By Cong B. Corrales
Associate Editor .
A veteran journalist in Zamboanga City has earned the ire of right-wing trolls on social media for reporting on the seven young Tausug men killed in Patikul, Jolo last Friday. In her report, Philippine Daily Inquirer Julie Alipala cited the relatives who claimed that the slain young men were not members of Abu Sayyaf.
The military has insisted that the young men were killed in a “legitimate encounter.”
“I just can’t ignore the cries of mothers, wives, and children. In Sulu, if a genuine bandit was killed in a military operation, no one dares to claim the body. But this case is different. Families trooped to military headquarters bravely to secure their loved ones and they made noises against the killing,” Alipala said in an online interview.
On Monday, at about 2:30 pm, a Facebook group called Huwag Tularan maintained by a certain Phil Leaks posted: “Magkano kaya ang binayad kay Julie Alipala? Pati teroristang Abu Sayyaf pinagtatanggol niya!”
“For including the sides of the victims, I am now labeled as terrorist,” Alipala said.
Across the photo of Alipala are the words: “Certified Bayarang Kolumnista.” The post has been shared 279 times, 63 emoji reactions, and nine incendiary comments on its thread since its posting. A Bong Medina commented: “Dapat ito ang na a-ambush.””While a Ricardo Macapagal posted: “Tokhang yan,” on the thread.
In a statement, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemned the potentially dangerous post of Phil Leaks.
“Our colleague’s life is endangered by the irresponsible claim and criminal act of the creators and administrators of this social media group,” NUJP chairman Jaime Espina said in the statement.
Espina added that the actions of Phil Leaks only serves to bolster Alipala’s story.
“Lest they and the military forget, media’s obligation is to the truth and not the ‘official version’ of anyone,” he said.
The NUJP demanded that government authorities, including the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, the National Bureau of Investigation and the Philippine National Police investigate the harassment and prosecute the people behind the Facebook page.