Cebu Citizens-Press Council

Being accountable comes with being free

Community press urged to help curb impunity

December 11th, 2014 · No Comments


WHEREAS, impunity, or escape from punishment, has been largely blamed for the murder of 58 people, including 32 journalists and media workers, in the Ampatuan Massacre of Nov. 23, 2009, and for other executions or disappearances of activists, student and labor leaders, and reformers in the country;

WHEREAS, at least three national conferences were conducted by Center for Media Freedom & Responsibility (CMFR) and Southeast Asian Press Alliance (SEAPA): in 2008, 2010 and 2014, the most recent having been held last Nov. 23 at Crowne Plaza Manila Galleria in Quezon City;

WHEREAS, in those conferences, the major factors identified as having nurtured the culture of impunity were:
(a) flaws in the justice system, notably un-served warrants of arrest and trial rules that encourage unreasonable delays; and
(b) weak law enforcement that fails to solve the crime or gather strong evidence against culprits;

WHEREAS, media and some non-government organizations concerned about the killings have been pushing government for reforms in the police and judiciary; pressure of public opinion has prodded government leaders to adopt tougher policies on peace and order; and the Supreme Court has adopted extraordinary measures to speed up the Ampatuan Massacre trial—but clearly those haven’t been enough as the unsolved or un-prosecuted killings have continued even after the Ampatuan Massacre;

WHEREAS, media itself needs to help not just keep the memory of the Ampatuan Massacre alive but also to be vigilant about other incidents that would promote impunity;

NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Cebu Citizens-Press Council, that it

[] URGE the lawyers groups, especially in Cebu, to initiate or support moves:
(a) seeking to minimize delays in trial by strengthening court procedures and cooperating with judges on speedy disposal of cases; and
(b) asking the Philippine National Police and the judiciary to strengthen procedures in serving warrants of arrest.

[] ENCOURAGE the community press—even in areas like Cebu, where assaults against media personnel have not been as flagrant or violent as in other communities—to be watchful over developments that could lead to impunity, by exposing through stories and commentaries any attempt to frustrate law enforcement or corrupt law enforcers, prosecutors and judges, and inspiring moves to strengthen the pillars of the justice system.

[] PROVIDE COPIES and otherwise circulate this resolution among the organizations and agencies mentioned herein.

APPROVED this 11th day of December, 2014 at an en banc meeting of the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC).

Tags: CCPC Papers and Resolutions

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