Journalist reports suspicious “visit”

CMFR/Philippines – A news correspondent in Zamboanga City reported to the police that two “suspicious-looking” men riding in tandem on a motorcycle went to her home in the afternoon of 13 September 2012 and asked for her, but left immediately when she asked them what they wanted. Zamboanga City is approximately 863 kilometers south of Manila.

Julie Alipala, a correspondent of the Manila-based daily Philippine Daily Inquirer, told the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) that one of the men alighted from the motorcycle and approached her son who was playing with his cousins in front of their house. The man asked her son where she was. When Alipala’s son said that she was inside their house, the unidentified man asked if he could call his mother.

Alipala looked through a window to check who were looking for her. She told CMFR that the men, whom she did not know, were on a motorcycle without a plate number and with the engine running.

Most of the killings of journalists in the Philippines have been committed by two men riding in tandem on a motorcycle.

Alipala said that from the window, she asked the back rider thrice what he wanted. The man responded that he wanted to know if Alipala was selling a vehicle parked behind her house. But without waiting for an answer, the two men left quickly.

Alipala report the incident to the police. She told CMFR last 17 September 2012 that the men had not come back after the incident, and that she had received no threat.

But Alipala said the incident could be connected with her recent reports about the alleged wrongdoings of the local Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police. One of her reports about the local PNP-CIDG discussed the allegedly questionable arrest of suspects in kidnapping incidents in Mindanao. ( “Two groups question arrest of fish vendor“, “Abu Sayyaf suspect nabbed, but group cites mistaken identity“)

A CMFR study in 2006 found that most of the journalists killed in the Philippines since 1986 were reporting on corruption in local governments and on the activities of criminal syndicates.