Ifugao vice mayor harasses two Baguio journalists

Two correspondents of the broadsheet Malaya were reportedly harassed by the vice mayor of Alfonso Lista town in Ifugao province last May 10.

Reports received by the National Union of Journalists of the Philipines said Ma. Elena Catajan and Redgie Cawis went to cover the town festival when Vice Mayor Clarence Polig allegedly “cursed” and, with his bodyguards, “drew his guns” at them during an interview.

The town official was allegedly drinking with the town’s jail warden and several others even before the interview started. After a while, he reportedly started a heated argument with the journalists, accusing them of “trespassing” and that their coverage was “illegal” since he claimed that they had no “work order” from him.

Polig also allegedly insisted that all dealings with the town had to get his approval. He did not listen to them despite claims of the two that they were invited by the town mayor, Charles Cattling, to cover the event.

At that point, the two journalists said, they were alarmed to notice that the vice mayor and three of his companions were “bringing out” their guns.  They wanted to leave but were stopped by Polig’s companions and an unidentified man who was wearing a bonnet and thick sweater.

The two reported the incident to the Lagawe police. Ifugao police director Sr. Supt. Joseph Adnol confirmed the incident but said Polig denied “drawing out” his guns to scare the journalists.

IFJ-NUJP Safety Office

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