CPJ condemns threats against journalists in the Philippines

New York, August 4, 2005—The Committee to Protect Journalists is deeply concerned about recent threats against Glenda M. Gloria, managing editor of Newsbreak, and Mei Magsino-Lubis, Batangas correspondent for the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

A funeral wreath was delivered to the residence of Gloria’s mother on Tuesday night, according to a statement released by the Manila-based news magazine. The flowers came with the message, “Condolence from your loving friends.” The delivery person identified the sender as a 30-year-old man in a black car.

Gloria told The Associated Press that the act was “meant to scare the family.”

“While we know that threats come with our job, we do not take this lightly,” the Newsbreak statement said. Yesterday, the flower shop received a second call requesting that they return to the same address, AP reported.

Gloria is a prominent investigative reporter who has written several recent articles about the Philippine military. She called a military intelligence unit the “number one suspect” in the controversial wiretapping of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. On the recording, which was leaked to the press, Arroyo is heard talking to an election monitor prior to the results of the May election. Based on the recording, opposition lawmakers have filed an impeachment complaint against the president, alleging election tampering.

In the latest issue of Newsbreak, Gloria reported on the alleged participation of some military officers in election fraud in a southern region of the Philippines last year.

Lubis, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reporter, is in hiding after a caller told her on July 8 that two prisoners from the provincial jail had been released with orders to kill her. The caller suggested that she leave Batangas, the provincial capital of Batangas in the islands of Luzon. The Manila-based Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility reported that the caller was a “police source” of Lubis.

The warning followed a series of articles that Lubis has written on local corruption, including allegations that the governor, Armando Sanchez, has been involved in illegal gambling. She has also written reports investigating the May 30 murder of a provincial official who was investigating the governor’s activities.

“We are deeply concerned by these threats against our colleagues. We urge authorities to take them seriously and to ensure the safety of the journalists,” CPJ Executive Director Ann Cooper said.