No cameras at Tuesday’s Cabinet meeting
MANILA, Philippines — Photographers and cameramen were barred from covering the opening of a Cabinet meeting in Malacañang on Tuesday morning.
It was the first Cabinet meeting since November 18, when President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was caught off guard by the opening prayer of Press Secretary Jesus Dureza that she could serve “even beyond” the end of her term in 2010.
The look of embarrassment on the President’s face was caught on camera.
One of the photographers who was not allowed inside the Palace said the restrictions on Tuesday’s coverage could be related to the November 18 incident.
Reached for comment, the head of the Malacañang Media Accreditation and Relations Office (MARO), Saul Paa, said the restrictions during presidential coverage could change even at the last minute.
“Minsan, yang ganyang coverage nagbabago depende sa instruction ni Presidente [Coverages change depending on the instructions of the President,” Paa said, even as he could not say who had ordered that the event be closed to media coverage.
The opening of the Cabinet was advised to the Malacañang Press Corps as being for photo opportunity. This means that cameramen and reporters from both private and state media can cover the start of the meeting and then are ushered out of the Palace after the opening prayer, and statement by the President, if any.
Reporters are not usually allowed to cover Cabinet meetings, except when Arroyo delivers an opening statement. There was no opening statement on Tuesday.
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