Lawmaker: Probe media’s security threat tag

Posted at 08/12/12 1:17 PM

MANILA, Philippines -- AGHAM Party-list Rep. Angelo Palmones has filed a resolution seeking to probe into an alleged government report tagging the media as a security threat.

Palmones, a former mediaman, filed House Resolution 2574 asking the House Committee on Public Information to look into an alleged National Intelligence Coordinating Agency report that triggered the Department of Justice to evict the members of the media from the main building in Padre Faura, Manila.

Justice Secretary Leila de Lima earlier approved a plan to transfer the members of the media from their decades-old offices in the main building to an adjacent building allegedly because of “security concerns.”

There are currently two press offices in the main building housing two press corps: that of JUCRA in the west wing and the Justice Reporters Organization (JUROR) at the east wing.

Officials of the Department of Justice, in a recent dialogue with the media, said the move was for better coordination. The main building, however, houses the executive offices.

Palmones noted that "several professional media organizations have been organized and established for the purpose of looking into the welfare of members, faithful observance of the journalism code of ethics, and institution of self-regulatory measures against corruption and abuse of power within their ranks."

He said access to official records pertaining to acts, transaction and decisions of the government should be afforded to Filipinos.

He also cited Section 4 of the Constitution, which states: "No law shall be passed abridging the freedom of speech, of expression, or of the press, or the right of people to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances."

"Such positive media roles catalyze and contribute in achieving social change and progress, hence they become a powerful partner of government in nation building," he said.