Pampanga TV manager fears for life after Red-tagging
CITY OF SAN FERNANDO—Four-time Golden Dove awardee Sonia Soto on Wednesday expressed fear for her life after the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Nica) director in Central Luzon identified her as among the 31 radio broadcasters in the country who had links to communist and terrorist groups.
Soto, president of the media arm of the LausGroup of Companies, said she was Red-tagged by Rolando Asuncion, Nica regional director, in a forum on Tuesday at Don Honorio Ventura State University in Bacolor town.
Reached by phone on Wednesday for comments, Asuncion told the Inquirer: “I’m not Red-tagging. I’m just stating a fact.”
He said he mentioned Soto’s name when he told his audience that communists had infiltrated the government and media.
Soto also hosts two Central Luzon Television (CLTV) 36’s public affairs programs that received awards from the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP).
“Do you know Sonia Soto? The pretty one in CLTV? She’s the one,” a teacher quoted Asuncion as saying.
Asuncion said he had information that Soto was previously with the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan in the region.
Soto worked as administrator of the city government of San Fernando and was appointed fellow of the Institute for Solidarity in Asia in its performance governance system before returning to the private sector.
She is a granddaughter of Juan Crisostomo Soto, a Kapampangan poet who fought in the 1898 Revolution against Spain.
Soto said Asuncion also slandered her, noting that the official’s intelligence information was “incorrect and merely based on speculation.”
“I cannot accept this label and tag because I am neither a communist nor a terrorist. I am a professional TV station manager and a KBP-licensed TV broadcaster,” she said in a statement.
She said she had never allowed CLTV36 or any of its shows to be a mouthpiece for anyone advocating terrorism or to raise arms against government in the course of her work.
“As a matter of fact, like all TV stations, we use a standard disclaimer to caution the viewers should anyone among the guests in a TV show utter words that may be misconstrued as reflective of the management’s views on a specific topic being discussed,” she said.
Soto said she believed she had generated attention following calls to quash the Soto-Enrile accord, an agreement she signed in 1982 on behalf of the League of Filipino Students with former defense minister and senator, Juan Ponce Enrile. The agreement bars the military and police from entering campuses.
Soto had alerted the Commission on Human Rights, worried that Nica might get in the way of her work as a media manager and broadcaster.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines and the Pampanga Press Club have condemned Asuncion in separate statements while raising concern for the safety of Soto.
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