Robredo submits report on Kalinga scuffle to Palace
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet—Interior Secretary Jesse Robredo has submitted a report to President Benigno Aquino III in connection with the scuffle that purportedly broke out on June 7 between Kalinga Gov. Jocel Baac and a broadcaster inside a government radio station in Tabuk City.
In a news conference here on Tuesday, Robredo said the report detailed the preliminary investigation conducted by his department on Baac’s supposed assault on Jerome Tabanganay, an anchor at dzRK Radyo ng Bayan.
But the head of the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) said he would not discuss the report’s contents until the President had read it.
Tabanganay sued Baac last week for allegedly hitting him in the face with a microphone in the middle of a live broadcast on June 7. He was then discussing text messages criticizing the government for failing to curb illegal gambling operations in the province.
In his own defense, Baac said he felt alluded to by Tabanganay and that the anchor’s “fiery broadcast” prompted him to rush to the station so that he could air his side.
But Baac maintained that the supposed attack on the anchor was just an accident.
Church leaders in Tabuk City earlier asked Robredo to put an end to the controversy.
Francisco Gamatero, the DILG director in Kalinga, said leaders of the Catholic and Anglican churches and pastors in the province issued a statement on June 9 seeking a resolution to the case.
They also joined Kalinga elders in mediating peace between the families of Baac and Tabanganay, he said.
Robredo said he received a letter from Baac containing his version of the incident. The letter was among the documents submitted to Malacañang for review, he said.
Gamatero, who was tasked to gather evidence for the DILG, said his report also urged government to tap a third party to dig deeper into the case.
Among the pieces of evidence submitted to Robredo were transcripts of the monthly radio program, “Agenda,” which features Kalinga officials and hosted by Tabanganay, Gamatero said.
“‘Agenda’ airs on the first Monday of the month and all government programs are discussed there. But there were issues [provincial officials] did not want Tabanganay to air, like the [attempted burning] of dzRK on May 25. The officials were upset because it was reported… as a bombing,” he said.
“One time, based on the transcripts, he called on the NPA (New People’s Army) to come down. That is against government rules. That account was validated by the transcripts. We submitted raw documents,” he added.
Gamatero said the transcript of his interview with Tabanganay was included in the report to Robredo.
The Cordillera police director, Chief Supt. Villamor Bumanglag, has since assigned two police escorts to Tabanganay, who is married to a policewoman.