By Jigger J. Jerusalem
AMID the proliferation of posters containing accusatory statements against Iglesia Filipina Independiente bishops and priests, human rights lawyers and journalists, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) here reminded those behind the posting of these materials that dissent is not a crime.
The posters were seen plastered on the fence of the IFI church in Barangay Agusan on Sunday.
Among those accused as supporting the New People’s Army are the NUJP and Leonardo Vicente “Cong” Corrales, associate editor of the Mindanao Gold Star Daily. Corrales used to be a member of the NUJP’s national directorate.
The NUJP Cagayan de Oro chapter called it “an act clearly meant to intimidate and silence a critical press.”
NUJP has long denied links to the communist insurgency, pointing out that it has been working to advance the rights of the media practitioners.
As an organization, the NUJP has stood and continues to stand firmly for the safety and welfare of Filipino journalists and media workers as well as for the practice of good, solid, and ethical journalism, the group said in a statement it released Monday.
“The NUJP is not a ‘front’ for any organization. But it shall and will also not stand idly by while the truth is under persistent attack; it shall and will not cower while freedom of the press and the people’s right to truthful, accurate, and relevant information is under assault,” said the NUJP in the statement, which was signed by chapter chair Pamela Jay Orias and JB Deveza of the NUJP-Western Mindanao Safety Office.
The group said any dissenting opinion against the present government is not considered unlawful.
“Perhaps the people behind this dastardly act need reminding that a free press is guaranteed under the Philippine Constitution. Perhaps the people behind this despicable act need reminding that journalists are not enemies of the state. Perhaps the people behind these lies forget that journalists are just truth-tellers whose job serve the public interest,” it said.
Corrales denied the accusation against him as he urged media entities to ask local officials to look into the repeated red taggings in the city.
“I feel they will not stop until one of us in the list is killed,” he said.