CAGAYAN DE ORO: A broadcast journalist here reported receiving threatening text messages on Monday morning for his commentaries on extra-judicial killings, which allegedly involves active members of the Cagayan de Oro City Police Office (COCPO).
Junel Ucat, Bombo Radyo Cagayan de Oro news director, said he received two text messages after his program on Tuesday morning warning him against commenting further on the illegal-drugs-related killing of three persons on December 10 and 11, 2014.
A companion of the three victims survived the attack.
This survivor tagged Cagayan de Oro Tourist Police Director Ludwig Charles Espera; Insp. Arnel Gighe, Espera’s deputy; PO1 Manuel Quipanes, of Station 2; and PO1 Jun Reil Barrientos, of Station 4; and five others as the ones behind the killings.
Ucat, who also anchors an afternoon primetime edition of the commentary programs for Bombo Radyo, said the text messages were sent after his Monday morning interview with the Police Director for Region 10. The interview centered on the killings of people who are suspected to have something to do with illegal drugs in the city.
The text message asked him if he was already tired with his life and if he wanted to “rest in peace” so people can be sent to kill him. It also warned him of discussing issues of people who opt to maintain their silence.
Ucat said the second text message also indirectly warned the rest of the station’s anchors, who have been commenting on the supposed involvement of policemen in summary executions in the city, to shut up or risk getting killed.
The National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) is already aware of the issue and has communicated with the threatened broadcaster.
Just this month, journalist Nerlita Ledesma was killed in Bataan reportedly for her involvement and role in a homeowner’s association. Her husband said that Ledesma worked to allow those without houses an opportunity to own one. At least two people were charged for the incident.
Ledesma is the 172nd journalist to be killed in the Philippines since 1986 and the 31st under the Aquino administration.