Philippine broadcaster threatened because of EJK commentaries

The International Federation of Journalists joins the National Union of the Journalists of the Philippines in expressing concerns for a broadcaster who received death threats following his broadcast on January 12.  A Cagayan de Oro City broadcaster has reported receiving threatening text messages for his commentaries on extrajudicial killings in the city allegedly involving active policemen of the Cagayan de Oro Police Office (COCPO).

Junel Ucat, Bombo Radyo Cagayan de Oro news director, said he received two text messages after his program this morning warning him against commenting further on the illegal drugs-related killing of three individuals on December 10 and 11, 2014.

A companion of the three victims survived the attack. The survivor then tagged Police Senior Inspector Ludwig Charles Espera, chief of Cagayan de Oro tourist police; Police Inspector Arnel Gighe, Espera’s deputy; PO1 Manuel Quipanes assigned at Cagayan de Oro City Police Station 2; and PO1 Jun Reil Barrientos assigned at the Cagayan de Oro Police Station 4  and five others as suspects in the killings.

Ucat, who also anchors two programs for Bombo Radyo (Bombo Reports Second Edition,  6:30-7 am, Monday to Saturday; Zona Libre from 6:30-9 pm, Monday to Saturday), said he received the text messages after his interview Monday morning of Region 10's new police regional director in which he asked the latter regarding the killings.

Ucat said the second text message also indirectly warned the rest of the station's anchors who have also been commenting on the supposed involvement of policemen in summary executions in the city. The IFJ Asia Pacific acting director Jane Worthington said: "Threats against journalists must be take with utmost seriousness. Journalist safety is a key issue for the Philippines that must be resolved."