Abalos looking into threats against journalists

Interior Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr., vowed to look into the death threats directed at journalist Ed Lingao and Lourd de Veyra, both of TV5.

Abalos said he is going to order the PNP Anti-Cybercrime Group to look into the threat.

One “Seth Corteza of Metrosun” recently tweeted “Balita ko may dalawa pang kasama sa kontrata pero di ko lam ang eksaktong oras at petsa o lugar. Sila Ed Lingao at Lourd ng TV 5.”

“I will ask our police to take note of this and we could really trace this… We will have this looked into by the (anti) cybercrime and we will have this traced,” Abalos said.

He reiterated his appeal to members of the media not to hesitate in reporting to authorities threats to their life.

“Our office is always for the journalists. If there is a threat at all, just let us know. That is a priority (of the DILG),” said Abalos, referring to the protection of mediamen.

Lingao said the tweet came a day after the radio broadcaster Percival Mabasa, also known as Percy Lapid, was shot dead by two assailants in Las Pinas last 3 October. Lingao implied he is not frightened by the threat.

Meanwhile, the Commission on Human Rights said it will look into the threat as it stressed its stance to defend press freedom as it called for the protection of all media workers.

“We do not and cannot take lightly any threats or any allusions to harm the lives of journalists, regardless if such statements are deliberate or cursory,” the CHR said in a statement.

“We shall endeavor to reach out to the involved and explore preventive measures, through our Investigation Office, offer assistance as well as a quick response mechanism that will look into the veracity of threats, among others,” the CHR said.

It reiterated the vital role of the media “in helping the Filipino citizenry obtain timely and accurate information imperative to the realizations of their rights.”

“Any attempts to silence the press — particularly by creating a culture of fear and violence — directly impacts democracy and the human rights situation in the country,” the CHR said.

It urged concerned government agencies to address violations of the rights of the media and to “take proactive measures to stop media attacks.”

“We look forward to their efforts to look into this matter and similar cases of media rights violations committed in the country. CHR hopes for genuine justice and the end of impunity,” the CHR said.

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