Category Archives: nujp

NUJP Davao statement: `But as we grieve today, we also rage’

NUJP Davao statement
‘But as we grieve today, we also rage’
Delivered during the necrological service for Jesiderio Camangyan in Mati City, June 24.
Today we bury yet another journalist killed under the Arroyo administration. But today rises all the more our strong resolve to never let go and relentlessly fight for justice–demand accountability from the government–until justice is served.
Today we grieve over the our fallen colleague whose only guilt was to challenge the devils in Davao Oriental–those whose pockets get fatter everytime a tree is felled in the forests of the province.
No matter what his persuasions were, apparently Jesiderio “Jessie” Camangyan hit the devils where it hurt them the most.
And so they hit them back in the most despicable fashion—they sent a bullet right into his head. He fell in full view of the public, including his wife, Ruth, and their six-year old son–right in the middle of what could have been a festive June 14 night in Barangay Old Makopa, Manay town.
Before his death, Jessie was one of the strongest–if not the noisiest–voices in Davao Oriental who spoke against the rampant illegal logging activities in the province.
Authorities said Jessie’s death was politically-motivated as they also look into his being a broadcaster as the reason behind it. Whatever it is, his death could never be justified by anything.
Jessie Camangyan was murdered. It was brutal. It was cold-bloodied.
But as we grieve today, we also rage.
We rage against the culture of impunity that the government of outgoing president Gloria Macapa-gal-arroyo allowed to thrive in our midst. And the same culture of impunity has become the weapon of the powerful few in the provinces–like Davao Oriental–in terrorizing their enemies.
Such was the case of broadcaster Jessie Ca-mangyan.
We rage against the culture of impunity that spawned the culture of silence, something that already afflicted many provincial journalists who are now too scared to speak out the truth as they scamper in fear of being harassed or killed.
The death of Jessie was obviously meant to signal that journalists must stop speaking out the truth, the same truth that is supposed to be the reason why we are called journalists.
Should we surrender to these threats surely the devil will succeed. But should stand united in defiance and confront the devil in the face, the devil will fail.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Davao City Chapter challenge the authorities of Davao Oriental to prove that they can break the backbone of impunity by doing everything in their dispensation to ensure that triggerman and the brains behind Jessie’s death are arrested, brought to trial and put behind bars.
We also challenge the Aquino administration to be not like its predecessor; for him to end the prevailing culture of impunity and give justice to all the victims of extrajudicial killings. (Sgd) JEFFREY M. TUPAS, Secretary General, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, Davao City Chapter June 24, 2010

MIndanews:NUJP on World Press Freedom Day

NUJP on World Press Freedom Day

By Press Release | Monday| May 3, 2010

Today, World Press Freedom Day, we the members of the Philippine press call to account this administration whose sins of omission and commission over the past nine years have resulted in the most murderous period for the media, not only in our country’s history but the world’s.

Since Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was borne to power by the people, we have seen media practitioners murdered in record numbers – 100 of the 137 killed since 1987 were slain under her watch – capped by the unprecedented slaughter of 32 journalists and media staff last November 23, the worst single attack on journalists ever.

If anyone should bear responsibility for this outrage, aside from the accused members and armed retainers of a clan that counts among Arroyo’s staunchest allies, it is Arroyo herself.

She whose apathy and even outright hostility towards that bulwark of democracy, a free press, has led to inaction on past killings, thereby emboldening those who would suppress freedom of expression and the people’s right to know into doing so with impunity.

She who nurtured warlords, allowing them to build up massive arsenals and armies and obscene wealth in their invariably poverty- and war-ridden fiefdoms, in exchange for ensuring the survival of an administration whose legitimacy had always been under question. If we are to go by the conviction record of those responsible for the murder of our colleagues – six gunmen, and no masterminds – it would not need genius to conclude that many of those who ordered these killings count among her warlord allies.

She who, the only one since the dictator Ferdinand Marcos, attempted a wholesale clampdown on the media in 2006, when she declared a state of national emergency that former allies disillusioned with her misrule confirmed was mainly intended to silence an increasingly critical press rather than contain any supposed threat to government.

She whose glaring silence as her husband brazenly abused the influence he wielded as her spouse embarked on what has aptly been described as a litigious spree of libel suits against more than 40 journalists, a silence that cannot be interpreted any other way but as tacit approval.

Yes, today, World Press Freedom Day, we call to account this president who has proven herself to be a true enemy of press freedom.

Yet today, we also call to account those who seek to govern this country after her, they who spout promises of a better future but whose voices were hardly heard in the immediate aftermath of the Ampatuan massacre or, truth to tell, the scores of other media murders over the past nine years, and who have, till now, remain deafeningly silent on the life and death issues of human rights and civil liberties, including press freedom.

We serve notice that whoever ascends to the presidency after May 10 will be held as equally accountable as the current president for ensuring that justice is done, not only for the Ampatuan massacre but for all the media murders of the past. For, lest they forget or refuse to remember, these crimes are not a matter of one administration’s accountability but of the State.

But today, even as we continue to rage against the continued efforts to suppress the freedom of the press and the people’s right to know, we also celebrate the Philippine media community, who remain fiercely independent because they choose to be so despite all efforts to stifle them.

Time and again, the Philippine media have proven that, notwithstanding the often raucous nature of professional competition, they are truly united in defense of our freedoms and liberties, and those of the people they serve.

And today, World Press Freedom Day, we, the independent Philippine press vow to remain so, in the service of the people and of the nation.


Nestor Burgos
National Chairman

Mindanews: NUJP calls for public outrage vs clearing of 2 Ampatuans in massacre

NUJP calls for public outrage vs clearing of 2 Ampatuans in massacre

by MindaNews
Sunday, 18 April 2010 20:23
DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/18 April) – “Forget justice. Forget law. Forget democracy,” the one-liner first paragraph of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) statement against Acting Justice Secretary Alberto Agra’s order to drop multiple murder charges against suspended ARMM Governor Datu Zaldy Ampatuan and his brother in law, former Mamasapano mayor, later OIC Vice Governor Akmad Ampatuan, declared.
The Agra order, the NUJP said in its April 18 statement, “is proof that these principles do not, nay, have never existed under the Arroyo government, that this is governance not through the rule of law but through political expediency.” “It is proof of what we have suspected almost as soon as it became apparent that a clan known to be one of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s closest allies might be linked to the worst election-related violence in our country’s recent history AND the worst single attack on the media ever – that this administration would do everything within its power to assure they would not be held accountable.”
At least 58 persons were killed, 32 of them from the media, when armed men led by Datu Unsay mayor Datu Andal Ampatuan, Jr., stopped them along the highway of Ampatuan in Maguindanao, herded them up to Barangay Masalay and shot them dead. Six of the 58 just happened to pass the highway at the wrong time, the rest were part of a convoy that would have brought the certificate of candidacy for governor of  Buluan Vice Mayor Esmael “Toto” Mangudadatu to the provincial office of the Commission on Elections in Shariff Aguak, the next town after Ampatuan.
Ampatuan, Jr., was going to run for governor of Maguindanao.
“No probable cause”
The Manila reported on Sunday that the DOJ “on Saturday cleared—of murder charges—suspended Gov. Zaldy Ampatuan of Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and Mayor Datu Akmad Ampatuan of Mamasapano town.”
It added that the DOJ granted the two Ampatuans’ petition for review of the multiple murder case against them saying there was no probable cause.
“This Justice department action followed the granting—for lack of evidence—the two Ampatuans’ petition for review of the multiple murder case against them,” the report said.
Agra, interviewed by phone from Baguio, told Manila that the two Ampatuans “were cleared for lack of proof that they conspired with the other accused.”
“Basic reason is walang proof of conspiracy. Nagamit din na proof yung Smart Infinity and the Philippine Airlines ticket at ang sinabi ng isang witness,” Agra told The Manila Times in a telephone interview.
The Smart Infinity phone, the certification from the Philippine Airlines showing that on November 22, 2009, the suspended governor was in Davao City attending the Kanduli meeting with other regional governors, and the words of a witness convinced the DOJ that the governor is innocent of the charges.
Datu Akmad Ampauan’s petition for review was granted for alleged lack of witnesses to implicate him in the massacre.
Not for NUJP, Not for Agra
The NUJP said it is “not for us to proclaim the innocence or guilt of either Ampatuan for the November 23 massacre of 58 persons, 32 of them media workers. But neither is it for Agra to do so.”
The NUJP said charges had been filed in court, the judge had issued a commitment order, those who were detained in Davao and General Santos cities had been brought to Camp  Bagong Diwa in Taguig, along with chief suspect Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan “Unsay” Jr., and several of the 197 accused.
“It should now be for the court to judge the innocence or guilt of the 197 persons accused of planning or carrying out the massacre,” the NUJP added.
“By issuing the order, which incidentally Agra had already announced earlier he was inclined to do, the man supposedly sworn to uphold justice in this country has preempted that prerogative of the court. Agra has hijacked the judicial process and subverted the very justice he should be upholding,” the NUJP said.
It noted that no legal expertise is needed “to know the alibi is the flimsiest defense in a criminal case. And yet Agra has practically pounced on this straw and used it to buttress his assertion that neither Zaldy nor Akmad Ampatuan should be charged because they were not there when the massacre took place.”
“But surely, this travesty is not Agra’s doing alone, for he could not have done this without the full knowledge and approval of his principal, Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. We hold Agra and Arroyo, personally, and this administration accountable for this massacre of the principles that define us as a country and as a people – justice, the rule of law, our basic rights, democracy.
We call on the Filipino people to protest this outrage. More important, we call on the people to demand an accounting. We cannot let this pass. Or we might as well totally forget that we are one country, one people,” the NUJP said.
Families of the media victims of the Ampatuan Masascre will hold a press conference in General Santos City Monday morning.
Ma. Reynafe M. Castillo, daughter of  one of the media victims, Reynaldo Momay (his remains have yet to be found but for his dentures), wrote in her Facebook account, “my heart is crying even if I have’nt filed a case against them. Where’s the JUSTICE in this country??? Agra should resign from his post. AGRA RESIGN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”” (MindaNews)

URGENT: IFJ Philippines Appeal

Media suffered an unprecedented attack with the terrible tragedy that struck the Philippines on Monday 23 November 2009 . The news is unfolding on a daily basis, but the latest information today is that 30 journalists and media workers have been confirmed killed with an expectation that this will rise to at least 34, the total number of journalist and media workers reported to have set out on the convoy that was subsequently ambushed and massacred.

This is the biggest single atrocity against journalists in recent history.

The IFJ is working very closely to support our colleagues at the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) who immediately sent a mission to the scene of the massacre, arriving Wednesday. According to the NUJP 59 bodies have now been found in shallow graves, often beheaded and heavily mutilated.

Prior to this attack at least 75 journalists had been killed under the Arroyo government and only four cases have seen successful prosecutions. Outside of Iraq, the Philippines has become the most dangerous country for journalists this century.

A clear culture of impunity has been allowed to flourish under this government which must no longer be tolerated.

The IFJ is sending an international mission to Manila, 7 – 10 December, to support the NUJP, provide solidarity to journalists and the families of the victims, and to send the clearest message possible to the government that this is an outrage they will not be allowed to forget.

We need your help to reinforce this message, to demonstrate our sorrow, our anger, and our determination that such a crime will not go unpunished.

To do this the IFJ is calling on all affiliates to join a global day of solidarity on 9th December to coincide with the mission press conference on the 9th, the day before International Human Rights day.

Messages of solidarity and sympathy can be posted on this page.

Full details of the actions are enclosed in the attached documents.

Please join us !

Jim Boumelha                                               AIDAN WHITE

IFJ President                                     IFJ General Secretary

IFJ Calls for Urgent Action over Massacre of Philippine Journalists

The IFJ has called for the international community to intervene to demand a full investigation to bring to justice those responsible for the biggest single massacre of working journalists in recent history.

The IFJ call came after at least twelve journalists were murdered when a political convoy of over 36 persons was ambushed and slaughtered by gunmen in the Maguindanao province of Southern Philippines.

“This is an event which shocks journalists around the world to the core,’ said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. “We need a strong and urgent response from the Philippine government and the international community.”

The political convoy was led by Genalyn Tiamzon-Mangudadatu, who was on her way to file her husband’s nomination as a candidate for the forthcoming election for governor of Maguindanao province. Journalists were part of the convoy along with several members of her family.

The convoy was ambushed Monday morning by around 100 armed men, who took them to a remote location before massacring them all. Most were shot; some were beheaded and driven over by vehicles.

According to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) among the victims were at least 12 journalists covering the political development who were accompanying the political convoy.

This is the darkest day in the history of journalism in the Philippines, which, outside of Iraq, has topped the tables of countries where journalists are most at risk in recent years.

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Davao Chapter Statement Condemning the Shooting of Dennis Cuesta

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines-Davao Chapter Statement Condemning the Shooting of Dennis Cuesta

August 7, 2008

We condemn this atrocity befalling our colleague Dennis Cuesta of Radio Mindanao Network (RMN)- dxMD in General Santos City.

Cuesta used to work with RMN-dxDC Davao before transferring to General Santos City.

We are anguished by the thought of our colleague fighting for his life at a hospital in General Santos City after criminals pumped bullets in his head last Monday.

The recurrence of such dastardly crime is yet another proof that authorities are a failure in performing their obligation of prosecuting and punishing criminals.

With this incident, impunity, once more, stares us in the eye – a grim reminder of the sad reality of how dangerous still the territory remains for media persons to operate.

Cuesta is known for tackling commentaries on controversial issues like illegal gambling, graft and corruption in government and illegal drugs in his public affairs program “Straight to the Point.”

But we will not be fazed by this yet another attempt to petrify the press with fear.

We demand authorities to find the links that will lead to the solution of Cuesta’s shooting and leave no stone unturned in the quest for justice! We demand authorities to run after the criminals and masterminds and bring them to jail!

For Reference:

Carmelito Francisco

Chairperson, NUJP Davao

******NUJP calls on all colleagues and media organizations to observe a moment of prayer, at 3  pm tomorrow (Friday), during which, journalists in General Santos City will be lighting candles right at the spot where Cuesta was shot.