MindaNews reporter red-tagged

MALAYBALAY CITY (MindaNews/28 August) – MindaNews reporter Froilan Gallardo has been included in the list of organizations and individuals in Cagayan de Oro City accused of having links with the communist underground.

Gallardo’s name was mentioned in a flyer that also accused Mindanao Gold Star Daily associate editor Leonardo Vicente “Cong” Corrales, human rights lawyer Beverly Selim-Musni and her daughter and colleague Czarina.

The flyer was received by courier service Wednesday by Iglesia Filipina Independiente priest Fr. Rolando Abejo and a city hall employee who had also been red tagged earlier, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said.

“The courier packet that contained the flyer targeting Cong identified the sender as Danilo Tirso Mantangan of Sitio Camansi, Lagonglong, Misamis Oriental with mobile phone number 09091020123,” NUJP said.

Gallardo said he could have been targeted because he had interviewed the New People’s Army on a raid in Misamis Oriental last week where the rebels seized some firearms from Minergy Power Corp.

Gallardo has covered the communist and Moro insurgencies in Mindanao since the 1980s.

The red-tagging against Gallardo came days after Rigoberto Tiglao claimed in his The Manila Times column that MindaNews associate editor H. Marcos C. Mordeno had written articles that echoed the views of the Communist Party of the Philippines on development in Mindanao.

Tiglao further claimed that MindaNews is involved in alleged efforts to destabilize the administration for receiving grants from the National Endowment for Democracy, which is purportedly linked to the Central Intelligence Agency.

MindaNews is the news service arm of the Davao City-based Mindanao Institute of Journalism (MIJ).

‘Potentially deadly’

The flyer produced by a “Black Mamba” purportedly of the “MAT-NMR Press Club Chapter,” claims there is a P1-million bounty for the death of Cong, and makes the “totally false claim that Cong is facing a criminal rape with murder case involving a child,” the NUJP said.

Corrales, a former NUJP director, as well as the Musnis had been previously red-tagged along with a number of church leaders and human rights advocates.

“Asked what he could have done to earn so much hatred as to seek his death, Cong said the only reason he knows is a column he wrote on the treatment Higaonon evacuees from Sitio Camansi, Barangay Banglay in Lagonglong town, Misamis Oriental had received when they descended on Cagayan de Oro to seek help from the provincial government,” NUJP said.

“We hold that the reason the red tagging, particularly of Cong, has worsened to actually turn potentially deadly is because of the apparent lack of interest of local government and security units to protect those so threatened and to go after and prosecute those responsible for this clearly dangerous vilification.

“And it is almost a certainty that, unless contained, the threats to Cong, Froilan and other journalists who have been targeted by the cowards who hide behind these shadowy groups and names could escalate,” it warned. (MindaNews)