Dipolog radio station and blocktimer’s house fired at; broadcaster recalls other threats
CMFR/Philippines – A blocktimer in Dipolog City who was arrested even before he was charged with libel on May 3, World Press Freedom Day, reported gunshots fired at his house last 31 May 2013. Gunshots were also fired at the radio station that used to air his program. The blocktimer’s house was shot at again on 5 June 2013, four days after the first incident. Another anchor from the radio station said such shootings were common in Dipolog.
(Read more about the blocktime practice in the Philippines here.)
Rodolfo Tanquis told CMFR in a phone interview last 3 June 2013 that shots were fired at his family’s residence at around 12:30 am last 31 May 2013. Tanquis said he was not in the house at the time. He had not been going home since 2 May 2013 “to avoid endangering my family.”
On 3 May 2013, former Dipolog City police chief Reynaldo Maclang interrupted Tanquis’s radio program and arrested the blocktimer at the radio station even before charging him with libel, and without a warrant of arrest. Tanquis posted bail amounting to PHP10, 000 (some USD245) the following day (4 May 2013). He has since remained in hiding.
Tanquis told CMFR that his brother-in-law and his wife’s uncle almost got hurt in the shooting incident.
“My wife’s uncle had the incident blottered with the police, but I wouldn’t have bothered. I don’t trust the police,” Tanquis told CMFR.
About 2 hours after the incident at Tanquis’ residence, the radio station that aired Tanquis’s radio program, dxFL FM 88.9, was also fired at.
In a phone interview with CMFR last 3 June 2013, dxFL FM anchor Celestine Carbonel said radio station owner Franklin Lim reported hearing gunshots at around 2:30 am. Lim’s residence is a floor below the radio station. Lim and the station technician saw the damage to the radio station only at around 6:00 am.
Tanquis hosted “Isyu Karon” (“Current Issues”), a blocktime program that aired at dxFL FM. Tanquis’s contract with dxFL FM ended with the final episode of his program last 3 June 2013. Tanquis told CMFR he had been hosting the program through phone patch since being arrested last 3 May 2013.
Carbonel and Tanquis say the two shooting incidents could be related. Both said bullet casings from a .45 caliber pistol had been found at the site of the shootings.
A few days later, Tanquis told CMFR that his house was fired at again on 5 June 2013 at around 2:15 am. He said that eight empty casings from a 9mm pistol were found in the vicinity of his house and that the incident had been reported to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI).
Tanquis’ family was still in the house when the second shooting happened. They were unhurt.
Another libel case and more
Carbonel himself was charged with libel in 2011 for an article published on 13 March 2010.
Zamboanga del Norte representative Rosendo Labadlabad sued Carbonel for libel over an article headlined, “Anomalous School Building projects worth P18-million of Cong. Labadlabad Exposed”, according to a report by the newspaper Mindanao Observer.
Aside from anchoring the blocktime program “Headline Balita” on dxFL FM, Carbonel is also the overall-in-charge of the newspaper New Nandau Today where the allegedly libelous article was published.
On 14 February 2013, Carbonel’s house was also shot at. At around 3:00 am, a neighbor witnessed men riding-in-tandem firing at his house, Carbonel told CMFR.
“I was critical of the police,” Carbonel said, so he also reported the incident to the NBI.
“The practice is common here in Dipolog. (The houses of) lawyers, board members (politicians), have also been (shot at),” Carbonel added.
Nandau publisher attorney Aniceto Young told CMFR in a phone interview last 5 June 2013 that the editorial offices of Nandau and its sister publication Press Freedom (both published by the Young Printing Press) were also shot at last year, on 8 September 2012 at around 2:30 am.
“There were 7 to 8 victims (of shootings) in 2012,” Young told CMFR. He added that the victims were the private prosecutors against Maclang and media people critical of the said police officer and the Dipolog City administration.
Blocktimers jailed for illegal drugs
Young recalled that three blocktimers were jailed for illegal drug possession when Maclang was chief of police in Dipolog City: Ryan Uy was arrested on 29 October 2012, Genesis Ajero on 3 September 2012, and Joseph Herrera on 5 May 2011. But all three claimed the evidence against them had been planted.
A report by the online news site Rappler.com said the NBI had found that Maclang and other police officers committed “illegal acts” when they conducted an entrapment operation against Herrera.
On 21 August 2011, Mindanao Observer reported that an order from the Ombudsman for Maclang’s suspension had been issued, but Maclang’s lawyer said the order was null and void because Herrera’s complaint against Maclang had been dismissed earlier by the Philippine National Police (PNP) disciplinary authority of the Regional Investigation and Detective Management Division.
On 19 March 2011, Maclang received the Lakan Distinguished Award, the highest award granted to PNP Academy alumni.
“There will be no more critical blocktimers here by July (because of Maclang),” Young predicted.