Saturday, February 25, 2006

"Its just like Marcos all over again." - Tribune editor

Police presence in Tribune a reminder to media, says Palace
First posted 06:44pm (Mla time) Feb 25, 2006
By Lira Dalangin-Fernandez

THE “strong presence” of the police in the editorial offices of the Daily Tribune will remain while “extraordinary conditions” in the country exist, as a reminder to other media organizations not to aid those who want to overthrow the government.

The stern warning came from Presidential Chief of Staff Michael Defensor who said that in the coming days, the publication would operate under the watch of the uniformed men.

”Hindi namin pinapakialaman ang publication pero gusto naming ipakita iyong strong presence namin na huwag kayong gagawa ng kahit anuman na makakatulong sa rebelde (We are not meddling with the publication but we just want to show our strong presence to tell them not to do anything that will help the rebels),” he said.

Defensor clarified that the government has not taken over Daily Tribune. However, he said it was a possibility under a state of emergency. In case of a takeover, he added, the government could even have a say on the paper’s editorial content.

In meetings with police officials, he said it was agreed that the government would not to interfere with the stories that the paper would put out.

After a raid in the wee hours Saturday, policemen from Camp Crame were stationed inside the editorial and business offices of the Daily Tribune in Manila.

Media organizations have denounced this act.

In the wake of the raid on the Daily Tribune, Defensor said the government is currently talking to owners and editors of other media organizations to clarify issues. He said police presence in media organizations is not a regular state policy.

Proclamation 1017, which put the country under a state of emergency, said that some elements of the media are “recklessly” promoting the cause of those who want to overthrow the administration.

Asked why the Daily Tribune was singled out, Defensor said, “Pinapabayaan na ang Tribune, pero kailangan bantayan because we are in an abnormal situation (Tribune is being allowed to print, but there’s a need to guard it because we are in an abnormal situation).”

Tribune editor remains defiant as gov't seals offices
First posted 11:17am (Mla time) Feb 25, 2006
Agence France-Presse

MANILA-Police sealed the offices of the Manila-based Daily Tribune early Saturday, a day after the government declared a state of emergency.

The move came on the 20th anniversary off the fall of dictator Ferdinand Marcos.

"I was tipped off yesterday that they [the government] were out to get me and my name was on a list of people to be arrested. No one said when," the Tribune's editor and publisher, Ninez Cacho-Olivarez, said.

"I left the office as I normally do around 9:30 pm and just after midnight police entered our offices and confiscated papers and documents. They sealed the offices and posted police at the front door," she added.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, citing "clear and present danger" to the elected government, declared a national emergency on Friday to quell an alleged coup plot by military officers.

She ordered about a dozen military officers and civilians arrested in connection with the coup attempt.

Media groups throughout the country believe the president's declaration was also a clear warning to them.

"This is a very clear attempt to close us down. There were no calls or warrants," Cacho-Olivares said.

She said she would go to the office later Saturday to bring out the Sunday edition of the paper.

"They can intimidate me all they like but I will fight them every inch of the way. If they close us down I will go to the supreme court.

"Its just like Marcos all over again. It won't be long before they start ringing editors and asking them to fire columnists or writers they consider to be againt them," she added."

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