Mindoro journalist asks for writ of amparo before SC

Press release

NUJP – A journalist from Oriental Mindoro, who was forced into hiding because of what he said were serious threats to his life, filed a petition for a writ of amparo before the Supreme Court Monday afternoon.

The petition, filed by the Roque Butuyan Law Office, said Nilo Baculo of Calapan City, Oriental Mindoro, was “a journalist whose life, liberty and security- he has strong grounds to believe- is threatened by powerful political and business interests in his hometown.”

Named respondents were Calapan Mayor Paulino Leachon, Vice Mayor Rafael Infantado, City Administrator Antonio Perez, Councilors Allan Mañibo, Teddy Jose Flores and Roberto Concepcion; former councilors Victor Ulayan Jr., Juan Pablo Luna, Federico Cabailo Sr., Benjamin M. Cacha and Ralph Rojas; former Mayor Carlos Brucal and former Vice Mayor Robert Paras; Maximo Evora, head of the Governor’s Special Action Group; and businessman Wilfredo Caballero.

Baculo, 60, used to host the radio program “Isumbong Mo Kay Ka Nilo” and is former publisher of the local tabloid “Traveler’s News.”

His case was first known last December when he wrote the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines to seek help. Subsequent
inquiries with other Mindoro-based journalists confirmed that Baculo had indeed gone into hiding because of the threats.

Baculo said a gun-for-hire contracted to kill him backed out and informed him of the plot. He said those out to get him have since
hired other killers.

The petition noted that Baculo “has no means to protect himself or to determine the true source of the conspiracy to murder him,” which was alleged triggered by several exposes he had aired or published through the years.

While it noted that the NUJP “have made public an appeal to the Philippine National Police (PNP) on behalf of Petitioner,” this was
“to no avail, however, as to date, no official police action has been taken to investigate the threats made against Petitioner’s life.”

In an earlier statement on Baculo, the NUJP acknowledged that it had been “informed that Mr. Baculo is a controversial personality” but stressed that “this does not detract from the fact that the threat to his life stems from his reports of alleged official wrongdoing whose subjects now seek to silence him.”

“Petitioner’s resort to the Writ of Amparo is clearly necessary, the existence of credible threat to his life apparent in the dire circumstances he has found himself in as a result of his commitment to his profession as a journalist,” it said.

Jose Torres Jr., NUJP Chairman
Rowena Paraan, NUJP Secretary General

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