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(From Philippine Daily Inquirer)
Byline: Philip C. Tubeza and TJ Burgonio
A RANKING MALACAYENANG OFficial privately asked ABS-CBN to "stop airing" last month's standoff at Marine headquarters in Fort Bonifacio, the head of the network's News and Current Affairs division said yesterday at a Senate hearing.
The Palace official phoned a network officer at the height of the standoff on Feb. 26 and asked that ABS-CBN stop both its coverage and live broadcast of the event, Maria Ressa said.
Ressa said that after the Palace official was rebuffed, Michael Defensor, President Macapagal-Arroyo's chief of staff, aired a public appeal for all journalists to stop covering the event, which ABS-CBN also turned down.
Ressa, along with other media executives, testified at the inquiry of the Senate committee on justice and human rights into the government crackdown on the media during the state of emergency declared by President Macapagal-Arroyo on Feb. 24-March 3.
Chaired by Sen. Joker Arroyo, the committee opened the inquiry after senators filed a resolution condemning the raid on The Daily Tribune newspaper office and the warrantless arrests of protesters and party-list lawmakers.