NO TO V IOLENCE AGAINST MEDIA
We, the members of the Media Association of Sorsogon (MASO) stand in solidarity with our colleagues in condemning the use of violence by two politicians in the province against two members of the local media men in Sorsogon in two separate incidents recently.
The first incident involved Board Member Rolando Anonuevo, himself a broadcaster, who assaulted Theopane “Bobot” Laguna during an event in the Sorsogon Provincial Gymnasium last August 8, 2023.
As clearly caught on video by Mr. Jericho Supelana, Mr. Anonuevo confronted Mr. Laguna and in the guise of shaking his hand, Anonuevo actually twisted Mr. Laguna’s hand, causing him excruciating pain, given the age of the victim. Not contented by his initial attack, Mr. Anonuevo again tried to assault his victim had he not been suppressed by other media men present.
As can be heard in the video, Anonuevo seemed infuriated by Laguna’s tirades against the official as he accused the media man of being biased.
It’s quite ironic that, of all people, Mr. Anonuevo is now complaining about being biased when he himself is utterly guilty of such undesirable media practice.
The second incident involved Mr. Mario Romero of Wow-fm radio who was attacked by Donsol Vice-Mayor Zaldy Advincula during the launching of Brigada Eskwela in the town of Donsol last August 15, 2023.
As per report, Vice-Mayor Advincula mauled Romero over an alleged threat made by Romero in the past to lambast the vice-mayor over the radio. Obviously, such threat, if indeed uttered, had never been carried out by Mr. Romero until the time that he was mauled by the vice-mayor.
Granting, for the sake of argument, that their gripes against their victims were true, violence should never be an option. Violence should never have a place in a civilized and democratic society. Violence is an option only for those who are congenital oppressors, for those who wield power against those who are weak.
Mr. Anonuevo and Mr. Advincula are no ordinary persons. They are powerful and moneyed individuals who could easily access the courts to ventilate their grievances. However, they chose the path taken by uncivilized people, that is, to use violence.
These two officials must bear in mind that as elected government officials, their actions and utterances are always subject to public scrutiny. They are public properties who are always under the magnifying glass of the public that they have sworn to serve.
As the Supreme Court had stated in the case of Nemesio Yabut versus the Office of the Ombudsman:
“A public official, more especially an elected one, should not be onion-skinned. Strict personal discipline is expected of an occupant of a public office because a public official is a property of the public.”
We urged the authorities to conduct immediate investigation on these incidents and impose appropriate sanction and penalties against the two erring officials lest these be listed as another case of impunity.
An inaction on the part of the authorities might be construed as an indication that they condone such action and that violence is an integral part of the present dispensation.
This will send a scary message to the whole populace of the province that elected officials are beyond the reach of the law and no one should dare cross their paths lest we want to end up being victims by these human predators.
Lastly, condoning these power-trippers would paint an unsavory image of the province as a dangerous place not just for journalists but for anyone who dares to speak against those in power.