Two Sun.Star Davao editors received death threats through a text message, accusing them of presenting news stories favorable to the city government which the editors denied.
According to reports, editor in chief Stella Estremera said the threats did not refer to specific stories where the paper was allegedly in favor of the City Hall.
The threats, which came from an unlisted number and received by news editor Gigi Agtay, reportedly said “isang bala lang kayo” (”all it takes is just one bullet”).
A text message received by Agtay at 7:20 pm of August 20 from cellphone number 09179125620 read, “Hi stella, we knw na kasali ka payrol ng city hall. Pero huwag mong kalimotan puede kang isang bala kalang. Sayang lang galing mo. Nabulag ka sa katotohanan. BE FAIR NAMAN IN REPORTING. Maybe u knw what i mean. Dont be bias. Ang panahun baya ay weather2 lang.” (”Hi stella, we know you are included in the payroll of the city hall. But don’t forget that it takes just one bullet [to bring you down]. Your talent is just going to waste. You have been blinded from seeing the truth. JUST BE FAIR IN REPORTING. Maybe you know what I mean. Don’t be biased.”)
The second message received still by Agtay at 9:07 pm of the same day read, “Ikaw din Gigi pagsabihan mo yan kaibigan mo si Stela. Be fair in ur reporting hindi bias. Naging most outstanding kayo hndi lahat panahon kayo nasa ibabaw. isang bala lang kayo.” (”You too Gigi, tell your friend Stela. Be fair in your reporting, do not be biased. You were awarded most outstanding [but] you can’t be on top all the time. It just takes one bullet [to bring the two of you down].”)
In their website, Estremera denied being in the City Hall’s payroll and that their reports are biased for the local government. “The stories can speak for themselves… We take our job seriously,” Estremera was quoted as saying.
Estremera, however, refused to name any person or group who may be behind the threats, or speculate on the probable motive.
IFJ-NUJP Media Safety Office
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