Thursday, October 20, 2005

NR1018:On gag orders against the media; Church, religious leaders should unite behind call for GMA removal


From the Office of Anakpawis Rep. Crispin Beltran
News Release October 18, 2005

GMA wants to impose censor and gag order on Media; stop reports and release of footage depicting corruption and rising political repression

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that the reports of a looming crackdown against media are well-founded, give Malacanang’s passage of Executive Order 454 issued secretly August 16. He said that the EO aims to give Malacanang the immediate authority to censor and control news media and telecommunications services.

EO 454 transfers supervision and control of the National Telecommunications Commission to the Department of Transportation and Communications, from the Commission on Information and Communications Technology that was created by EO 269 on Jan. 12, 2004. The NTC is the government agency that has regulatory jurisdiction over radio and television networks and the telecommunications companies.

“Malacanang is trying to cover all bases, and this includes controlling the news media and telecommunications services because it is through them that the public is most quickly informed regarding political developments. The relentless exposes pertaining to the corruption and electoral fraud perpetrated by the illegitimate president have contributed to the swift deterioration of Macapagal-Arroyo’s approval ratings. Malacanang is desperate to control the media and stop these reports from coming out,” he said.

The veteran labor leader turned legislator said that if Malacanang issued EO 464 as a gag order against officials and confidential employees and protect Arroyo from the inquiries and investigations, EO 454 aims to control the media and the dissemination of information.

“Malacanang is just binding its time, but no doubt it is desperate to gag the media as well and prohibit the release of reports and footage exposing the corruption and intensifying political repression of the administration, “ he said. “The steady stream of reports of Macapagal-Arroyo’s burgeoning dictatorship serve to unite the Filipino people behind the call for Arroyo’s removal and ouster. By imposing a crackdown on the media and stopping the flood of reports on rally dispersals, the ever worsening economy and the killings of political activists and increasing human rights violations, Malacanang hopes to pacify the public and project and atmosphere of recovery and stability. This cannot be allowed to happen. The media must be kept free to report the truth and to take a stand in favor of the Filipino people if it chooses,” he said.#

Gloria must yield to the popular and righteous sentiment and resign

Anakpawis Representative Crispin Beltran today said that the Catholic Bishops Conference and the leadership of other religious formations and organizations should stand united in denouncing the worsening political repression of the Macapagal-Arroyo administration. Beltran lauded the stand of El Shaddai leader Mike Velarde against the calibrated people’s response, saying that his opposition to CPR was tantamount to supporting the protests directed against the corrupt and illegitimate presidency. He said that church leaders should take this unity further and demand that Macapagal-Arroyo step down for the public good.

“There is no way that Mrs. Arroyo can continue her term in peace and stability. There is widespread outrage against her and her government’s unforgivable failure to remedy the economic crisis. The worsening political crisis brought about by the affirmation of long-established reports that she cheated in the 2004 elections and the relentless exposes of various corruption scams involving herself and members of her family will not simply go away, nevermind how many repressive measures she imposes.”

“Macapagal-Arroyo should step down now and save the Filipino people from more grief. She is only increasing the number and gravity of her crimes against the Filipino people the longer she remains stubbornly clinging to power. She has to yield to the popular and righteous sentiment that she should resign, or risk being removed from power via people power. Not even martial law can stop the Filipino people from protesting against her, her economic policies, and her twisted political agenda of repression,” he said.

The veteran labor leader turned lawmaker said that Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s defense of Malacanang and the violent crackdown on street protest all the more makes Arroyo indefensible. “All the more should Arroyo be removed from office. Sen. Santiago’s cold-blooded logic justifying violent dispersals in defense of Arroyo should not be tolerated or allowed to go uncontested. It is precisely this kind of reasoning and rationalization that lead to the imposition of martial law and the comprehensive junking of civil and democratic rights,” he concluded. #


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