Two broadcasters claim local official threatened them

Source: CMFR

A local official of Porac town, Pampanga in the Philippines allegedly threatened two journalists over a news story involving his business deals. Porac town is approximately 70 kilometers north of Manila.

DwGV Radyo Centro broadcasters Arnel Panganiban and Gary Bernardo were attending the opening of a convenience store in Subic, Zambales on 1 October 2010 when Porac town vice mayor Dexter David allegedly threatened to shoot them. “I’m going to shoot you! I’m not kidding!” David allegedly told them in the local dialect. The two decided to leave immediately after the incident.

The threat came after Bernardo reported a possible link between David’s business deals and the Porac Municipal Council’s inaction on residents’ complaints about the stench from the towns’ many piggeries. Bernardo’s  report said David, who heads the Porac Municipal Council, is a director of the Porac Swine Breeders Inc., while a council member who is also the head of its environment committee, Councilor Ludovico Muli, is a stockholder of FeedWorld, a supplier of livestock feed.

Residents have been complaining that the Porac Municipal Council has ignored complaints over the 20-year-old stench allegedly caused by piggeries in the area.

National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)-Pampanga Chapter Chair Wilfredo Villareal said last 19 October 2010 that David has been issuing threats against media people.

Before the incident, David allegedly called the local newspaper “Sun.Star Pampanga”’s office about a story by its reporter Charlene Cayabyab on a rally against livestock operators.

“Maybe Charlene does not know me, my wife is a Laus. Tell her not to make a mistake in going to Porac or something bad might happen to her,” David was quoted as saying to editor Jovi de Leon. Businessman Liberato Laus, part owner of “Sun.Star” Pampanga, is the uncle of David’s wife.

David also allegedly tried to bar the media from covering a public hearing on the piggery stench issue last 8 October 2010. Only two reporters were eventually allowed to cover the hearing.

NUJP – Pampanga has sent the Provincial Board a resolution denouncing David’s threats to silence the media over the piggery stench issue.

David denied in a 19 October 2010 report in “Sun.Star Pampanga”, “Town official denies threats to media people” that he had threatened Bernardo and Panganiban. He also said that he had already apologized to Cayabyab and other media personnel for what happened during the 8 October 2010 rally.

Bernardo was quoted in the same report as saying that he did not personally hear David’s alleged threat. “The threat could have been a prank by the other media people with him at the time. I did not hear what [David] said because I was far [from them]).