MANILA, Philippines -- Malacañang on Wednesday hinted that security forces might come up with ?constraints? on media coverage in dangerous areas to avoid a repeat of the kidnapping of an ABS-CBN television news team led by reporter Ces Drilon.
?There could be some constraints later because, in the end, government is being blamed for not doing enough when something untoward happens, so let?s just cooperate with each other,? Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita said during his regular press briefing in Malacañang.
Yet he acknowledged that whatever restrictions the police and military impose would only be as ?good as the cooperation? of journalists even as he urged media not to throw caution to the wind in pursuing stories.
?While we can always say that this is a journalistic pursuit, we wish [you] should not throw caution to the wind when [you] exercise [y]our profession,? he said.
?We can always invoke the freedom of movement, freedom to do so many things, freedom of speech, but the thing is, when it comes to taking care of the lives of people, I think we should consider that we have to be very, very discerning about the situation,? Ermita said.
?Even for people like us in the military and the police profession, while that?s our job [to protect lives], still we exercise something with caution because after all, what?s important is we save others? lives, we save our lives,? said the former military general.
Ermita also rejected the idea of re-imposing the death penalty for kidnappers, saying the abduction of the television journalists was just one of many incidents.
At the same time, while insisting no ransom was paid for the release of the news crew, Ermita acknowledged that ?money changed hands,? a ?small amount? he said was given as a ?token? to the kidnappers belonging to the Abu Sayyaf Group.
"Maybe, [a] small amount, but not really. You might not call [the money] ransom," said Ermita.
He said Malacañang played no role in actual negotiations, allowing the local peace and order council handle the crisis.