Journalists’ charges vs governor junkedBy JB Deveza
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines—The northern Mindanao prosecution office has dismissed the kidnapping, robbery and physical injury charges filed by four former journalists against Camiguin Gov. Jurdin Jesus Romualdo and another local politician for insufficiency of evidence.
In a resolution dated May 11 but made available only over the weekend, a panel of three prosecutors dismissed the complaint filed by Herbert Hubert Dumaguing, Herbert Hugo Dumaguing, Agin Lobino and Alphyn Cabanog against Romualdo and Catarman (Camiguin) Mayor Nestor Jacot.
The four accused Romualdo and Jacot of robbery, kidnapping, grave threats, physical injuries and violation of the Omnibus Election Code, particularly on the carrying of firearms during an election period.
The complainants said they were mauled by supporters of Romualdo after they were caught taking video of what they claimed were incidents of vote–buying in Barangay Tangaro in Catarman during last year’s elections.
They also said they were detained and some of their belongings were forcibly taken from them.
The four were then working for RR Productions, which has bought airtime from local TV stations to cover the elections.
The northern Mindanao prosecutor’s office took over the case after the complainants requested a change of venue from Camiguin, citing Romualdo’s influence.
In dismissing the complaint, the regional prosecutor’s office said the complainants failed to present evidence to support the accusations against Romualdo and Jacot.
In the resolution, which was signed by deputy regional prosecutor Eldred Cole, senior assistant regional prosecutor Merlynn Barola-Uy, and assistant regional prosecutor Irene Alejado-Meso, the regional prosecutor’s office also questioned the credibility of the complainants, saying “legitimate media would not let themselves be gun(s)-for-hire for they are supposed to be neutral.”
RR Productions was allegedly financed by a rival of Romualdo’s.