Journalists file case vs Camiguin governor

Jun. 20, 2010

Four of the seven journalists allegedly harassed by Camiguin Governor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo  and ally Nestor Jacot filed a criminal complaint before the Office of the Provincial Prosecutor of Camiguin (OPPC) last June 10, arising from a mauling incident a day before the national and local elections last month.

The four, Herbert Hugo Dumaguing and son Hubert, Alphyn Cabanog, and Algin Lobino, accused Romualdo of serious illegal detention, grave threats, robbery, and violation of Section 261Q of the Omnibus Election Code, which pertains to the carrying of firearms during election period.

The four lodged the complaint before Prosecutor Maria Almira M. Tomampos of the OPPC accompanied by lawyer Fides Angeli Sabio of the Legal Network for Truthful Elections (Lente).

The four were also escorted by policemen from the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division (RIDMD) based in the police regional office in Camp Alagar, Cagayan de Oro City and by several journalists.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has encouraged the filing of cases against individuals, particularly if they are public officials, who threaten and attack journalists. It also monitored incidents of harassment during the last election campaign coverage. A total of 18 cases were documented by NUJP Media Safety Office.

The four journalists were among the six Cagayan de Oro City-based journalists who had sought refuge in the home of Catarman, Camiguin mayor Jose Antonio Gabucan after they were allegedly attacked and harassed Governor Jurdin Jesus Romualdo and his men on May 9, 2010 in Barangay Tangaro, Catarman, Camiguin.

The six media workers– Rene Abris, a volunteer reporter of Hot FM 106.3 and writer of the weekly Azilam Review; Herbert Hugo and Hubert Dumaguing, a father and son television news team from RR Productions, a production outfit that contracts airtime from Parasat Cable TV Channel 13, a local cable television channel; and Algin Lobino and Alphyn Cabanog, also of RR Productions; and Jinggoy Abanil of the Gold Star Daily—however, were able to go home safely two days later (May 11).

A seventh journalist, Roland Bruno, Abris’ stringer and fellow writer at Azilam Review who was earlier reported as missing, safely made it home a day after being allegedly accosted by Romualdo’s supporters.

The TV news team—the two Dumagings , Lovino, and Cabanog—had gone to Barangay Tangaro, Catarman to get pre-election video footage. The elder Dumaging told reporters here that they chanced upon what appeared to be vote buying by supporters of Catarman Lakas-Kampi mayoralty candidate Nestor Jacot, a Romualdo ally.

They were then mauled soon after a Jacot supporter noticed them taking footages, the elder Dumaging said.

“We were kicked and punched. Several men even pointed a revolver and an M-16 at us,” the elder Dumaging said.

Dumaging said Romualdo, who was in the vicinity, even pistol-whipped his head saying “Walay media-media dinhi (We don’t acknowledge the merdia in these parts).”

Both Romualdo and Jacot won in the elctions, Romualdo as governor and Jacot as mayor of Catarman, Camiguin.

For reference:

NUP-IFJ (International Federation of Journalists) Media Safety Office
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines
4/L FSS Bldg. # 89 Sct. Castor corner
Sct. Tuason Street (near T. Morato Ave),
Bgry. Laging Handa,
Quezon City, Philippines
Tel.: (+632) 3767330
Web: (under construction)

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