Sunday, November 27, 2011

Dacer-Corbito Case against Ping Lacson

By Perfecto T. Raymundo Jr.

The Supreme Court (SC) has denied with finality the motion for reconsideration (MR) filed by the Dacer family against Senator Panfilo "Ping" Lacson in connection with the murder of noted publicist Salvador "Bubby" Dacer and his driver Emmanuel Corbito in November 2000.

In a one-page minute resolution, the SC 1st Division dismissed the MR of the Dacer family on the earlier decision of the SC, which affirmed the ruling of the Court of Appeals (CA).

The CA had dismissed the double-murder charges filed against Lacson.

Likewise, the SC also dismissed the petition of the Dacer family for the conduct of an oral argument for lack of merit.

It can be recalled that in the CA ruling, it exonerated the then Presidential Anti-Organized Crime Task Force (PAOCTF) chief and concurrent Philippine National Police (PNP) chief and now Senator Lacson for lack or probable cause.

Media’s right to self regulation

By Saul E. Pa-a

"The Aquino administration shall continue to respect media's right to self regulation by resisting any attempts, whether through legislative or executive means, to censor or curtail freedom of the press."

Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Sonny Coloma underscored this in his keynote address and congratulatory message Friday delivered by Assistant Secretary for Media Operations Zaldy de Layola before the newly-inducted officers, board of directors and members of the Confederation of Active Media Practitioners Organization Inc. (CAMPO) Calabarzon at the Batangas Provincial Capitol auditorium here.

De Layola represented the Communications Secretary who was in Legaspi City Friday as part of President Benigno Aquino III's Cabinet entourage for the First National Media Conference on Climate Change Adaptation.

Coloma urged the media "to appoint or institute a "news ombudsman" within the ranks of their members, which shall act as the "listeners or viewers" advocate in instances where media abuse is blatant and unwarranted" and to continue with more vigor the legacy of ethical service to the Filipino people.

The CAMPO officers and directors took their oath before Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto and witnessed by Assistant Secretary de Layola, Vice Governor Mark Leviste, National Press Club (NPC) vice president Marlon Purificacion, Director Brando Merrera and Assistant Director Danny Jamora of the PCOO - News and Information Bureau. Local government, police and military officials also attended the media-studded event.

CAMPO, which celebrated its first founding anniversary this year, is a prime mover organization of quad-media practitioners in the Southern Tagalog provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon.

Coloma expressed optimism for CAMPO as a gathering of the finest minds in the quad media and other affiliate businesses who are in the best leverage "to institute the necessary regulations and limitations to police their ranks including advertisements which tend to offend, corrupt and defile the sensibilities of the listening and viewing public" and cautioned however that "in a morally upright society, creativity also has its boundaries."

Stressing President Aquino's pivotal role as chief communicator of the Executive Branch and the administration's platform of governance that puts premium towards the policy of openness, transparency, accountability and candor in dealing with media inquiries, Coloma elaborated Presidential policy decisions for the government communications arm to be attuned to the vast changing media milieu brought about by cutting edge technological advancement such as the internet and the overarching "need to engage the people in a dynamic, personal and interactive manner".

Recognizing that the unbridled, robust and dynamic press is essential to nation-building and media power institutes societal change, Coloma said the communications department has been at the forefront in advocating proposed measures concerning Access to Information on Matters of Public Concern or the popularly known Freedom of Information Act, as he considers "an informed citizenry is essential to the proper functioning of democracy and that the right of information is indispensable to the people's effective participation in governance."

Two years since the grim incident occurred in Maguindanao, the government has been directing local law enforcement authorities and the military for closer collaboration on the case.

Coloma said the communications functionaries have declared "support for live coverage of the Maguindanao massacre trial in the true spirit of transparency and work closely with various media organizations in drafting the media coverage guidelines during hostage situations".

The country is one of the signatories to the 1949 Geneva Convention and the 1997 Additional Protocol on the Protection of Victims of Non-International Armed Conflicts. In adherence to the United Nations convention, Coloma emphasized that "the government regards journalists and reporters as civilians who should be accorded protection against any threat or acts of violence".

He pointed out that the "media parameters are not meant to disrupt media's ability to perform its task of covering and delivering the news to the public during hostage situations".

He added that the guidelines are also "in response to the public clamor for greater restraint especially if a live broadcast shall be detrimental to the peaceful resolution of a crisis".

Coloma also underscored the government's continuing support for the media organizations, civil society organizations and professional groups "for media opportunities to upgrade their skills and essential disciplinary knowledge and to attend regional and international exchanges and programs".

Likewise, he assured government partnerships with media owners in "crafting policies to ensure health and safety of their staff including temporary and freelance employees" and in "instituting mechanisms that elevate the media industry to be at par with its international counterparts."