Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Threatened radioman may have touched other sensitive issues

IT’S possible that the radio commentator who received threatening text messages during his radio program for discussing on the series of extrajudicial killings in Cagayan de Oro City may have also touched other sensitive issues.

Celso Maldecir, station manager for dxIF-Bombo Radyo in Cagayan de Oro, said he is suspecting that one of his anchors, Junel Ucat, may have discussed other topics in his program that got the ire of some people who sent him the text messages.

Maldecir said that although the issue on summary killings is in itself a delicate subject, it’s likely that it was used only as an excuse in attempting to silence Ucat.

“The threat is serious. Wala ‘mi mahadlok pero di pud ‘mi mokompyansa (We are not afraid, but we are also not taking any chances),” Maldecir told Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro by phone Monday.

He already told Ucat not to report for duty and lay low for a while for his own safety.

Ucat received the text messages after a follow-up discussion of alleged extrajudicial killings Monday, January 12.

Ucat anchors two programs for the station -- Bombo Radyo Reports second edition, 6:30 a.m. to 7 a.m., Mondays to Saturdays, and Zona Libre, 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays.

Ucat received the messages, sent from cellphone number 09363527361, at 7:57 a.m. and 8:40 a.m. He posted the message on his Facebook page.

The first message reads: “Di jud ka mu undang Junel Ukat sa imong paghisgut sa kahanginan bahin sa salvaging kami jud imong ingkuwentruhun ngano man jud ka? Di na ka malipayon sa imong kinabuhi gkapuy naka? Papahulayun naka namu para dili naka mag-antos kanang ka kubian nimu sa mga tao na nagpahilum-hilum ka namu. (Why is it Junel Ukat that you will not stop discussing about the salvaging on air, you really want to fight us? Are you not happy with your life anymore? We will let your rest in peace so you won’t suffer from being so nosy of others who are keeping their silence).”

The second message was short but more menacing: “Magkuha me ug usa sa inyo pamasin na makahunahuna ang imong ulo na dako (We will take out one from among you, so you will realize that how big headed you’ve become).”

In its media alert posted on its website on January 12, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said Ucat got the text messages after his Monday's interview with the Philippine National Police’s new regional director in which he asked the latter regarding the killings.

NUJP quoted Ucat as saying the second message has also indirectly warned the rest of the station’s anchors who have also been commenting on the supposed involvement of law enforcers in the spate of summary executions in the city recently.

Maldecir said he will request the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) to analyze the text messages in the hopes of getting a clue of who really sent them.

‘Don’t be cowed’

In a separate statement, Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC) president Jerry Orcullo said: “I urge Junel not be cowed down by that threat, all the more we should be courageous and continue the tirade against summary execution or killing with impunity. COPC is alarmed by this and we are not taking this lightly.”

“Very lately, the police were the suspects behind the series of ‘salvagings’ so it left me with no other option than to suspect the threats came from them. I call upon good officers and men of the police not to allow their organization to be hub of criminals if they don’t like media to train their pens, cameras and microphones on them, thus putting the entire organization in bad light. I will convene the committee on media security and coordination with NUJP’s Media Safety,” Orcullo added.
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