Media groups slam red-tagging of CDO journalist
CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY – Media organizations on Friday, Feb. 22, condemned the red-tagging of an editor of a local daily as they called on authorities to investigate this latest move to discredit private individuals, even the members of the press.
Accused as being a member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) was Leonardo Vicente “Cong” Corrales, the associate editor of the Mindanao Gold Star Daily, a local newspaper.
Copies of a document accusing Corrales, his wife and son, and members of the clergy and other human rights defender based in Northern Mindanao, were being circulated in a human rights forum in a restaurant here Friday morning.
According to the restaurant’s security personnel, a man wearing a hat and sunglasses approached him and handed a brown envelope marked with “for presscon.”
The security guard was told to give it to the organizers of the press conference conducted by Karapatan and Movement Against Tyranny.
In the one-page document, the Corraleses and more than a dozen personalities and four militant groups were accused as being members of the CPP.
“They strive to replace democracy with socialism/communism, saying that our present government form of government is semi-colonial and semi-feudal,” the document said.
The document, coming from an unknown group, said those in the list have been recruiting people to their cause.
In a statement, the National Union of Journalist of the Philippines (NUJP) national directorate said the inclusion of Corrales in the list is a “cowardly” act.
“There is nothing more cowardly and deplorable than to vilify persons and put them in mortal peril behind the cloak of anonymity,” the NUJP said, adding that “red-tagging is not mere intimidation. All too often it can be a virtual death sentence.”
In a separate statement, the board of directors of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club debunked the accusation that Corrales is affiliated with the CPP.
Corrales said in a statement, that he and his family “are not, have never been and never will be members of the CPP.”
He said his wife is a marketing executive of the local paper he is working for, while his son is a government employee.
“Our credentials are readily available. We denounce this list as it does not only intimidate me in my work as a journalist but has endangered my family,” Corrales said.
Karapatan secretary-general Cristina Palabay said “such notorious lists have further endangered the already perilous situation of human rights defenders. We have repeatedly raised how these arbitrary and baseless accusations incite threats to the lives and security or named individuals, the worst of which is that they become victims of extrajudicial killings.” /lzb
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