Palace, Robredo seek probe of Abante plant torching
MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang, the camp of Vice President Leni Robredo and an association of journalists on Tuesday condemned the burning of the printing plant of Abante News Group in Parañaque City.
“We cannot allow this thing to happen against any member of the Fourth Estate,” presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said.
Panelo said that President Rodrigo Duterte “will certainly be directing a thorough investigation of this case.”
“We will prosecute those behind this dastardly act,” Panelo said.
Four armed men broke into Abante’s printing plant in Barangay San Isidro, Paranaque, at past 1 a.m. on Monday and set its printing machines and supplies on fire. Two employees were injured.
The Office of the Vice President (OVP) has called on authorities to swiftly act and investigate the attack.
“This brazen assault on our free press cannot be allowed to pass unchallenged,” OVP spokesperson Barry Gutierrez said.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines also condemned the assault and expressed support for its media colleagues.
“That a newspaper facility in the National Capital Region can be attacked in such a brazen manner underscores how deeply mired in the culture of impunity our country and people have become,” it said in a statement.
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, an Abante columnist, called the attack a “cowardly act.”
Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, executive director of the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, reassured Abante that the government “will leave no stone unturned in pursuing this case.”
House lawmakers said the attack was a harassment tactic meant to stifle critical press.
“We believe that this is another case of trying to silence the media in doing their job of exposing the anomalies, in and out of government. We strongly condemn this as we likewise condemn all attacks against the democratic rights of our people,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said. —With reports from Jhesset O. Enano and DJ Yap
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