Paredes provides ‘snapshots’ of Ampatuan arraignment

With video and digital cameras prohibited during the arraignment of the prime suspect in the Maguindanao massacre, the media had to make do with illustrations of the scene drawn by Sydney-based artist Ala Paredes. She is a daughter of Jim Paredes of the famed Apo Hiking Society.

Miss Paredes was commissioned by the Philippine Supreme Court and introduced to the media by court spokesman Midas Marquez outside the arraignment venue in Camp Crame.

“We have invited a guest artist” said Marquez, calling out the only person authorized to produce images from the arraignment of Datu Unsay Mayor Andal Ampatuan Jr., who faces 41 counts of murder.

As though taking a queue from the high court spokesperson, Paredes squeezed herself into the huddle of reporters and spectators, clutching her hand-drawn “snapshots” during the arraignment.

The second daughter of Jim Paredes and now based in Australia, Ala graduated in 2009 with a diploma in Design Illustration from the Sydney Design Center in Enmore, NSW.

Marquez told GMANews.TV that he decided to allow an artist to sketch activities inside the court upon requests from media workers since taking video footage or photographs of the arraignment was not allowed.
Marquez said he personally handpicked Ala to do the job after she was “highly recommended” by a staff member of the Supreme Court’s Public Information Office.

“We really wanted to give the task to someone who is really good [in sketching]. The request from the media came on short notice… and Ala was recommended to me,” Marquez said.

As Ala raised her five sketches for everyone to see after the arraignment, the room was flooded with flashes from cameras of photojournalists eager to get official illustrations of the scenes inside the arraignment venue.

On the art website that she maintains – aptly called Ala Paredes: Illustration – the 26-year-old illustrator and designer was described as someone who “loved doodling even before she learned to walk properly.”

Ala also studied at the Ateneo de Manila University where she graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Communication.

Jim’s daughter also became a television show host, an advice columnist for a magazine, and a front woman for Pinoy rock band Hiraya.

In 2006, she and her family migrated to Australia, where she took on the job as an Australian news correspondent for a show catering to Filipinos in the land down under. – Mark Merueñas /RSJ/LBG, GMANews.TV