We denounce the Department of the Interior and Local Government team from Manila and its local accomplices for barring local reporters from covering the hearing of the administrative case against Cagayan de Oro City Mayor Vicente Emano last Sept. 10.
Two police officers armed with M16 rifles guarded the stairway leading to the conference room to prevent journalists from covering the proceedings. In an interview after the hearing, DILG investigating officer Rannie Palisok said the “media block” order came from DILG Legal Service Director Jesus Duque IV, who was acting on direct orders from Interior Secretary Mar Roxas.
The reason given by Palisok (“limited space”) was flimsy and inane. Many of the reporters present were also present during the emergency Cabinet meeting held by President Gloria Arroyo after the 2009 flash floods. Yes, all of us were accommodated in that same room then.
So may we remind Secretary Roxas and Palisok that everybody loses when freedom of the press is curtailed, as we saw during the martial law years.
It is ironic, to say the least, that the press was barred from covering an administrative case involving transparency and accountability. We challenge the DILG officials: If you do not know what transparency and accountability is, resign!
Let me ask Palisok: “What transparency are you talking about?”
—CONG B. CORRALES,
chair, National Union of Journalists
of the Philippines (NUJP)
Cagayan de Oro Chapter,