NPC to teach Kalinga gov a hard lesson

June 9, 2011 statement of NPC president Jerry S. Yap

NPC to file sedition, damage,

administrative raps to teach

Kalinga governor a lesson

The conscience of the Liberty of the Press is revolting over the acts of Kalinga Governor Jocel Baac in smashing a microphone on the mouth of radio commentator Jerome Tabanganay while the latter was wrapping up his “Agenda on Tuesday” radio program inside the studio booth of dzRK.

In defense of the freedom of the press and of expression which is among the purposes of its creation, the National Press Club will file administrative, civil and criminal cases against the governor to serve the public good that this act should not be repeated by any high official of the government.

The NPC will file a complaint for administrative violations against Governor Baac for conduct prejudicial to the best interest of the service and for oppression, both punishable with dismissal from the service.

The organization that is the biggest and the oldest will also file a civil suit for damages against Baac, in a cause of action under Article 32 of the Civil Code of the Philippines that calls for free exercise of the press.

To show the mettle of the press, the NPC will also file a criminal case for sedition against Governor Baac.

In the eyes of the NPC, the acts done by the governor is an act of hate or revenge against all in the class of journalists to preserve his political power. As such, these acts qualified to a violation of Article 139, particularly the clause that states: “4. To commit, for any political or social end, any act of hate or revenge against private persons or any social class;”

Rest assured that the NPC will always take the cudgels for all or any member of the press because it was created for the purpose of upholding the freedom of the press.

Wherever and whenever the press is violated the violation is an offense against the NPC. It is an offense against the journalists’ class whose vocation is dedicated to the work of gathering and reporting facts and making opinions out of events, including the people involved in the events

In a report published by the Associated Press, the governor was irked by radio station dzRK’s coverage and commentaries on illegal gambling and logging in Kalinga, one of the provinces of the Cordillera Region.

The video footage showed the governor entering the announcer’s booth and pulling out a cord that cut off the audio, and Tabanganay pointing a camera to Baac. The video further showed that the governor then grabbed the microphone. There was no footage showing the smashing of the microphone on the announcer.

The next that was seen of the video were police officers and other people pacifying the governor and leading him out of the booth while being followed by Tabanganay. The next phase showed Tabanganay returning to the booth while saying he was hurt and going to a medical examination, and also saying: “Anyway, we will continue the agenda. Long live Kalinga! We will never, never surrender.”

It was also reported by AP that Tabanganay survived an assassination try last year, save for the limps that wounded his right leg. It was also said that unknown assailants tried to burn down the station last month.

When will the Philippines ever recover from the worst image as the most dangerous place for working journalists?

The country is still reeling over the trial of the worst massacre that killed 33 journalists in one fell swoop on November 23, 2009 in the town of Ampatuan, Maguindanao. Yet, there is no end for one after another revolting act.

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