TACLOBAN CITY—An outgoing party-list congressman who is running for mayor of this city is facing a complaint at the Commission on Elections (Comelec) for harassing and intimidating a radio commentator who has been criticizing the candidate.
Manuel Marta, who anchors a program in radio station dyBR, asked the Comelec to investigate An Waray party-list Rep. Florencio Noel and file charges against him.
Marta said he was wrapping up his radio program, “Punto de Vista,” at around 8 a.m. on April 26 when Noel, accompanied by armed bodyguards, barged into the announcer’s booth, grabbed his microphone and insisted on talking on air.
Marta’s lawyer, Rosemarie Pelaez, said that although the complaint filed against Noel was criminal in nature, as a candidate, his acts could be considered within the jurisdiction of the Comelec.
Karen Cajipo, city election officer, said Marta’s affidavit would be sent to the Comelec’s legal department.
Reached for comment, Noel said he would answer the complaint at the Comelec. But he denied he tried to hurt anyone in the radio station.
He said he heard Marta’s attacks on air and went to the station to air his side.
“I did it in good faith. I asked permission to enter the radio station and shake Marta’s hand,” Noel said.
Noel is running for mayor against reelectionist Mayor Alfredo Romualdez of the Nacionalista Party.
In his affidavit, Marta said Noel, his bodyguards, candidates Jing Sumayod and Raissa Villasin, and an unidentified woman forced their way into the announcer’s booth, which is a restricted area.
According to Marta, Noel sat on a seat reserved for invited guests, started to push buttons on the control board and reportedly grabbed the microphone from him and started talking on air.
Marta said Noel’s actions are a “clear form of harassment and intimidation to discourage free political commentary.”
Noel said Marta has been consistent in attacking him for the past three years.
Marta said during his program, he was discussing a study conducted by a group of students from the University of the Philippines that cited An Waray as among 11 party-list groups in Congress that failed to pass any bill for their sectors.
Complaint affidavit of Manuel Marta can be viewed here:
First posted 7:33 pm | Friday, May 3rd, 2013