In Davao City, a local radio anchor received death threats and malicious text messages after slamming the lavish pre-debut photo shoot of the President’s granddaughter, Isabelle Duterte. Moreover, said broadcaster was accused of being sympathetic to the communist rebels.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) learned that Kathyrine “Kath” Cortez, host of the five-minute radio segment “Morning View” on Davao City-based Radyo ni Juan, got a series of text messages from the mobile number 0946-700-2090 last December 18.
Following the receipt of threatening messages, Cortez filed a report with the Regional Anti-Cybercrime Division Office XI in Davao City.
According to reports, she received the messages following her criticism of Isabelle’s grand pictorial at the Malacañang Palace, which also drew significant flak from netizens. Moreover, Cortez compared such lavishness to the lifestyle of the Marcos family during their regime.
The first message, which came at 9:42 a.m. read: “(H)inay2 lang bata ka pa! Cge ka pa pagda0t sa gbyerno murag ka korek! Undangi na inyong pagdpig sa komunista (Take it easy, you’re still young. You always criticize the government as if you are correct! Stop siding with the communists)!”
It was followed by another SMS message: “Undangi na iny0ng kabuang, oi! basin di namo maabtan 2018 klaro kaayo m0 kumunesta (Stop your foolishness. You might not live to see 2018, it’s clear you’re communists)!”
The last one sent read, “[I]sang bala para nimu! meri xmas (A bullet for you! Meri Christmas)!”
Apart from reporting the incident to proper authorities, Cortez also published the screenshots of said threats on her Facebook account, Inquirer report says.
NUJP condemned the act, and pointed out that Cortez has been outspoken on “human rights violations, continuing harassments on Lumad communities, and the one-year extension of martial law in Mindanao.”
In a text message to GMA News Online, Presidential Communications Undersecretary Joel Egco, the head of Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), stated that President Rodrigo Duterte does not accept violence against the media. Naturally, death threats fall under that same category.
Moreover, the PTFoMS is on Cortez’s case since the threat against her was considered as ‘red-tagging’. Atty. Jay de Castro, Egco’s chief of staff, told GMA News Online: “The action that we did was to write a letter to the NBI [National Bureau of Investigation] for verification of the threats made against Kath. Because this case of Kath is actually red-tagging.”
On the other hand, the President defended his granddaughter’s controversial pictorial, pointing out that most visitors often take photos of themselves at the Palace.
“Yung isang anak ko, and lumabas nga doon sa Daily Star na nagpa-picture. Ano ba naman ‘yan? Kadugo ko ‘yan eh. Small matter, gamitin lang ‘yung Malacañang. Wala naman ako doon,” Duterte explained previously.
“But even if I was there, itong granddaughter ko magpa-picture, lahat nga ng mga bisita pumupunta diyan, nagpapa-picture eh. You know, that girl, she’s going to be 18 years old,” the President added.
Isabelle is the daughter of Davao City Mayor Paolo Duterte, the President’s son.
TNP does not condone violence against journalists or persons working in media. Death threats are a serious offense and no person should ever wish to bring harm to others.
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