Groups demand justice over attack to Lanao journalist-A A +A
Thursday, March 21, 2013
AN INTERNATIONAL media organization has demanded justice for radio and print journalist Lino dela Cruz who was allegedly attacked and threatened by three people inside an announcer’s booth in a local radio in Lanao del Norte on Monday noon.
In an e-mail sent on Wednesday, the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), along with its affiliate, National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP), condemned the assault against Dela Cruz.
Dela Cruz is a block-time anchorman for “Serbisyo sa Katawhan Una sa Tanan” (Service to the People First and Foremost) at the DXLS Love Radio in Iligan city.
He also writes for the national daily The Philippine Star for a long time as correspondent for Iligan City.
“Journalists in the Philippines must be able to exercise their duties free from reprisals and intimidation,” IFJ Asia-Pacific Director Jacqueline Park said in a statement.
“Freedom of the press is an essential pillar of democracy. We demand that the government of the Philippines investigate this attack and bring the perpetrators to justice, demonstrating a commitment to their national and international legal obligations which guarantee Filipino citizens freedom of expression and an independent media,” she added.
In his report to the IFJ, dela Cruz alleged that he was assaulted while hosting his radio program which, is paid by the Provincial Government of Lanao del Norte.
Dela Cruz reported that he was criticizing Casan Maquiling, a former board member of Lanao del Norte and former mayor of the municipality of Munai, when two men and a woman, who identified herself as Maquiling’s elder sister, accosted him inside the announcer's booth.
Dela Cruz said one of the two men grabbed him by the throat and told him to stop making negative commentaries against Maquiling.
Maquiling is running for the gubernatorial post of Lanao del Norte under the Liberal Party against incumbent governor Mohamad Khalid Dimaporo.
Dela Cruz, who only recently began anchoring on the program, said he had earlier spoken against Maquiling after the latter criticized Abdullah Dimaporo, father of the incumbent governor, for refusing to sign a covenant among local candidates calling for peaceful elections in May.
Abdullah is running for a congressional seat in the second district of Lanao del Norte. Dela Cruz also discussed Maquiling's alleged support for the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).
Both NUJP local and national officials have yet to release its own official statement regarding the assault on Dela Cruz.
For his part, DXIF-Bombo Radyo station manager Celdo Maldecir said that being a radio blocktimer is not reason for one to be attacked.
“If a person has a grievance against a radio commentator or a blocktimer, he should file a complaint in the court. That’s the right thing to do,” Maldicer said.
“The announcer’s booth is the most sacred place for radio announcers,” he added.
Maldicer said the media community should unite and oppose any form of violence against media practitioners.
But radio commentators, regular or blocktimers, he said, should follow the guidelines and ethical standards set by the Kapisanan ng mga
Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP).
Dela Cruz’s case is the first to be reported in Northern Mindanao region since the 2013 mid-term elections campaign started.
Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 21, 2013.