Philippines: Former councillor and disbarred lawyer intimidates editor

Francis Allan L. Angelo, editor-in-chief of the Daily Guardian newspaper based in Iloilo, Western Visayas region, was threaten by Plaridel Nava, a former Iloilo City councillor following a news article on a Supreme Court decision to disbar Nava for violating the rules governing the legal profession. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has backed its affiliate the National Union of the Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) to condemn the intimidation of journalists for legitimate reporting.

Daily Guardian logo. Credit: Daily Guardian

Nava sent a private message to Angelo on September 14 saying: “Hey stupid. That is old news which you reported only now. There is a child involved that could be embarrassed in school. You should have considered that when you published the name of other parties to the case. I will beat you up when I see you. You are out of line.”

Nava sent the threats following an online breaking news article of the Daily Guardian on a Supreme Court decision to disbar him for violating the rules governing the legal profession. The Supreme Court promulgated the decision on January 7 and only published the eight-page decision on the institution’s website on August 17. Nava has accused Angelo and the Daily Guardian of being unfair and biased.

NUJP said: “Nava is right to demand that media should be fair and to get all possible sides of the story. But threatening journalists for perceived or actual ethical lapses can never be justified. As a lawyer (or disbarred lawyer), he should uphold the rule of law and avail of legal and non-violent recourse for redress of any grievances.”

The IFJ said: “IFJ is concerned about the threats and intimidation of a news editor.  Complaints about journalistic work should not be in a form of intimidation against a journalist or editor. IFJ urges all sides to respect journalists’ rights and ensure that newspapers can report fairly and accurately.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia - Pacific on ifj@ifj-asia.org

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 140 countries

Twitter: @ifjasiapacific, on Facebook: IFJAsiaPacific and Instagram