Newsmen barred from covering hearing on Zamcelco case PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 24 February 2011 13:50

Members of the local media were disappointed yesterday after they were told to get out of the City Hall Conference Room minutes before the start of a hearing held by the National Electrification Administration-Administrative Committee (NEA-AdCom) regarding complaints of alleged irregularities filed against Zamcelco officials and its board of directors.

Before the start of the hearing, Atty. Xeres Adzuara of the NEA-Adcom, warned newsmen not to cover the entire proceedings, and Mayor Celso Lobregat told the media personalities to stay outside, explaining that they will only be allowed to interview after the hearing.

“It was very disappointing,” said Mario Feliciano Jr. of Zamboanga Star whose attention.
Newsmen present like Nonong Santiago of Zamboanga Today, this reporter,  Gil Climaco, Dodong Ramos and Santos Cortez of RMN, ABS-CBN reporter RJ Rosalado and his camera man and the team from TV-11, were instructed to get out of the conference room by City Hall staff as ordered by Lobregat.

“When he told us to get out, bien grande se insulto canaton. We were there for transparency sake so to give the right information as to what is really happening inside Zamcelco,” Feliciano said as he expressed suspicion of something be cooked up in the NEA investigation as to the alleged anomalous transactions.

On the other hand, Dodong Ramos of RMN-Zamboanga described Lobregat’s action as “unprofessional.”

In the January 2011 first hearing, newsmen were told to stay inside the conference room but were prohibited to cover it live over the radio, taking of pictures and cameras were asked to be turned-off. Lobregat was not present during the first hearing.

In yesterday’s hearing, Atty. Adzuara of the NEA-AdCom did not categoratically bar newsmen.      “I was surprised by the action of City Hall. I was there not only as media man but as a member consumer who is very interested to know the result of the final hearing. But I believe that Mayor Lobregat only misinterpreted the statement of Atty. Adzuara,” Gil Climaco said.

“How could we then give the right information to our radio listeners? We were at City Hall as early as 1:00 o’clock in the afternoon only to be told to get out. As a member consumer, I have the right to be informed,” Climaco said.

Aside from the multi-sectoral group, Movement for better Zamcelco, local officials including Councilors Rommel Agan and Jawo Jimenez, Zamcelco Project Supervisor Jesus Castro and Zamcelco legal counsel headed by Atty. Vic Solis, only Noel Tarrazona, Zamcelco board member representing District 3 was present along with the lawyer of the accused.

The NEA-Adcom will only gather additional information and documents relative to the alleged anomalies in the operation of the cooperative and such will be forwarded to NEA-Board of Administrator for decision. — Jimmy Villaflores