FOCAP letter to Malacanang on the “no political questions” issue

This was the letter sent by FOCAP to Malacanang after Undersecretary Crisostomo told FOCAP that no political questions would be entertained during the scheduled press conference with GMA. I don’t know exactly when this was sent, but the letter was drafted the night before FOCAP was told that Malacanang was resetting the press conference. No date was given as to when the press conference would be. I’m putting it here since it has already been circulated among FOCAP members; several have also written about it.

Press Secretary JESUS DUREZA

Thru: Undersecretary MARTIN CRISOSTOMO

Malacanang, Manila

Dear Sir:

We express regret that FOCAP’s press conference with the president orginally scheduled on October 2, has been postponed. We hope for your speedy recovery and look forward to the re-scheduling of the meeting with the president.

However, we in the FOCAP Board and many of our members were dismayed when we learned that the president will not entertain “political questions.”

We earnestly request that the president reconsider this decision and allow a free-flowing interaction with FOCAP members without any restrictions on the subject matters to be covered.

The president is the nation’s chief political leader and as such the public would be interested in knowing where she is taking the country as well as her initiatives in response to outstanding political issues. As members of the media, we in FOCAP see our role as the conveyor of the president’s message to the nation, be they political or not.

As a matter of principle upon which FOCAP was founded more than 30 years ago under martial law, and as responsible members of the press, we strongly object to being party to any form of media management, prior restraint or censorship. Fencing off certain subjects for discussion with the president does not bode well for press freedom.

Again, we earnestly request the president reconsiders her decision.

Sincerely yours,

JASON GUTIERREZ

President

F O C A P

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