Radioman in ‘tsunami scare case’ stays quiet at homeBy Ador Vincent Mayol
Cebu Daily News
THIS time, radio broadcaster Danilo Cogtas stayed home and stayed quiet.
When the 7.6 magnitude earthqake struck Friday night, the radio dyRB commentator made sure he gave no one a reason to remember that he was blamed for causing panic by shouting “tsunami” when a a February 6 tremor was felt in Cebu City.
“Wala nako naghimo og bisan unsang storya. Wala na lang ko nagpakabana kay basin pasanginlan na pud ko. (I didn’t make any story about the earthquake. I didn’t make any announcement in case I get blamed again)” Cogtas told Cebu Daily News.
Cogtas said he was home in barangay Talamban, Cebu City when Friday’s quake ocured.
Cogtas is facing trial for allegedly sparking mass hysteria in downtown Cebu City following the February 6 earthquake.
He will be arraigned on Oct. 17 on charges of causing tumult and public disturbance before the Municipal Trial Court in Cities (MTCC).
The offense carries a penalty of one month to six months imprisonment.
Cogtas denied that he was the man seen using a megaphone shouting warnings of a tsunami on the street in barangay Pasil.
He said the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs) was to blame for issuing a tsunami alert, which frightened people.
“Dili sila moangkon nga sila ang hinungdan sa panic. Ako hinoon ang gi-filan. Silay nagpahibaw nga naay posibleng tsunami. (Phivolcs won’t admit that they were responsible for the panic. I was charged in the process. It was Phivolcs who informed about the public about the possible tsunami),” he said.
He said Phivolcs should conduct seminars to educate the public about the meaning of tsunami alert levels 1, 2 and 3 so people know what to do and how to react.
In the court complaint, two habal-habal (motorcycle-for-hire) drivers identified Cogtas as the man who shouted to people that a tsunami was coming.
In Cogtas’s account, he said he wasn’t the man seen using a megaphone warning people about a tsunami.
He said he went to barangay Pasil on a motorbike to fetch a child of the secretary of radio station dyRB when the mass hysteria occurred last Feb. 6.
He drove there with the secretary and her two sons.
On reaching the area, the secretary fetched her daughter.
At that point, Cogtas said he decided to call his 21-year-old son in Talisay City on the cellphone.
He said he told his son to run and not be complacent because a tsunami was coming.
Cogtas said he didn’t intend to panic other people by his conversation, which was overheard by others. After the phone call, the group – Cogtas , the secretary and her three children went to the upland barangay Guadalupe for safety.
Cogtas is an accredited broadcaster of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP) and handles daily commentary programs on radio dyRB.
He said he’s presently with Talisay City Mayor Socrates Fernandez, a fellow Catholic Faith Defender.
They discuss matters of faith and the Church on the program “Katin-awan sa Pagtuong Katoliko” aired over the Cebu Catholic Television Network. REPORTER ADOR VINCENT S. MAYOL