Reporter alleges harassment by former anti-drugs chief

[Original title: Filipino reporter alleges harassment by former anti-drugs chief. Source: CMFR]

A Filipino news reporter filed a complaint against a former director of the government’s anti-drug trafficking agency in Cebu province, approximately 571 km south of Manila.

Reporter Rey Pasaporte claims that a former district chief of the Filipino Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) Adrian Alvarino threatened him over a report Pasaporte wrote implicating Alvarino in the involvement of the release of a suspected drug lord.

Pasaporte wrote in his report, published 24 September, that a text message from a “concerned citizen” said that Alvarino was involved in the pay off for the release of suspected drug dealer Yongyong Villaceran. Villaceran was arrested by PDEA agents and then released after reportedly paying the equivalent of approximately USD18,000. Pasaporte said he and other reporters had gone to the PDEA district office but Alvarino had declined to be interviewed.

In an affidavit filed 6 October with the Office of the Ombudsuan, Pasaporte alleges that Alvarino threatened to “get back at him” for the report.

“He was furious when the report came out, but I tried to get his reaction before it was published,” Pasaporte told the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR). Pasaporte immediately called Alvarino after the release of the report on 24 September upon hearing from his editor that Alvarino might file libel charges against him.

Alvariño allegedly told him: “Remember this Rey, I’ll get back at you.” Pasaporte hung up, but received a text message from Alvariño saying, “You will be sorry.”

Members of the Cebu Federation of Beat Journalists said in a statement that they “believe that Alvariño has violated the law on freedom of the press, the Ethical Standards on Officials and Employees of Government and the Revised Penal Code.”

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CMFR (http://www.cmfr-phil.org) is a SEAPA founding member
based in Manila, the Philippines, working to promote ethical
journalism and to protect press freedom.

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