Militia Leader Threatens to Ambush Journalists in Mindanao
CMFR/ PHILIPPINES – A leader of an anti-communist militia group implicated in the killing of several members of an indigenous people’s community in Mindanao allegedly threatened to ambush Mindanao-based journalists who would cover the 47th anniversary of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) on December 26.
On December 24, local journalists in Mindanao reported receiving a text message from a certain Bobby Tejero, who claimed to be a leader of the Magahat-Bagani militia. Magahat-Bagani is a military-backed force linked to the spate of lumad killings last September. Tejero is among the Magahat members tagged in the murder of Alternative Learning Center for Agricultural and Livelihood Development administrator Emerito Samarca and Manobo leaders Dionel Campos and Datu Bello Sinzo in Surigao del Sur last September 1.
The text message warned Mindanao reporters not to cover the CPP anniversary or they would be ambushed along the way. The text also said that those who will join the event are supporters of the communist group.
A Davao-based journalist sent a copy of the Magahat-Baghani text message to CMFR. The message said–
“Maayong adlaw sa tanang media sa mindanao, among ipahibalo nga kung kinsa man ang magtambong sa anibersaryo sa CPP/NPA/NDF nga taga media among apilon ug ambush. Kay kun mutambong sa maong anibersaryo nagpasabot nga linya sa NPA, mao ng kinahanglan walay magtungas nga media arun dili maapil sa gira. Gira nga NPA batok sa armadong lumad MAGAHAT…walay labot ang kasundalohan ug mga police ky amo ra kining bangi TRIBU bersus NPA. daghan salamat!! #Nagpahibalo Bobby Tejero commander sa MAGAHAT… Palihog ipakalat sa tibook Mindanao. (Good Day to all members of the media in Mindanao, we would like you to know that whoever will cover the CPP/NPA/NDF anniversary will be ambushed. Anyone who will attend the event is a sympathizer of the NPA, which is why the media should not attend to avoid being involved in the war. The war between the NPA and the armed lumad Magahat…the military and the police have nothing to do with this because this is a fight between the tribe and the NPA. Thank you. #Informant Bobby Tejero commander of the Magahat…Please spread throughout Mindanao).”
According to local journalists, the threat has already been reported to authorities.