Originally published on the CMFR website on 6 October 2017.
The vice mayor of Dapa in Surigao del Norte physically attacked a community newspaper editor in the town of Pilar on 23 September 2017. Surigao del Norte is 1,155 kilometers south of Manila.
Edito Mapayo, editor in chief of Diaryo Balita, was covering an event by the Department of Health in Pilar District Hospital when Vice Mayor Francisco “Junjun” Gonzales accosted him. Gonzales punched, slapped and choked Mapayo for writing an article about the Sandiganbayan issuing a suspension order to the vice mayor for graft.
Mapayo reported the incident to Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao and the Pilar municipal police.
This was not the first time that the two had an encounter. In a phone interview, Mapayo said that in 2015 his former newspaper Mindanao Daily Centro published a blind item about a local official who ordered policemen to tend to his fighting cocks. Gonzales reacted to the report and assumed Mapayo, who was then a correspondent of the newspaper, was the person behind it. Mapayo added that the vice mayor summoned him to his office and threatened to shoot him.
Gonzales has yet to release an official statement on the incident. CMFR tried to contact the vice mayor through the municipal office but he was not available to comment.