Bangkok, September 23, 2011–Philippine authorities should launch an investigation into the abduction of radio commentator Louie Larroza’s daughter, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. Larroza told reporters the kidnapping was a “warning” for his radio broadcasts, news reports said. The journalist’s daughter, unharmed, was freed eight hours later.
Larroza, station manager of DYEC radio, had received anonymous threats to his family regarding his critical commentaries in the days before his daughter was kidnapped, according to Redempto Anda, a representative of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP). Then, on September 15, unidentified assailants abducted the 17-year-old girl in front of her university in Puerto Princesa, Palawan, an island province south of Manila, local news reports said.
“Intimidation and harassment of journalists are all too common in provincial areas of the Philippines and will continue until local police set a better example,” said Shawn Crispin, CPJ’s senior Southeast Asia representative. “We call on authorities to investigate and arrest those responsible for abducting Louie Larroza’s daughter and guarantee his and his family’s security.”
On the morning of September 15, abductors forced Larroza’s daughter into a black vehicle, blindfolded her, and kept her at a warehouse for the next eight hours, news reports said. She was released at 6 p.m. after police were able to trace her location from a signal on her cell phone, the Philippine Inquirer daily newspaper reported. Her kidnappers were not identified or captured, news reports said.