[STATEMENT] NUJP on Secretary Aguirre’s ‘misquoted’ destabilization plot accusation

[STATEMENT] NUJP on Secretary Aguirre’s ‘misquoted’ destabilization plot accusation
June 8, 2017

No, Mr. Justice Secretary Vitaliano Aguirre II, we the media will not be the scapegoats as you try to weasel your way out of your latest bout of foot-in-mouth disease.

“Hindi ko malaman why after they went there nagkagulo na after two weeks,” said Aguirre as he showed to the media the supposed photo of opposition lawmakers’ May 2 meeting with prominent families in Marawi City. “Sinabi sa akin they met with several families there, kasama na mga Lucman… meron nga members ng mga Alonto. But I don’t want to connect it [to the Marawi City crisis] unless there is evidence doon sa money taken.”

You lie when you claim you were “misquoted” when you lied about the fictitious meeting between opposition politicians and prominent Marawi clans that you then attempted to portray as a prelude to the continuing battle between government forces and extremist gunmen.

There was no misquotation. Your words were recorded on video and audio. So, no, you are not passing the buck on to reporters who did what they are supposed to do – accurately report your official acts and pronouncements.

It is bad enough that you have shown no qualms about throwing the law, the truth and justice out the window in your headlong rush to persecute – sorry, prosecute – perceived foes of the administration.

But trying to blame others for your blunders unmasks you as a mean-spirited coward.

Ryan Rosauro
NUJP Hotline No. 09175155991

[STATEMENT] NUJP on Sec. Abella’s ‘fake news’ remarks

May 30, 2017

[STATEMENT] NUJP on Sec. Abella’s ‘fake news’ remarks

We acknowledge Palace spokesman Ernesto Abella’s admonition for the media to accurately report on what is happening, not just in Marawi City but throughout the country, in a highly fluid situation where developments unfold at breakneck and, admittedly, often confusing speed.

Which is why we exhort our colleagues to exercise extreme care in ensuring that unfolding events are reported to our audiences as accurate as possible; and, in the event we commit mistakes in the heat of the moment, to immediately acknowledge and correct these, something that Inquirer.net did last week.

But we do find it disingenuous of Mr. Abella to address his appeal solely to – presumably private – media and not include the government’s own news outfits and, especially, the default “official sources” in the civil and security establishments who have often been at loggerheads, making often contradictory pronouncement and, worst, deliberately spreading wrong or totally false information even before the start of the emergency that prompted the declaration of martial law over Mindanao.

Do we even need to remind Mr. Abella of the Philippine News Agency’s seemingly deliberate attempt to manipulate the truth through its fake news stories? While it has yet to apologize for, or even acknowledge, the story on the supposed declaration by United Nations Member States that extrajudicial killings do not exist in the country, PNA has yet again tried to mislead the public by using a photo of an American soldier in Vietnam to depict “urban warfare” in Marawi.

Photo by Tonyo Cruz

And do we need to remind the secretary of President Rodrigo Duterte himself reporting the beheading of a police officer who turned up very much alive a couple of days later?

Which is why we find it utterly despicable of Mr. Abella and AFP spokesman Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla to warn of fake news and threaten censorship or even arrests—to do so is nothing but a bald threat against the freedom of the press and of free expression.

No, sirs, you have no call to tell us what or what not, when or when not, to report, especially not if the very government and institutions you serve, which we are obliged to treat as official sources, cannot even ensure the accuracy of the information your provide.

Instead, we urge — no, in fact we demand — that you tighten your acts and provide our people with information that is accurate verifiable instead of “such items that can be easily misinterpreted or sensationalized.”

Nor will we be cowed into silence by such threats. We will not abandon our duty to serve our people’s right to know. Indeed, we urge our colleagues to ask the hard questions of those who purport to lead us, for it is in times like this, when our liberties are most at risk, that we should demand of them the answers on which the future of our people and our nation depend.


Ryan Rosauro
NUJP Hotline No. 09175155991

NUJP Letter to PNA on Fake News

May 20, 2017


Secretary Martin M. Andanar
Presidential Communications Operations Office

Dir. Virginia ArcillaAgtay
News and Information Bureau
Luis A. Morente
Acting Executive Editor
Lilybeth G. Ison
Acting Managing Editor

Dear Sirs/Mmes:

We are writing about the posting of at least two almost identical news items that were posted on the Philippine News Agency site on May 15 (http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/987860) and May 20 (http://www.pna.gov.ph/articles/989437) about DILG Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing’s claim on the supposed position of 95 of the 105 countries that participated in the recent Universal Periodic Review in Geneva, Switzerland.

Please treat this letter as both an inquiry as well as a protest into the use of what we have always considered a legitimate news agency to “legitimize” the blatant manipulation of the truth, a charge that, ironically, has repeatedly been leveled at other media outfits by no less than President Rodrigo Duterte, his spokespersons and other government officials, thus fueling anger among administration supporters that has led to the harassment and threatening of journalists.

While we do not question your editorial prerogatives and do understand that you face certain limitations as a government-run news service, we do wonder how Mr. Densing’s comments, which apparently run counter to all other accounts of the positions the participant-countries to the UPR actually registered, could have been reported so uncritically.

Worse, these were reported not once but twice, with slight rewriting in the second version, as witness below, in an apparent (to our mind) attempt at slightly shifting the focus from that of the first article, which was so obviously – we are sorry but there is no other term applicable – fake from the get-go:

95 nations in 3rd UPR convinced no EJKs in PHL
MANILA, May 15 — Ninety-five out of 105 countries that attended the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in
Geneva, Switzerland were convinced that extra judicial killings (EJK) is non-existent in the Philippines.
DILG Assistant Sec. Epimaco Densing, in a press conference on Monday, said the Philippines received
congratulatory messages as they noted that this is the first time they heard that the figures reaching
them were “spoiled and rotten information.”

PHL’s human rights situation commended at UPR
MANILA, May 20 — A total of 95 of the 109 attendees of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) held in
Geneva, Switzerland early this month commended the Philippines for its improved human rights situation.

Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Assistant Secretary Epimaco Densing said majority or
87 percent of the participants praised the Philippines after the team presented the human rights-based
development programs of the government and the measures adopted to fulfill its obligations to the eight
international treaties ratified in the past years.

We do understand the need for PNA and other state-affiliated outfits to project as strongly as possible the government’s side on current issues and controversies. But does this include peddling falsehoods?

That what Densing professes to be the truth is clearly not is evident even with a cursory reading through the Universal Periodic Review’s official Database of Recommendations (https://www.upr-info.org/database/index.php?limit=0&f_SUR=137&f_SMR=All&order&orderDir=ASC&orderP=true&f_Issue=All&searchReco&resultMax=100&response&action_type&session&SuRRgrp&SuROrg&SMRRgrp&SMROrg&pledges=RecoOnly).

It has not helped that the first PNA story has already been picked up and exploited by fake news sites, which peddle Densing’s canard to counter the international concern over the current human rights situation in the country and to further smear mainstream media outfits that have reported accurately on the REAL position of the countries that attended the UPR.

Our concern over the use of PNA to legitimize fake news also stems from the possible implications this poses on the professional reputations and yes, the safety of our many upright colleagues who work for the venerable news agency and continue, despite the challenges they face, to keep it reputable and worthy of people’s trust.

As a media organization and as citizens of this Republic, we demand and expect an answer from a news agency funded by our taxes and which we, therefore, technically own.

Looking forward to your response, we thank you very much.

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

[Alert] Catanduanes broadcaster fears for life after Que slay suspect bares alleged plot to kill him

May 11, 2017

Catanduanes broadcaster fears for life after Que slay suspect bares alleged plot to kill him

A broadcaster from Catanduanes has continued to fear for his life after a policeman tagged as a suspect in the murder of comunity paper publisher Larry Que said he was also targeted for assassination.

Marlon Suplig, former news anchor and reporterof Catanduanes-based Radyo Peryodiko, sought the help of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines after Police Officer 1 Vincent Tarcorda told him that he was supposed to have been killed on November 18 last year, allegedly on orders of Governor Joseph Cua.

On May 2, with the help of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, Suplig and Que’s wife, Edralyn Pangilinan, filed a complaint before the Department of Justice against Tacorda, Cua, the governor’s aide, Prince Lim Subion, and two still unnamed suspects for Que’s murder.

Tacorda is the same Catanduanes policeman who surfaced two weeks ago accusing ranking police officials of the province of extrajudicial killings in the guise of the war on drugs.

Suplig said it was in March, through the help of a friend, that he was able to talk to Tacorda, who acknowledged not only the plot to kill him but also his involvement in the murder of Que. “Sabi niya, ‘patawarin niyo ako tugang (kapatid), ikaw ang pinapasunod. Kaya lang ‘di ka namin makuha sa Catanduanes,’” Suplig quoted Tacorda as telling him.

Que was shot in Virac on December 19 and died the day after. The murder of Que, the first of a journalist under the Duterte administration, happened soon after he penned a column blaming local officials for the operation of a drug manufacturing laboratory on the island province that authorities described as the largest they had discovered.

However, Suplig said what drove him to leave Catanduanes for Legazpi City were threats he said he received from Subion in September and the smashing of the windows of his car in October. Before this, he said he had been reporting on the lack of medicines at the Eastern Bicol Medical Center, the alleged construction of structures in Virac even without building permits, and the supposed overpricing of oil products in the province.

He also acknowledged criticizing Cua on social media, particularly Facebook.

On September 16, Suplig said he received private Facebook messages from Subion threatening him with “war” if he did not ease up on criticizing the governor.

A screengrab of one message read: “Ready ka na sa giyera na gusto mo? It is coming to you. Pasensiyahan na kita pare. Atuhan mi na ika na iyo man sana dae ka gatunong. Dae man daw kuta kaming atraso sa imo. Ugaring gaagop ka. Kaya pasensiya na sana tabi.” [Are you ready for the war you’re asking for? It is coming to you. No hard feelings. We will hit you because you are not cooperating. We have nothing against you but you’re challenging us. So don’t blame us.]

A month later, on October 18, Suplig found his car’s rear and right windows shattered. In the police blotter, he said the incident might be in connection with his work as a media practicioner and named Subion as a possible suspect.

It was after this that he relocated.

For Reference:
NUJP Media Safety Office
NUJP Hotline No. 09175155991

[Statement] NUJP on Duterte siblings’ threats against local broadcaster

May 5, 2017

NUJP on Duterte siblings’ threats against local broadcaster

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines views with concern the statements of Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte against broadcaster Dodong Solis of Radyo ni Juan.

The mayor has resorted to personal attacks in response to commentaries of Solis on the agrarian unrest between farmers and Lapanday Foods Corp.; the recent attack of New People’s Army rebels against the company that unfortunately resulted in the death of a bystander; and on statements she issued, including her husband Manases “Mans” Carpio’s association with Lapanday as lawyer.

Solis’ remarks are part of his work as a broadcaster and an exercise of his Constitutionally-guaranteed right to freedom of expression.

The mayor has the same right to refute these remarks.

But in a statement, the mayor said:

“Naluoy kos imong asawa, iyaha kinabuhi nagdepende ra intawn sa imong babà, di pud siya kaayo makalayo kay gamay rapud baya imong utok,” Duterte said in a Facebook post. (I pity your wife, your life only depends on your mouth, she can’t leave you because you have a small brain. If I were her, I would leave you.)

“I am fair game but do not touch my husband. Open your mouth again about my husband and I will tell your wife and your entire family about your secrets.”

Her brother and vice mayor Paolo Duterte exercised the same power on Solis, with the former threatening to beat up the broadcaster.

“Asa man imong pangutok? Kinsa ka? Wa ko kaila nimo! Sikat ka o gapasikat?” said the vice mayor in an open letter posted on his Facebook page. (Where’s your brain huh? Who are you anyway? I don’t know you! Are you famous or just trying to be one?)

“Ayaw ko unahi kay ug imo hilabtan akong pamilya di ko mag duha duha ug bukbok nimo.”
(Don’t start with me, because if you do, I won’t think twice to beat you up.)

Resorting to personal attacks and veiled threats is alarming especially coming from an official who has physically attacked and publicly humiliated a court sheriff whom she perceived to have defied her instructions in the demolition of houses of informal settlers.

The mayor is no ordinary person. She wields influence and power not only due to her office but as daughter of the highest official of the country.

As a public official, she is subject to commentaries and criticisms especially from the press and should not respond with personal attacks and threats.


Ryan Rosauro, chairperson
NUJP Hotline No. 09175155991