CDO journalists back broadcaster getting death threats

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews / 14 Jan) – Journalists in this city have banded together after a Bombo Radio broadcaster received threatening text messages for his commentaries on extra-judicial killings involving police officers of the Cagayan de Oro Police Office.

Cagayan de Oro Press Club President Jerry Orcullo said he is holding the entire Cagayan de Oro Police Office accountable if any attempt will be made on the staff of DXIF Bombo radio station.

“We are not taking the threats lightly. The police were suspects in the series of ‘salvagings’ [summary executions] so it left me with no other option but to suspect that the threats came from them,” Orcullo said.

Orcullo and the COPC will hold a Media Safety Dialogue at the Archbishop’s residence on Jan. 20 Tuesday morning with the officers of the Cagayan de Oro Police Office.

The meeting will be attended by concerned government agencies and to be presided by Monsignors Elmer Abacahin, Ray Manuel Monsanto and Text Legitimas of the Cagayan de Oro Archdiocese.

“A threat against any member of the press is a major concern for the Archdiocese,” said Abacahin, who heads the Archdiocese communications department.

He said aside from Bombo Radio, another radio station, Radio Ultra, received similar threatening text messages after commenting against illegal drugs-related killings in the city.

Mark Martirez of DXIF Bombo Radyo said their news director, Junel Ucat, received two text messages after his program, warning him against commenting further on the killings of three individuals last December 10 and 11.

Four police officers were arrested and tagged as suspects for killing brothers Harold and Roland Jamaca, and Maria Erica Yabut, in Barangay F.S. Catanico here last December 11.

Summary execution survivor Jim Jamaca, 24, identified PO1 Arnel Gighe, PO1 Jun Reil Barrientos, PO1 Manuel Quipanes, and Senior Insp. Ludwig Charles Espira as responsible.

JB Deveza, of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) Mindanao Safety Office, said Ucat told him that he had asked protection from the Army’s 4th Infantry Division (4ID) because he was being tailed by unidentified men.

Major. Christian Uy, 4ID public information officer, said an Army team sent to protect Ucat spotted two men with hidden guns tailing the journalist before the New Year.

Uy said the soldiers, seeing the situation as critical, decided to get Ucat to their vehicle for his protection.