Source: Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility
The mayor of a city in Pangasinan province, Northern Philippines allegedly threatened to harm and kill a radio station manager and commentator last January 3, 2003 after the latter reported that an illegal numbers game was widespread in the mayor’s city. The mayor later apologized.
Orly Navarro said that Mayor Julian V. Resuello of San Carlos City threatened him during an informal gathering with some media personalities and Pangasinan town mayors at a local hotel. Navarro is the station manager of, and a commentator for Super Radyo in nearby Dagupan City and former president of the Pangasinan Press and Radio Club (PPRC).
In an interview with the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility last January 7, Navarro said that after he was introduced to Resuello, the mayor, “who was raging like a bull”, shouted invectives at him and attempted to slap him. Navarro added that Resuello repeatedly threatened to kill him and showed him his gun to emphasize the threat.
According to Navarro, Resuello kept on saying that “no media person – friend or foe – has the right to criticize” him. Apparently, Resuello got angry from Navarro’s report in his radio program “Super Isyu tan Komentaryo” that “jueteng”, an illegal numbers game “is still rampant in San Carlos City.”
A press statement by the Katipunan ng mga Mamamahayag sa Pangasinan (League of Journalists of Pangasinan or KMP) later declared that Navarro “was (just) quoting the result of a survey conducted by the Lingayen-Dagupan (Catholic) archdiocese.”
The two other mayors present in the meeting pacified Resuello, ending what could have been a bloody incident.
The KMP, formed as an offshoot of this incident, denounced Resuello’s act as “an affront not only to Mr. Navarro but to the Pangasinan media as a whole.” The group’s statement also said there have been similar incidents between Resuello and other media personalities in Pangasinan in the past.
Navarro said the PPRC requested for him to come in a meeting last January 6 so the group could look into the case case, but that upon receiving information that Resuello was also coming, he walked out. “It was like a set-up,” Navarro said.
However, the mayor went to his radio station last January 7 and apologized to Navarro. Despite Resuello’s apologies, the broadcaster is still planning “to get justice.”