The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines denounces continued efforts to link us to the communist revolutionary movement, which we see as part of an orchestrated effort to intimidate us into silence.
On Monday, January 7, NUJP officers found themselves answering requests for interviews from community news outfits around the country soliciting reactions to charges by someone identified only as “Ka Ernesto,” who claimed to be a former member and supposedly “admitted” that the organization had links to Communist Party of the Philippines founder Jose Ma. Sison.
When asked where the story originated from, they invariably pointed to banner stories carried by a number of Manila-based tabloids – we can confirm at last three, Police Files Tonite, Bagong Bomba and Saksi Mata ng Katotohanan – all of which carried the exact same headline: “NUJP PINAMUMUNUAN NG CPP-NPA-NDF” (NUJP HEADED BY CPP-NPA-NDF), the latter initials referring to the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front.
This is the second time in just a few weeks we have been linked to the rebels since a certain Mario Ludades, claiming to be one of the founders of the CPP, accused us of being a “legal front” of the underground movement in stories run by several outfits on December 26, incidentally the 50th anniversary of the CPP.
It is hilarious that they keep repeating these charges since the NUJP’s membership represents a broad spectrum of creeds and political beliefs bound by a common dedication to defending and expanding the bounds of freedom of the press and of expression.
But, as they say, stupid is as stupid does.
We were initially tempted to ignore the fantastic and, to be honest, hilarious account of “Ka Ernesto” but for the fact that, as idiotic as this attempt to smear the NUJP is, it exposes our members and other colleagues to potential danger from those who might readily believe this canard.
With at least 12 colleagues slain under the watch of a president who has actually justified the murder of journalists–remember “Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a bitch?”–and openly and constantly curses and threatens media, we are taking this matter very, very seriously.
It does not take genius to figure out who is behind this determined, if futile, effort to cow us. But we tell you now and will tell you again, do your worst, you will fail.
It is unfortunate that there exist within the profession unscrupulous scum who allow themselves to be used by these cowardly enemies of press freedom even if it endangers colleagues. But we will let them be. Their venality shames them enough.
We do serve fair warning though to those behind this campaign: We will hound you and make sure you pay should any harm that may befall our members and other colleagues because of your craven machinations.
To this end we are consulting legal experts on possible actions to take.