Supreme Court administrator, Raul Villanueva

THE press has the power to uplift individuals, to instigate community change and to direct the nation’s aspirations, according to Supreme Court administrator, Raul Villanueva.

The court official made the declaration in his speech during the Publishers Association of Philippines, Inc.’s (PAPI) National Press Convention on April 22, 2022 held at the Penlai Finest Chinese Cuisine (Formerly Shangri-La), with the theme “The Community Press: Its Challenges in the Post-Pandemic Era.”

“Information is a capital and those who wield it possess an insurmountable amount of power at their disposal,” Villanueva said. This privilege however, entails adherence to truth and dignity and allegiance to nothing else. “This adherence is made even more challenging due to Covid-19 pandemic that we are all subjected to, changing the usual way we go about with our daily lives.”

The 2-day event was highlighted with giving awards to deserving individuals like Noemi Junio for the Most Resourceful Award; Alfredo Gabot, editor-in-chief of Philippine News Today for the Recognition Award; Other Presidential awardees were: Jessica Bacud, Angelina Lim, Danilo Silvestrece, Rolando Andy Manatad, Dr. Henry Lim Bon Iong, president of the Federation of the Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry.

Meanwhile, the Executive Judges for the awardees were Flordeliz Cabanlit Fargas of Cavite; Virgilio Macaraig of Manila and Cecilyn E. Burgos Villaver of Quezon City.

Further, Villanueva said that “the way forward is a united front against any form of injustice and that institutions like the PAPI has the stake to see to it that this is judiciously pursued and earnestly promoted.” He added that in the efforts, the concepts of shared responsibility and adhering to a common pursuit done in unison to safeguard the information systems and meet the challenges of the post-pandemic era. “Without firm commitments and purpose, when a clear vision and mission is lacking, we can never go far and will not achieve what we set out to accomplish,” the Supreme Court official explained.

Villanueva added that PAPI, with its influence “should serve as the formidable channel in the information systems “to pave the way for a community press that is faithful and true to its calling as the sentinel for a free press and an indispensable ally of the judiciary.”

On the other hand, Supreme Court Associate Justice, Jose Midas Marquez received a Special Recognition/Citation award from PAPI. He belatedly greeted PAPI president Nelson Santos on his 60th birthday last April 15.

Marquez said he has been closely working and collaborating with PAPI for around 10 years, even when he was still a court administrator. The close relationship between PAPI and Marquez continues up to now.

Led by president Santos, PAPI thanked all the guests from regular to associate members of the association, to community newspaper publishers, media executives, editors, print and broadcast journalists, public information officers, campus journalists and their faculty advisers.

On the second day of the event, PAPI elected its new set of officers for 2022-2025. Santos was reelected president. Others were Adonis Paz, EVP; Mark Arrojado, secretary; Ching Barretto, treasurer; Alma Ochotorena, VP for Luzon; Dr. Paulus Canete, VP for Visayas; Angelina Lim, VP for Mindanao; Rebecca Velasquez, VP for Luzon; Eduardo Cardona, BOD for Visayas; and for BOD for Visayas, Dan Silvestrece, Edalyn Acta and for Visayas Mindanao, Elpidio Soriano and Ann Acosta.

Villanueva reminded everyone that PAPI has a vital role to play that proceedings before the trial courts do not fall prey to “fake news.”