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Urgent Appeal: Harassment of a Radio Broadcaster
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Tuesday, 04 February 2014 11:46

URGENT APPEAL

January 28, 2014

(PHILIPPINES) Harassment of a Radio Broadcaster

ISSUES: Human Rights Defender, Harassment and Intimidation _______________________________________________________________

Dear friends,

The Task Force Detainees of the Philippines (TFDP) is forwarding to you an appeal regarding the harassment case involving a human rights defender in the media sector.

If you wish to make any inquiries please contact the Research, Documentation and Information Program of TFDP, kindly send email to  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call +632 4378054.

_______________________________________________________________

 

Case Title: Sapanghari HAR

Case: Harassment

Name of Victim: Arthur “Jun” Agarado Sapanghari, Jr., 39 years old

Dates of Incident: December 7, 10, and 18, 2013; January 17 and 21, 2014

Place of Incident: Valencia City, Bukidnon

Alleged Perpetrator: Unidentified persons

Motive: Related to his work as radio broadcaster and the issues he reports about

Account of the Incident:

 

Arthur “Jun” Sapanghari, Jr., 39, based in Valencia City, Bukidnon and a radio broadcaster of dxDB Bandilyo Bukidnon – Radio Veritas has received death threats from unidentified persons.

 

As one of the field reporters and commentators of the sub-station in Valencia City, Sapanghari has divulged stories on sensitive issues like barangay corruption, illegal logging, and human trafficking.

 

On December 7, 2013, Sapanghari started receiving threats through text messages. One of the messages sent to him was, “Dili ka motobag ug tawagan, inihap na ang imong mga adlaw” (You did not answer my call, your days are numbered).

 

On December 10, he received another message, “Naminaw ko sa imong programa. Hambogero! Di naka ma abtan ug pasko isunod na ka kay Dignos” (I am listening to your program. Conceited! You will be gone before Christmas. You will suffer the same fate as Dignos). Joas Dignos was a hard-hitting commentator in Maramag, Bukidnon who was gunned down by two motorcycle-riding assailants in Valencia City last November 29, 2013.

 

One of the latest threats he received was on January 21, 2014. He received a message saying, “Nakita nako imong anak ug asawa patyon nako” (I saw your wife and daughter. I will kill them).

 

He went to Valencia City police station to file a police blotter.

 

On December 18, 2013 at around 8:00 P.M., while at home, Sapanghari saw three men get down from a motorcycle. One of them who was wearing a cap walked towards the kitchen door. Sapanghari saw the man getting something from his sling bag. Alarmed that it might be a gun, Sapanghari pushed his daughter to a corner of the house and closed the kitchen door. He then dashed towards their front door to close it, and then he turned off the lights. As he gathered his family in their room, he heard approaching footsteps from outside their house. He called the police for help, but when they arrived, the three men have gone.

 

On January 17, 2014, at around 8:00 A.M., a man aboard a motorcycle went to his house and asked his wife about his whereabouts. When his wife answered, “wala diri” (he is not here), the man went away. His wife called him immediately and asked if he had an appointment with a man that day. At that time, Sapanghari was at the Maramag police station to get a report regarding a killing incident in Musuan.  When he said none, his wife told him about the man who was looking for him. His wife described that the man was wearing a cap and a shawl that almost covered his entire face. The motorcycle was color blue and had no plate number. From the description given by his wife, Sapanghari remembered one of the suspects in the killing of a number of people in Valencia City and Maramag.

 

After Sapanghari was done with his field work, he boarded a bus to Musuan to get his motorcycle. As he was about to get down from the bus, he saw six persons on board three motorcycles near the spot where his motorcycle was parked. Uneasy, he went directly to Valencia City and called a friend to get his motorcycle. When his friend reached Sapanghari’s motorcycle, his friend noticed a gray pickup truck without plate number and two other motorcycles in the area. When his friend started Sapanghari’s motorcycle and went on, the pickup truck followed him. It only stopped when he was about to enter Valencia City proper.

 

Sapanghari believed that his life, and that of his family’s, is in danger. He wrote a letter to the Police Provincial Director in Bukidnon and requested for police backup. The director responded to his request and ordered the Valencia City Police Chief to send Sapanghari two police officers who stayed with him for one week. After a week, the police backup was discontinued.

 

Sapanghari fears for his family’s safety. They are always scared, especially when they think of what happened on December 18, 2013. But he said that his work obliges him to expose the truth and fight for what is right.

 

Meanwhile, Randie Makipotin, also from the media and Sapanghari’s friend, also received text messages last January 21. He was threatened to be killed after Sapanghari is done with.

 

Makipotin also received a message that read, “Imo diay gitabangan si Jun Bandilyo? Apil taka patyon puslan man nag ka leche-leche akong kinabuhi.” (So, you helped Jun Bandilyo? I will kill you. Because of you, my life has become messed up). He replied to the text message by saying, “alang ako man siyang kauban” (of course, he is my companion).

 

The threat started when Makipotin offered his multicab as the vehicle for Sapanghari to use instead of the latter’s motorcycle.

 

REQUESTED ACTION:

 

Please write a letter to the following authorities, calling on them to initiate inquiries into the case of harassment experienced by Arthur “Jun” Sapanghari, Jr., a radio broadcaster of dxDB Bandilyo Bukidnon - Radio Veritas sub-station in Valencia City, and urge concerned agencies to immediately intervene and resolve the case.

 

SAMPLE LETTER

 

Dear ____________,

 

I am writing to draw your attention regarding the case of Arthur “Jun” Sapanghari, Jr., a radio broadcaster of dxDB in the sub-station in Valencia City, Bukidnon, who experienced harassment and was traumatized after receiving death threats.

 

I have learned that he received text messages saying that his wife and children will be killed. He is at risk of being the second radio broadcaster in Bukidnon to be killed.

I have also learned that his family was threatened last December 18, 2013 at around 8:00 P.M. While at home, Sapanghari saw three men get down from a motorcycle. One of them who was wearing a cap walked towards the kitchen door. Sapanghari saw the man getting something from his sling bag. Alarmed that it might be a gun, Sapanghari pushed his daughter to a corner of the house and closed the kitchen door. He then dashed towards their front door to close it, and then he turned off the lights. As he gathered his family in their room, he heard approaching footsteps from outside their house. He called the police for help, but when they arrived, the three men have gone.

 

It was also brought to my attention that on January 17, 2014, at around 8:00 A.M., a man aboard a motorcycle went to his house and asked his wife about his whereabouts. When his wife answered, “wala diri” (he is not here), the man went away. His wife called him immediately and asked if he had an appointment with a man that day. At that time, Sapanghari was at the Maramag police station to get a report regarding a killing incident in Musuan.  When he said none, his wife told him about the man who was looking for him. His wife described that the man was wearing a cap and a shawl that almost covered his entire face. The motorcycle was color blue and had no plate number. From the description given by his wife, Sapanghari remembered one of the suspects in the killing of a number of people in Valencia City and Maramag.

 

At present, Sapanghari fears for his life and the lives of his wife and children.

 

Sapanghari is a human rights defender who has divulged stories on sensitive issues like barangay corruption, illegal logging, and human trafficking.

 

Therefore, I humbly urge you to initiate a probe into the said case and appropriate action must be done accordingly.

 

I look forward to you urgent action.

 

 

Respectfully yours,

 

 

_________________________

 

PLEASE SEND YOUR LETTERS TO:

 

Please send your letters to:

 

  1. Mr. Benigno C. Aquino III

President

Republic of the Philippines

Malacañang Palace

JP Laurel St. San Miguel, Manila

Philippines 1005

Fax: +63 2 736 1010

Tel: +63 2 735 6201 / 564 1451 to 80

Email:   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

  1. Police Director General Alan LA Madrid Purisima

Chief, Philippine National Police

Camp General Rafael Crame

Quezon City, Philippines

Fax: +632 724 8763 / +632 723 0401

Tel: + 632 726 4361 / +632 4366 8763

Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

  1. Chairperson Loretta Ann P. Rosales

Commission on Human Rights (CHR)

SAAC Bldg., Commonwealth Avenue

U.P. Complex, Diliman

Quezon City

Philippines

Fax: +63 2929 0102

Tel: +63 2 928 5655+63 2 926 6188

Email:  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

 

3.         Governor Jose Maria R. Zubiri, Jr.

Province of Bukidnon

Provincial Capitol

Malaybalay City, Bukidnon

Philippines, 8700

Fax: +63 (088) 813-3845; 813-2457

Tel: +63 (088) 813-2457; 221-2523

 


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Last Updated on Tuesday, 04 February 2014 11:51
 

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