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Robbery, grave threat, coercion filed vs lady journo attacker

CL media groups welcome swift action, assistance by PTFoMS

MEMBERS of the Central Luzon Media Association (CLMA) and the Pampanga chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), commended the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) for its swift action and assistance leading to the filing of criminal charges against a private security agency official who robbed and threatened to kill 88.7 K5 News FM radio anchor and field reporter, Rowena Rebusada Quejada.

Quejada was with other members of the media covering the demolition that turned violent at Sitio Balubad, Bgy. Balibago, Angeles City, in the morning of March 12, 2024, when she was confronted by suspect at the height of the commotion involving the residents and the demolition team assisted by security guards from the Primo Shield Security Service and Investigation (PSSSI), a private security agency based in Quezon City.

PSSI was hired by the legal owner of the property, Clarkhills Property Corporation, to assist in the court-issued writ of demolition.

PTFoMS Executive Director Usec. Paul M. Gutierrez, said the complaint for robbery with intimidation, grave threat, grave coercion, oral defamation, and illegal possession of firearms, was filed against the suspect, alias ‘Mico’ on March 22, 2024, or just 10 days after the incident.

He is not the guy. PTFoMS Executive Director Usec. Paul M. Gutierrez chided Clarkhills for presenting the wrong person during investigation who claimed to have assaulted Queada (photo courtesy of Atty. Hue Juyro Go).

The PTFoMS is the principal government mechanism mandated to address all violations against the life, liberty, and security of all members of the media and ensure a safe media environment in the Philippines, created under Administrative Order No. 1, series of 2016.

Gutierrez said that right after being alerted of the goings on in Angeles City, he dispatched PTFoMS chief of staff, Atty. Hue Jyro Go, to investigate the incident.

Go stayed the whole day of March 13 and the day following in Angeles City to investigate the matter with the assistance from the Angeles City Police Office, Task Force Usig and Angeles City Chief Prosecutor Oliver Garcia.

As provided for under AO No. 1 and DOJ Circular 20, series of 2023, Garcia took the lead in investigating the incident involving Quejada.

Quejada said she is determined to pursue the case after the suspect refused to show up at the Angeles City Police Office to give his side on the incident, apologize to her and compensate her for her losses.

Gutierrez also chided Clarkhills Property for bad faith after it presented a fake suspect during the investigation who claimed he was the one who assaulted Quejada.

He said the charges were appropriate for the gross violation of Quejada’s civil and media rights committed by the suspect who was positively identified by Quejada.

Another member of the press, Joann Manabat, 39, of online news outlet, ‘Rappler,’ was also threatened to be shot by unknown persons during the demolition should she try to take video clips of the unfolding events but decided not to file any complaint.

The computer rendition of the suspect, aka, ‘Mico’ an official of the private security agency hired to assist in the demolition.

Quejada bared in her sworn complaint that the suspect, in white shirt, not only poke a gun at her face but also forcibly took her cellphone to prevent her from recording the ongoing violent demolition. The suspect also threatened her, thus:

“Kayong mga media ang mga demonyo, dapat sa inyo ibinabaon ng buhay o pinapatay! Matagal na dapat tapos ang demolisyon dito pero dahil sa mga putang-inang media katulad ninyo, tumatagal ang trabaho namin! (You, the media are the devils, you should be buried alive or killed! The demolition should have concluded a long time ago but because of media mother f**kers like you, are job is taking longer!)”

Quejada said she tried to reason with the suspect and said she has not taken any video footage, but the suspect instead shouted on his men to start digging her grave (“Hukayin na ninyo ang paglilibingan nito!”).

Quejada said the suspect then grabbed a crowbar and aimed to strike her with it. Fortunately, she added, an old Japanese resident and his wife who are witnessing the incident intervened and pleaded with her to come with them in the safety of their home.

Gutierrez earlier proposed to the Commission on Human Rights (CHR), as a member of PTFoMS, for the creation of a ‘joint panel’ to probe the whole incident and offer to the commission other evidence they have gathered but his suggestion was declined.

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