NUJP condemns attack on Abra journalist

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemns the attack early in the morning of May 14 on journalist Marjorie Bandayrel-Trinidad, staff reporter of ABRA TODAY, by unidentified gunmen who fired at her house in Bangued, Abra, apparently in retaliation for an editorial she wrote criticizing the purchase of vehicles for officers of the Abra Electric Cooperative (ABRECO).

It is fortunate that Ms Trinidad, her husband and two-year old boy were not hurt in the attack. Reports received by colleagues from Ms. Trinidad make clear that she was the target of the attack. Ms Trinidad’s husband was awakened by the sound of shattering glass as the bullets hit their bedroom window. Reports indicate that the Trinidad residence was hit three times and a .45 caliber slug was recovered from the couple’s bed. NUJP has received information that the family has gone into hiding while the incident is being investigated.

Colleagues in northern Luzon also report that, a day before the attack, Ms Trinidad received a warning to be careful because the editorial she wrote, which was published in the May 3 edition of her paper, had angered some quarters.

We would like to express our appreciation to the Abra provincial police for their quick action in providing protection for Ms Trinidad and her family. We would also like to thank Abra Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian for immediately issuing a statement of condemnation against the attack.

We have been informed that the general manager of ABRECO has approached Ms Trinidad to deny any involvement in the attack on her. Although Abra has earner notoriety for the culture of violence that has been the bane of its politics, this is the first time that a journalist has been targeted.

It is no secret that many, if not all, people of influence in Abra maintain private armies. It is therefore not farfetched for us to fear that the attack on Ms Trinidad may not be the last.

Therefore, while thankful for the protection the police are providing Ms Trinidad and her family, we call on Abra provincial director Senior Superintendent Charlo Collado, to order his men to act swiftly to identify, arrest and prosecute not just the shooters but, more importantly, the mastermind as well.

This latest attack on a journalist whose only fault is to practice her profession is clear proof of government’s failure to bring to an end the culture of impunity that has emboldened those who wish to muzzle the independent Philippine press.

Since 1986, this culture of impunity has cost us the lives of 100 colleagues, 64 of them murdered under the Arroyo administration alone, the worst death toll under any sitting president. Should any harm befall Ms Trinidad and her family, the blame should clearly be on this government because of its failure to end once and for all the killing of journalists. #

Nonoy Espina, NUJP vice chair


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