Lawyer wants reporter cited for contempt

by RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 22 2011 09:36 PM | Updated as of Jul 23 2011 05:36 AM

MANILA, Philippines - A lawyer is readying a motion to cite ABS-CBN reporter Anthony Taberna cited for contempt of court for interviewing Maguindanao massacre suspect Zaldy Ampatuan. 

Lawyer Nena Santos said she checked court records and found out Taberna had no court permit for the interview.

Aside from Taberna, Santos is also preparing motions to cite in contempt other journalists who may have violated the subjudice rule.

Santos said some questions in the Taberna interview, like those pertaining to Ampatuan’s guilt, should not have been aired in public.

Malacañang, meanwhile, said guidelines are needed on whether the media should be allowed to interview prisoners who are under the court’s jurisdiction.
 
“Mas mabuti if the court can issue guidelines kasi Zaldy Ampatuan is under the jurisdiction of the court e. Everybody needs guidelines,” Presidential spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said. 
 
Santos wants the court to issue a show cause order on Ampatuan, the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and media outlets for apparently conducting an illegal interview that violates a BJMP regulation banning interviews with inmates without court approval.
 
If issued, the show cause order would ask the parties, including the journalists and media outlets, to explain why they should not be cited for indirect contempt.
 
“It’s been filed with the court. The court will have to start the investigation,” Lacierda said.
 
Santos, meanwhile, maintained that Ampatuan should not have been allowed to stay long at the Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City since tests showed that he was not facing a life-threatening condition.

Ampatuan has already been returned to Camp Bagong Diwa in Bicutan, Taguig.  -- With a report from Willard Cheng, ABS-CBN News