly. This one, they knowingly went to the territory where it is known that kidnappings do happen.

Having said this, the conundrum is, you know what you’re getting into and now you’re faced with the worst case scenario. What to do? There’s no simple black or white answer (Like the New York cookie. Okay, bad insert, but I saw it on “Ugly Betty” last night and I realized how much I missed it even if it’s a hit-or-miss depending on where you buy it.) It’s a bit of a gray area.

Even what ABS CBN did on their behalf regarding the news blackout request is strictly off the textbooks and one where a journ professor will most probably tell his students that it depends on the situation.

If I were the editor, if I chose to honor the news blackout request, it would be for the reason that I personally know the journalists being held captive and that I’m personally concerned. But c’mon, given a nameless, faceless person in their stead, I would highly doubt that media would hold on to the news knowing full well the important value of the story.

On the other hand, if I were ABS CBN and there were indeed ongoing negotiations, would I have asked for a news blackout from colleagues? It would be hard to say. But most probably, no. Rather than have another news outlet report the incident with inaccurate information, I believe it would be best to release a statement from the network involved. That is, if it is indeed true that they will not be paying ransom to give in to the demands of the kidnappers.

A brief addendum, based on a conversation I had with a colleague yesterday.

1. Coming at the heels of the Peninsula Caper, the embargo will inspire the network’s critics to reassert their resentments and antipathy against journalists.

2. Having asked for a favor, ABS-CBN now owes the other networks and media outfits. Not a good situation, pragmatically to say the least.

3. The embargo as I said above, is only acceptable if it is taken, industry-wide, as laying down a precedent for all future coverage of all future kidnappings. Otherwise, it will simply reinforce the contempt of the network’s critics.

And, as The Warrior Lawyer asks, the dilemma now is, to pay or not to pay ransom? The government’s hands, in this case, are tied: it established giving in to ransom and other demands as government policy in the case of Iraq. Since it’s government that serves as the best deterrent to the natural instincts of private entities to ransom hostages, there isn’t any incentive for ABS-CBN to do otherwise.

133 comments

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  1. MLQ3,
    My post blames the Peace Processors like General Ben Muhammad Dolorfino who paid ransom for his own kidnapping, not Ces Drilon! The terrorists responsible are reportedly the same group that kidnapped Fr. Giancarlo Bossi, whom I suspect the Catholic Church also ransomed.

    I hope you will correct the misrepresentation of my post, though the title seems clear enough:
    Ces Drilon Is Paying For Coddling of Terrorists by Dureza, Dolorfino and Garcia

    Of course it all began also at Dos Palmas, when GMA ransomed her billionaire contributor Reghis Romero.

    I am deeply troubled by the taking of Ces Drilon, but I am a little puzzled at the NUJP’s statement that “there is no reason to kidnap journalists who are only after the truth”.

    Now this is pure moonbattery and indicative of the arrogant press. Why? are non journalists okay to kidnap because they are not after the ever loving truth like journalists are. Yecch!

    No one should be kidnapped and terrorists should not be paid ransom. Maybe that was the real reason for the embargo so ABSCBN could arrange it.

    Much as I sympathize with Ces (truly!) there are some awful realities about terrorism that the liberals just won’t accept. They don’t deserve to be kidnapped for it but here is the law they have created: every ransom paid sets up the next kidnapping.

    Blast the Church for ransoming the missionary. They are responsible for this to some extent, but noo, you think it’s just GMA’s way of diverting attention from her problems.

    C’mon MLQ3, let’s be clear who the real enemies are. It’s the terrorist bandits like Radulan Sahiron and Albader Parad.

  2. I found the NUJP statement particularly depressing and reprehensible as the implication is they think the ambuscades and beheadings last year were okay and our Marines had IT coming to them. Again, Yecch! Again, after Gen. Rodolfo Garcia was aired for 18 months intoning “We just want to find out who did the beheadings.” they never have, no one has been brought to justice for those inhumane atrocities by terrorist beasts and now the NUJP says crap like this. Double yecch! It’s Dolorfino, Dureza, and Garcia to blame, and yeah GMA too for dangling that entirely unconstitutional 1000 barangay Bangsamorostan she wants to setup for the New Maguindanao Confederacy of the mILF to turn Mindanao into Afghanistan.

    When will people wake up?

    • Bencard on June 11, 2008 at 8:21 pm

    i first heard of the “missing” abs-cbn crew in mindanao on sunday a.m. (our time) straight from the horse’s mouth and never heard of it since. i was wondering why the usually hysterical alarmists at the network were so quiet. now, it turns out to be a “news embargo” instigated by the same network.

    i’m not a big fan of ces drilon or her employer. her role in the manila pen caper (said to have acted as human shield for the perps), among others, shows how they operate. but i wouldn’t want anything bad to happen to her in the pursuit of her trade or her politics. kidnapping of anyone for ransom is a crime that cries out for extreme punitive justice.

    but to insinuate blame on the government for such a heinous act, or construing its call for “restraint” as an exhortation for self-censorship, is definitely a stretch. the suggestion that the administration is jumping out with glee over the incident is unmitigated bull, stemming from rabid partisanship if not downright irresponsibility.

    one thing is not clear to me. what’s the whole point of the attempted news blackout? how long did they expect to keep it a ‘known’ secret? has the media the power to turn the news on and off whenever it wants to?

    • PhilwoSpEditor on June 11, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    For the sake of person’s safety, I say ABSCBN did the right thing. It’s their responsibility, first and foremost to ensure the safety of their employees. It is their responsibility because they sent her there.

    Although blocking news from the general public is almost always against the concepts Media stands for, censorship for this case was excusable in my opinion.

    @DJB Rizalist

    “I am deeply troubled by the taking of Ces Drilon, but I am a little puzzled at the NUJP’s statement that “’there is no reason to kidnap journalists who are only after the truth’.”

    It’s troubling, but the saddest part is that the TRUTH is the reason why Journalists are being kidnapped or silenced. Or in the Govt’s case, it’s the reason why they keep on launching these issues that make them a bunch of prima donnas with crowns and positions.

    By the way, Terrorists aren’t the only enemies here, but the institutions that try to defy the voice and decision of the people. Get that thing clear. [I do have a grudge against those NBN people that made me look like some conformist idiotic student.]

  3. PhilwoSpEditor:

    With geniuses like Dureza, Dolorfino and Garcia, we are indeed our own worst enemy. It’s a vicious circle from kidnapping to ransom to kidnapping, with a lot of bleeding heart pity-the-poor-oppressed terrorist freedom fighters hand-wringing in between. But the Media must give up the illusion that it can stand above the fray, that their “search for the truth” benedights them somehow and makes them immune from the cruel realities of terrorism. Look at how, together with the Left, so many people in Media make absolutely no distinctions and blame the entire AFP and Police and Govt as being in cahoots on “extrajudicial killings”–yet they are ever so careful to distinguish the Abu Sayyaf, MILF and MNLF, who are really a menage-a-trois Jekyll and Hyde act. Until we accept that paying ransom is like throwing gasoline into a fire, we are condemned to suffer within that vicious circle.

    The same bunch did Fr. Bossi, who was released under suspicious circumstances to say the least. I’m convinced a ransom was paid after those Marines were beheaded and the peace processors stopped the police from serving arrest warrants on 110 of their “partners in the peace process”.

  4. I’m just wondering: how will a news blackout help?

    And another: if she’s somebody else and the family pleads media for a news blackout, will media take heed?

  5. Ricelander,
    If Ces Drilon were my sister or daughter, I’d be eager to do whateverit takes to get her back safe and sound, including paying ransom. I doubt that intellectual fortitude and the knowledge that paying ransom sets up the next kidnapping would not be able to overcome the emotion stirred by thoughts of what those inhuman monsters have done in the past and are capable of doing to her. So much as we might wish this was not happening, it is likely that the news blackout was to facilitate whatever negotiation and exchange is being required by the kidnappers, something impossible to do in the full glare of publicity. Just a theory. And I hope MLQ3 doesn’t think I’m just tsk tsking here. I know personally about cruel terror of kidnapping. It’s as tragic, if not more, than outright murder. And yeah, the Islamos and the CPP NPA do it all the time, to policemen, soldiers, farmers and plain ordinary nonjournalistic folks, but the Media does its own tsk tsking on those occasions, very professionally and code of ethically at that.

    It’s to do with not accepting the existence of a state of war that is not of our choosing, but also is outside of our ability to wish away. It’s a war whose existence we deny only at our own peril.

  6. Here’s something to think about —

    http://villageidiotsavant.blogspot.com/2008/06/shoe-on-other-foot.html

    • BrianB on June 11, 2008 at 10:47 pm

    Iba talaga friendship network. Mas effective pa kesa kung nasa side ka nang batas. By all means, let’s make exceptions to all our friends so we can all go to Pinoy Heaven.

    • Silent Waters on June 11, 2008 at 10:55 pm

    That requested embargo was the greatest bullshit request made by media ever made. Why is it if ordinary folks (and by ordinary I mean “kidnappables”) are abducted, and requests are made by relatives and friends of said kidnap victim to stay quiet are allowed to be ignored, pero kung media, dapat nasunod??? That just tells me more how media view themselves as being higher beings from us mortals. PULLEEZZZZ

    • BrianB on June 11, 2008 at 10:56 pm

    DJB, agree. Dapat talagang murahin mga journalist nun.

    They acted like cowardly peacekeeprs, yung mga tipong basta peace at whatever cost. Pipigilan nalang nila kung sino ang pwede nilang pigilan. Yung mga totoong criminal na ayaw nilang pigilan, iniispoil nila.

    Peace advocates like these probably have never been into a fist fight. For peace, you need to stop criminals even if criminals are monolithic like these hacenda owners. Justice gives peace.

    • Silent Waters on June 11, 2008 at 10:58 pm

    Agree ako sa sinabi mo ricelander…..kaya nga galit ako sa journalists kasi feeling nila iba dapat trato sa kanila…

    • BrianB on June 11, 2008 at 10:59 pm

    I am not saying they are bad people but they are not thinking properly. They are letting fear of death cloud their judgments.

    • Bencard on June 11, 2008 at 11:01 pm

    how can censorship, whether or not self-imposed, served the interest and safety of a person kidnapped? would it impel the kidnappers not to make good their threats if their demands were not met? what a cockamamie idea. the media should be the first to realize that you cannot hide events that the public wants, and has the right, to know. media people should not be heard to complain when the shoe is on the other foot.

    • BrianB on June 11, 2008 at 11:02 pm

    Silent,

    Pa-elite din kasi itong mga journalist. Just because sometimes they hob-knob with the rich and Cokeheads elite na din daw sila. They should watch the movie “The Paper” again. remember what Duvall said to Glenn Close? I paraphrase: “You may rub shoulders with them in cocktail parties but you are not one of them and shouldn’t try to be one of them.

    • Silent Waters on June 11, 2008 at 11:13 pm

    BrianB

    You’re certainly correct. Actually, I don’t find it wrong if the request was made to protect the journalist, but sana they should also be able then to follow the request of other kidnap victims’ relatives and friends. Eh, nakikipag unahan pa sila sa pag scoop ng mga ongoing na pangyayari di ba? ANg point, dapat patas ang pagtrato. It shouldn’t matter whether rich or poor, civilians, military or what have you, etc. Pero sa totoo lang, it’s always about an angle they need to exploit to advance their networks/media entities. Tignan mo ang nangyari sa Dos Palmas and you’ll know what I mean.

    • BrianB on June 11, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    Lokohan lang yan. Lahat sila gustong maging elite. If you know some of them especially the not-very-subtle ones akala mo parak.

    • Chabeli on June 11, 2008 at 11:42 pm

    When I heard the news that Ces was “kidnapped”, I was horrified. I could not believe it was true. Having known her for several years, it’s an undescribable feeling when someone you actually know has been abducted, after all, there is a big difference when you know OF a person versus knowing the person. I can’t say we are the best of friends, but I can say she a real friend. Thank goodness it was a weekend when I heard about the horrible news because I had the time to allow myself to feel what I was feeling. Had it been a work day, it would have been tough at work for me. I must admit it was unbelievable at first, & so I called her on her cell phones. Her phones were turned off. That’s when I felt scared actually – & then my imagination had all these wild thoughts of she being harmed; wondering whether she was okay. I could only do so much in getting information. I was afraid that no was supposed to know yet. Like many here in Ellensville, I too, wondered why the news black out ?

    Some days have passed already since Ces & her crew have gone missing. All I can actually do is pray like several of you have mentioned. If I am feeling worried, that is only an iota of what her family must be feeling.

    One thing I know though is that Ces is a real friend any one could have. At this point, I think it’s best to think that this particular episode will be her biggest scoop !

    I can’t wait to hear her laughter again !

    • cvj on June 11, 2008 at 11:57 pm

    Chabeli, i agree. Let’s pray this issue gets resolved peacefully.

    • BrianB on June 12, 2008 at 12:15 am

    I don’t understand the arrogance of a community, an institution that makes exceptions to principles long established by people far wiser than they ever will be. This is a betrayal of public trust. They keep doing this more people will be put in harm’s way. You can debate the rest of the journalistic world about it if you want, the Philippine media is wrong to make this exception. They show weakness, they show they cannot be trusted. Everyone becomes their enemy. Puro kayo sympathy sa mga special individuals, what you do not know is that by giving special privileges to one person, you are inconveniencing thousands.

    All your education did not teach you how to think.

    • Chabeli on June 12, 2008 at 12:57 am

    Ooops, should read: Like many here AND in Ellensville, I too, wondered why the news black out ?

  7. @BrianB

    Correct me if I am wrong, but I am getting the impression that you’re all for letting Ms Drilon fry in hostile waters. because she should not be an exception; that no blackout should have been made (assuming there was, or is, considering the fact that there were “leaks” almost everywhere) just because she’s “just” Ces Drilon.

    By saying “just” I can feel a tingle in my spine, and it isn’t comfortable, but that’s another story.

    So, BrianB, am I getting the right signal? Or would you be kind enough to straighten things out for me as I’m not the wise one here.

    • PhilwoSpEditor on June 12, 2008 at 1:39 am

    Ok, I get the point about this so called ‘special treatment’ with the news blackout and its the fault of those who started it and implemented the request, but how do we go about it? Should the gov’t create or implement policies that go with ‘no negotiations with kidnappers’?

    Terrorists aren’t supposed to be negotiated with, but to resort with brute force? I doubt that would solve anything either. It all goes down to lesser evil and what the prima donnas from both sides want to choose.

    • Silent Waters on June 12, 2008 at 1:48 am

    @splice

    I think BrianB is just making the point na dapat walang special. Everybody should be treated the same…meaning if media requires a news blackout for their kind, it should alos do the same for others when a request is made. Point being, huwag mong sabihin porke’t journalist ka, special ka.

    • Silent Waters on June 12, 2008 at 1:51 am

    At the end of the day, it’s part of the hazards of the job di ba? You go into harm’s way deliberately, then the possibility exists that you’ll get harmed. (extreme examples are those journalists killed/maimed in Iraq).

    Of course we wish them to be safe. But then again, their hunger to scoop a story may have gotten the better of their judgement.

    • Silent Waters on June 12, 2008 at 1:58 am

    In fact, the only reason why this is big news is because SHE is Ces Drilon. Eh what if it’s just a “lowly” journalist…baka isang araw lang na balita…then kalimutan na….

    • supremo on June 12, 2008 at 2:04 am

    This incident only shows that the national government is weak and cannot implement the rule of law in every corner of the Philippines.

    • BrianB on June 12, 2008 at 2:48 am

    A journalist, who’s job it is to put herself under harm’s way is now the de facto Queen of this country and her Majersty’s reporters have shown what their priorities really are: not their jobs, not tested and proven journalistic policies but the Queen. Ang problema daming Queen… Jessica Soho, Tina Palma, Korina Sanchez, etc.

    • hawaiianguy on June 12, 2008 at 2:49 am

    supremo,

    If you remember, no less than Gloria herself proudly said, in a TV footage (I recall, from ABS-CBN), to the Abu Sayyaf: “Isang bala lang kayo.” Since then, however, the military have been bragging around that they would eliminate the Abu Sayyaf within a year or two. Well, it’s now 2008 and those bad guys are still there pestering not only the govt (remember the Basilan beheading of the marines?) but also civilians who stray into their lair.

    Now, who says the govt has done its job to liquidate terrorism?

    • grd on June 12, 2008 at 2:54 am

    supremo, that fact is no secret. the govt cannot dis-arm the muslims in muslim mindanao. plus there’s the communist rebels. there’s also these rich influential people who get away with their crimes like former batangas governor leviste.

    as per gma-news, ransom demand is 10 million pesos and reportedly abs-cbn will not pay due to its “no ransom” policy.

    one of abs-cbn reporters, ma-an macapagal was also abducted before. was there a news embargo also that time? did abs-cbn impose their “no ransom” policy? maybe they paid for her “board and lodging” only.

    • BrianB on June 12, 2008 at 2:55 am

    Kung policy nila is to delay reporting kidnappings, especially terrorist kidnappings, dapat noon palang ginawa na nila. Pinapakita lang nila, walang kwenta mga Pilipino. Ang may kwenta lang kapamilya at kaibigan nila.

    Bullshit talaga mga pinoy na to. Puro bullshit ang utak. I can understand ABS doing this for an important member of their organization, but the newspapers? Inquirer? Pag ako kinidnap nang mga Abu, media blackout din ba kayo? Ano ako aso? Si Ces, ano? Santo? Hindi naman inosenteng tao yan si Ces, alam nya pinuntahan nya.

    You’ve just made the kidnappers very powerful, ore powerful than the President or the people of this country. You know as well as I do maski 85 million pang tao ang mag request nang media blackout hindi nyo gagawin. Pero dahil may feelings kayo kay Ces ginawa nyo ang imposible.

    Do you guys know how improbable this media silence is? Tatlong araw walang may nag-report, maski blogger!

    • BrianB on June 12, 2008 at 3:02 am

    He said asking other media to embargo a story on the abduction of their staff was not company policy. “It will be on a case-to-case basis.”

    yeah if you’re not as charming as Ces, sorry nalang. I think they should just pay. They’ve done worse already. ten million lang naman eh. Isang bwan na cocaine lang yan.

    • BrianB on June 12, 2008 at 3:21 am

    splice,

    I care that the kidnappers would get rich again. I care that a reporter is in danger. I care about all those kidnapped. Dapat nga bayaran na lang nila. baliktad utak nitong abs. They’d rather go on a news embargo eh journalist sila but won’t pay eh hindi naman sila police.

    • supremo on June 12, 2008 at 3:53 am

    Are there insurance companies in the Philippines that offer kidnap insurance?

    mlq3,

    Is this part of your benefits at ANC?

    • d0d0ng on June 12, 2008 at 4:05 am

    Kidnapping for ransom is a big business in Muslim Mindanao. The No-Ransom-policy is all just propaganda. Even the Burnhams could have not been released without US dollar paid.

    The Philippine government has just spoken from its tough horseshit mouth for rescue, no-ransom and destroy the terrorists. Ahem. Even with US military support and special forces, the ASG has continued to operate with impunity even with the presence of large Philippine government troops in the south. With the departure of tired foreign peacekeepers, the Muslim south is on the path of war again after repeatedly ignored by the Imperial Manila.

    The funny thing, media and bloggers alike are talking of news embargo. He-he-he.

    • KG on June 12, 2008 at 4:26 am

    Right now I would want to agree with what Brian B is saying, but he also said he’s a humanist.
    Is being a humanist defined as removing all emotions and act like MR. Spock evrytime at dapat what’s good for the goose…..

    On friends and family.

    Ako din siguro I could talk like bakit me special special.

    On the debate on overkills,I would not like to join dahil me pinsan ako naratrat na ng swat.

    oh what about that marine beheadings me kaibigan din ako nabehead not the latest one,but on the early nineties.

    sa coups, me kinakapatid ako at me kasama pa sya na sinamahan pa namin para lang makapagtest sa pma at years before that mga ama naman ng mga barkada ko yung involved.And years before that tatay ko pa ang nag court martial sa mga gma 7 incident.

    it is not easy to be “humanist” pag kamag anak,kaibigan o kakilala mo na ang involved.

  8. You know what? Whatever way this thing ends, ABS-CBN wins. And for the public, it’ll just be another spectacle to gawk at.

    Everybody wins. Guess who loses…

    • d0d0ng on June 12, 2008 at 4:40 am

    supremo on, “Are there insurance companies in the Philippines that offer kidnap insurance?”

    Wow, I will be surprised if there is one that can survive the kind of business in Mindanao. Imagine, not only ransom indemnity but it has to reimburse payments to the military and police. Double whammy! Aray!

    • BrianB on June 12, 2008 at 5:02 am

    supremo,

    Di daw nila policy mag bayad nang ransom, pero policy nilang pumili nag i-rireport. Parang pulitiko din itong journalists na to. Gagawa nang di tama tapos irarationalize lang nila sa publiko at gagawin pa tayong mga bobo.

    • BrianB on June 12, 2008 at 5:15 am

    “Everybody wins. Guess who loses…”

    Er, is it you? But you’re right in the other things you say about Pinoys. They just lack sincerity, earnestness and the only things that have serious imports are family, friends like Ces Drilon and money like that 10 million php that pinoys rufuse to part with. Policies, principles, the law and even religion are not serious enough for Pinoys. And when I’m talking about Pinoys I really mean Filipinos… the true “Filipinos,” to be exact. Yung mga anak ng mga insulares.

    • d0d0ng on June 12, 2008 at 5:43 am

    hawaiianguy on, “who says the govt has done its job to liquidate terrorism?”

    Never happened in Philippine history. The military establishment has become a bureaucratic monster feeding on the national budget with its largest share (that should have gone to basic necessities of the masses) and the foreign military aid. The country spend so much money on fighting its own people. Time and time again, the military generals were boasting to crush the enemies during their tenure, and yet the old war continues. Like the proverbial leeches, the military in order to become relevant needs its war against the ASG and NPA.

    And if that is not enough, the military sometimes flexes its muscles against the civilian authority (coup rumors) to ensure its budget. A different twist of homegrown terrorism.

  9. The Human Security Act is relevant and applicable. But I remember many long threads on this blog arguing the “definition of terrorism”. Yet I doubt such disquisitions would have any value now. Like pornography, also hard to define, we do know terrorism when we see it.

    Yet look at that law: it is impossible to implement now because of the amendments and “human rights protections” built into it by Nene Pimentel and Comrade Jamby Madrigal, and the rest of the unmugged Liberals in the Congress, who basically passed a Terrorists Bill of Rights. Also, I’m looking at my file of choice quotations from PDI, ABSCBN, bloggers and others holding forth on the subject. Yet I would be sick at heart to throw it in their faces now, knowing how unnecessary and superfluous it would be. I am sure overhearing one’s former thoughts and statements ought to be enough to bring about catharsis and self-discovery. (Or maybe not…!)

    As the old saying goes, a conservative is just a liberal who’s gotten mugged. Lots of armchair humanitarians and liberals will be transformed by this perhaps, (though less at Ellenville where they’re going off into ozonic tangents as usual).

    One myth that must be blown up is that ASG is somehow different from MILF and MNLF. It’s a lethal distinction lots of people have bought into, much like the distinction between the CPP NPA and its front organizations and rival movements, distinctions we do not accord the govt, military or police.

    The key thing to observe is that our “partners in the peace process” never help in turning in or apprehending the “lost commands”, “lawless elements” or “bandits” — labels that are the banners of political correctness unfurled because they refuse to call a spade a spade.

    I don’t think liberals in the press will ever read Luwaran dot com in quite the same way again.

    It is times like this when people must confront their own worst fears in order to discover what they truly believe. It’s tragic that we only seem to learn the hard way.

    The govt certainly deserves a lot of blame for this, though not the troops on the ground. It’s the “intellectuals” like GMA, Dureza, Garcia, Dolorfino, who’ve been pressured, constrained, influenced by the Mass Media itself and other “intellectuals” who cannot see or think straight…until the truck coming down the road hits them square in the face.

    Connect the dots from Reghis Romero, to Angelo de la Cruz, to Sipadan, to Dos Palmas, to Lamitan, to Arlyn de la Cruz. I just hope we all get the picture…the terrorists have declared war on human civilization, even their own, but selfk-defense begins at home.

    • BrianB on June 12, 2008 at 6:34 am

    Ganito mga journalists sa Pinas. Kung maliit ka, they’ll think nothing of stealing from you or threatening you with a lawsuit if you complain.

    http://www.photo.net.ph/blogalicious/2008/06/09/philippine-photographer-sues-major-daily-for-copyright-infringement/

    Kung malaking tao ka and they are your friend, they are the kindest, most righteous people in the world. Kung malaking tao ka and they are your enemy, they will act like martyrs putting themselves in harms way for truth and the people daw.

    • BrianB on June 12, 2008 at 6:48 am

    “In this sense, the decision among rival media outfits to respect ABS-CBN’s request for an embargo means that a policy shift has taken place. An embargo should now be standard operating procedure for all the media in the initial hours of a kidnapping.”

    Wow, this is so logical. SO LOGICAL I WONDER WHY NO ONE AMONG THE MEDIA REALIZED THIS SOONER… LIKE A HUNDRED YEARS AGO. This proves to me one thing, Manolo and others… you only care about yourselves. Lumabas kulay nyo.

    • nash on June 12, 2008 at 6:50 am

    Root Cause Analysis: Who, in the first place institutionalised the ‘paying of ransom’?

    Aba, magandang cottage industry pala itong kidnapping because it pays dividends…

    ASG, MILF are plain bandits. Wala namang ipinaglalaban mga yan ideologically etc..ek-ek…they are simply capitalists who have found a lucrative business.

    • BrianB on June 12, 2008 at 7:06 am

    Kunwari policy shift. In the past, when police or families of KFR victims plead silence media ignore them. Because media don’t care about those people, they are not famous journalists. In today’s Inquirer Editorial, magulo daw masyado yung area of kidnapping. Magulo ba talaga or maybe you are just morphing the truth to justify the embargo? Anger the terrorists if you reported the kidnapping? Wah? They are terrorists. Kaya nga media kinidnap nila para pagusapan. Come on, now I don’t know if you are lying without shame or just continuing your bullshit?

    Ang title, akalain mong ito : Judgement Call

    Kaya nga may mga policies, journalists are not supposed to make that kind of judgment call. Hindi ad hoc mga principles na yan. Matagal dinivelop yan. panahon pa yan nina Socrates.

    Now I wonder if the Philippine media can actually maintain this new SOP daw.

    • BrianB on June 12, 2008 at 7:08 am

    Manolo, wag nyo nang hintayin pagsabihan pa kayo nang mga Kano na mali ginawa nyong lahat.

    • BrianB on June 12, 2008 at 7:10 am

    <blockquote?We are, however, duty-bound to do unto others as we would do unto ourselves.

    Methinks thou protest too much. Gets nyo?

    • djb_uang on June 12, 2008 at 7:57 am

    djb rizalist wrote earlier:

    “I am deeply troubled by the taking of Ces Drilon, but I am a little puzzled at the NUJP’s statement that “there is no reason to kidnap journalists who are only after the truth”.

    Now this is pure moonbattery and indicative of the arrogant press. Why? are non journalists okay to kidnap because they are not after the ever loving truth like journalists are. Yecch!”

    this is typical of the idiocy of this guy djb rizalist. are you plain stupid or you intentionally misread the NUJP’s statement to justify your hopelessly senseless rant? read the statement for what it says, NOT FOR WHAT YOU THINK IT SAYS OR DOESN’T SAY!

    you’re a rabble-rouser, djb rizalist, i get that, but be a sensible rabble-rouser. or are you just trying to bait people into picking an online fight with you (in the hope perhaps that they visit your blog)?

    also, mlq3, the reason the government broke the embargo is simple: it’s not required to observe that embargo in the first place. the embargo was just for media, period.

    • cvj on June 12, 2008 at 8:18 am

    Isn’t NBN-4 part of media?

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