Politician attacks broadcaster inside announcer’s booth

Radio broadcaster Roel Sembrano of Radyo Natin Compostela in Compostela Valley province was inside the announcer’s booth when a politician, accompanied by his wife and daughter barged in and attacked Sembrano.

A report sent to the IFJ-NUJP Media Safety Office by the NUJP-Davao chapter said Compostela Valley provincial board member Neri Barte, his wife and daughter physically attacked Sembrano last October 24 while he was on air. When Sembrano tried to stop them, Barte reportedly drew out his gun and threatened to kill him.

The report also said Sembrano criticized Neri on air for promising to give away 50 sacks of cement from the provincial government if a candidate for barangay (village) captain that he is supporting will win in the coming election.

In a joint statement (see copy below), NUJP-Davao and the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP) Davao chapter expressed “shock and disgust over the attack”.

“To attack a broadcaster right inside the announcer’s booth while he is doing his work is the height of brazenness that a government official can do. It only reflects the government official’s disrespect and ignorance of media’s role as watchdog of democracy, a role that should always be protected,” the statement said.

It was signed by CQ Francisco and Roy Geonzon, chairpersons of NUJP-Davao and KBP-Davao, respectively. #

IFJ-NUJP Media Safety Office




October 26, 2007

Statement on the attack of Radio Broadcaster Roel Sembrano
of Radyo Natin Compostela, Compostela town, Compostela Valley Province

We express our shock and disgust over the attack of radio broadcaster Roel Sembrano, who was inside the announcer’s booth, when a politician he criticized on air came in with his wife and daughter and mauled him.
To attack a broadcaster right inside the announcer’s booth while he is doing his work is the height of brazenness that a government official can do. It only reflects the government official’s disrespect and ignorance of media’s role as watchdog of democracy, a role that should always be protected.

Sembrano was in the midst of his radio program, where he criticized Compostela Valley Provincial Board Member Neri Barte for promising to give out 50 sacks of cement from the provincial government if candidate Jaime Blanco for barangay captain will win in the barangay election, when Barte barged in with his wife and daughter and physically attacked him.

When Sembrano tried to stop them, Barte allegedly drew out his gun and threatened to kill him.

For a government official to do this brazen attack and get away with it only shows the kind of democracy we have in the country where journalists are not only paid very low wages but are also getting killed for doing their work.

Sembrano’s attack came Wednesday (October 24), a day before the attempted slay of two radio blocktimers in Digos, Davao del Sur, Marlan Malnegro and Ruben Oliverio who were on a motorcycle from Radyo Ukay when men on motorcycles fired at them and missed.

We call on our colleagues in the print, broadcast and online media to rally behind and fight these latest attempts to harass and suppress the press.

We call on the government to educate both its appointed and elected officials, like Barte, that public interests have to come first before personal interest, and that the people’s right to know has to be protected at all cost.

We call on all our media colleagues to stay united in the face of these harassments and attacks against press freedom.

Carmelito Francisco
National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), Davao Chapter

Roy Geonzon
Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster sa Pilipinas (KBP), Davao Chapter


No Corruption in the Philippines

Ricky Gelido

We are living in a country that is economically stable. We are living in a country that is free from corruption. This is the Philippines under the Arroyo administration.

The Arroyo regime has never been linked to any alleged corruption. It was not connected with the P728 Million Fertilizer Scam of Joc Joc Bolante, former Agriculture Undersecretary. The President herself is not related to Jose Pidal who has an unexplained wealth of P200 million. The President has nothing to do with the overpriced Macapagal Boulevard and the Venable contract of Norberto Gonzales. It is also the same with the $2 Million Power Plant Deal by Nani Perez.

The P1.3 Billion Peso Poll Automation contract and the allegedly anomalous $503 Million Northrail Project are questionable but the regime could not be blamed. The controversial $329 Million ZTE National Broadband Network deal can not be considered part of corruption.

Millions or billions of money are not involved in anomalous contracts. There’s no corruption at all.

Malacañang and the President are pure enough that should not be dragged by the latest issue: the alleged giving of money or “cash gift” – bribery to many – after a breakfast in Malacanang.

But then there are whistleblowers.

Gov. Ed Panlilio of Pampanga was the first. Bulacan Governor Jon-jon Mendoza seconded the Panlilio declaration. Some other elected officials came to the open later. Negros Oriental Gov. Emilio Macias III, Cebu Rep. Antonio Cuenco, Bulacan Gov. Joselito “Jonjon” Mendoza and Pangasinan Rep. Rachel Arenas are among those who admitted that they received money.

Another one who admitted receiving money is Manila Rep. Bienvenido Abante. In a report, Abante said that the President was around during the distribution. But President Arroyo is totally innocent about this; that’s why she ordered the PAGC to investigate the matter.

There were already witnesses to the cash windfall. But why the silence of Malacanang? Questions arise. Was the money given with a receipt? Was it given in cash so that there would be no trail? From where was the money? The Department of Budget already issued a statement that the money did not come from its office. Still no bribery?

Excuses are everywhere. Squid tactics are all over. Diversionary issues are always present. All to hide the truth about the lies?

We don’t have a Bribery Republic. We have an untainted President. We have an unsullied government. The Malacanang residents are all clean. There is no moral corruption in the Philippines.

Such an illusion!

Penned by Ricky Gelido for Magandang Balita newspaper editorial (October 2007)


12 October 2007



Reporters Without Borders today called on the government and provincial authorities to order an exhaustive investigation into an attempt to murder radio journalist Jose Cagalawan Pantoja on 8 October in Iligan City, in the southern province of Lanao del Norte, in which he sustained serious gunshot wounds.

“It is vital that the police identify those responsible for this apparently targeted and premeditated attack on a radio presenter,” the press freedom organisation said. “The contract killers and those who put out the contract must not remain unpunished.”

Aged 44, Pantoja works for Iligan City-based radio dxLs. Two men on a motor-cycle shot him several times in the stomach at short range near a Mindanao university building. He was rushed to Mindanao hospital in a critical condition.

Known as a hard-hitting reporter, Pantoja is the main presenter of “Katawhan Alagaran” (Serve the People), a daily programme on local politics in which he investigates corruption and often criticises Lanao del Norte governor Vincente Belmonte. He has been the target of several defamation suits, some of which have been dismissed. He used to be the spokesman of former Lanao del Norte governor Imelda Dimaporo, who was defeated by Belmonte in the most recent elections. He said he received death threats prior to the shooting.

Journalism is a dangerous profession in the Philippines. At least six journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2006. Murders, physical attacks, arrests, unwarranted lawsuits and censorship are all commonplace.

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Vendredi 12 octobre 2007



Reporters sans frontières appelle le gouvernement et les autorités de la province de Lanao del Norte à ordonner une enquête exhaustive sur la tentative d’assassinat du journaliste Jose Cagalawan Pantoja.

“Il est essentiel que la police identifie les auteurs de cette attaque ciblée et vraisemblablement préméditée sur cet animateur radio. Les tueurs à gages et leurs commanditaires ne doivent pas rester impunis”, a affirmé l’organisation.

Jose Cagalawan Pantoja, 44 ans, travaille pour la station de radio dxLS à Iligan, dans le comté de Lanao del Norte, dans le sud des Philippines. Le 8 octobre 2007, vers 7 heures du matin, deux hommes à moto lui ont tiré plusieurs fois dans l’estomac à courte distance, aux abords de l’Université d’Etat Mindanao. Le journaliste a été admis à l’hôpital de Mindanao dans un état critique.

Jose Cagalawan Pantoja est connu pour ses reportages controversés. Le journaliste est le principal animateur du programme quotidien “Katawhan Alagaran ” (Servir le peuple), qui traite de politique locale. Il y dénonce la corruption et critique aussi le gouverneur de Lanao del Norte, Vincente Belmonte. Ses propos lui ont valu de nombreuses poursuites en diffamation dont certaines ont été rejetées. Il était également le porte-parole de l’ancien gouverneur de Lanao del Norte, Imelda Dimaporo, que Vincente Belmonte a vaincu aux dernières élections. Il avait déclaré avoir reçu des menaces de mort avant son agression.

Le journalisme, aux Philippines, est un métier dangereux. En 2006, au moins six professionnels des médias ont été tués. Assassinats, agressions, interpellations, plaintes abusives et cas de censure sont devenus monnaie courante dans ce pays.

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Tel :33 1 44 83 84 70 – Fax : 33 1 45 23 11 51
asie@rsf.org – Plus d’informations Â

Vincent Brossel
Asia – Pacific Desk
Reporters Sans Frontières
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75002 Paris
33 1 44 83 84 70
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Quezon City, Philippines
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Kontrobersiya sa Likod ZTE Deal

Rey Tamayo Jr.
Sa patuloy na imbestigasyon ng Senate Blue Ribbon committee hinggil sa kontrobersiyal at sa maanomalyang US$329 milyong national broadband network (NBN) contract ng pamahalaang Arroyo at ng ZTE Corp. ng China, sinabi kamakailan ni dating director ng National Economic Development Authority o NEDA na ngayon ay chair ng Commission on Higher Education Romulo Neri na tinangka siyang suhulan ni Commission on Elections (Comelec) Chairman Benjamin Abalos ng P200 milyon para paboran ang kontrata. Ang pahayag na ito ni Neri ang lalong nagdiin kay Abalos sa nasabing kuwestiyunableng kontrata.

Hindi ito unang pagkakataon kung saan nasangkot si Comelec Chairman Abalos sa mga kontratang pinapasok ng pamahalaan. Matatandaang nasangkot din si Abalos sa Mega-Pacific computerization deal na ipinabasura mismo ng Supreme Court dahil sa nakitang anomalya na dapat sana’y nagamit noong 2004 election.

Bukod pa rito ang naunang pahayag ni Joey de Venecia III na kinausap umano siya ni Abalos na iatras na niya ang pagsali sa supply contract ng kanyang kompanyang Amsterdam Holdings, Inc (AHI) sa National Broadband Network project o NBN. Ayon sa batang de Denecia, bibigyan umano siya ng 10 milyong dolyar para manahimik at magsawalang kibo sa ma-anomalyang kontrata ng mga tauhan ni pangulong Arroyo.

Bagama’t nag resign na si Abalos bilang chairman ng Comelec , tuloy pa rin ang imbestigasyon ng Senado sa pangunguna ni Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano na siyang chairman ng Blue Ribbon committee. May naglitawang balita na ilalaglag na ng Malacanang si Abalos sa kinakasangkutan nitong asunto matapos na sabihin ni Neri na tinangka siyang suhulan nito ng 200 milyon. Ang paglaglag kay Abalos ay isang hakbang upang mabaling na lamang sa dating Comelec Chairman ang atensiyon ng publiko imbes na kaladkarin pa ang esposo ni Ginang Arroyo na si First Gentleman Mike Arroyo na matatandang idinawit ni Joey de Venecia III bilang “mystery man” sa kontrobersiyal na kontrata.

Kataka taka kasi ang bilang pag alis ng Unang ginoo noong gabi bago tumestigo si Joey sa Senado. Kung wala siyang kinalaman sa nasabing maanomalyang ZTE- broadband deal scandal hindi na niya kailangang umalis ng bansa bagkus linisin na lamang niya ang kanyang pangalan sa Senado. Dili ba’t ito ang naging senario kay dating argriculture undersectretary Jocelyn “Joc-Joc” Bolante nang bigla na lamang nawala sa bansa sa kasagsagan ng imbestigasyon sa hindi maipaliwanag na pagkawala ng P728-million fertilizer fund na dapat sana’y mapakinabangan ng ating mga magsasaka.

Samantala, kontrolado naman ng Malacanang ang mga pahayag ni dating socioeconomic planning Sec. Romulo Neri sa pagdinig nito sa Senado matapos na gamitin nito ang ‘executive privilege’ ng tumanggi itong banggitin sa mga senador ang naging tagubilin sa kanya ng Pangulo sa broadband project dahil sa bahagi diumano ito ng executive privilege.

Ayon kay majority leader senator Kiko Pangilinan posible umanong pinoprotektahan ni Neri ang Pangulong Gloria Macapagal Arroyo at si First Gentleman Mike Arroyo hinggil sa naging papel ng mag-asawa sa broadband deal.

Ngunit kung tuluyang ilalaglag ng Palasyo si Abalos, hindi kaya bumuwelta ito sa mga taong nakasama niyang nakipagtransaksiyon sa ZTE deal. Alam naman ng publiko na kasama ni Abalos ang Unang ginoo sa nasabing transaksiyon sa pagbubunyag na rin ng batang de Venecia at alam ni Abalos ang naging papel ni pangulong Arroyo sa nasabing kontrata.