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Journalist's home shot at following article on local electric company

(CMFR/IFEX) - A journalist from Bangued was unharmed after gunmen fired at her family's house on 14 May 2009. Bangued is the capital of Abra, a province approximately 408 km northwest of Manila.

Marjorie Bandayrel-Trinidad, news editor of the weekly community newspaper "Abra Today", said she and her husband were awakened by the sound of breaking glass at around 3:30 a.m. (local time) on 14 May. Trinidad realized that their house had been fired at when she picked up a .45 caliber slug near their bed. Her husband and two-year-old son were not hurt in the incident.

Trinidad told the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) in a phone interview that two other bullets which hit a wall were not recovered. She said her husband heard a car fleeing.

Trinidad and her family have temporarily moved out of their house for security reasons. Police are providing protection for them while the case is under investigation.

Trinidad and her colleagues believe the attack may be related to her recent article on an alleged anomaly at a local electric company. She said she received a warning on 13 May about a threat against her.

"Someone told me that the general manager (of Abra Electric Cooperative or Abreco) had issued a threat against me. But I did not expect anyone to fire at our house three times," Trinidad, who was also a radio broadcaster at dzBA station before working for "Abra Today", said in a 15 May GMANews TV report.

The general manager of Abreco, Loreto Seares, denied that he ordered the attack. Seares said he also told Trinidad, her editor in chief, and Bishop Leopoldo Jaucian in a 15 May conversation that he was not the mastermind.

"It was definitely not me," Seares told CMFR in a 19 May phone interview.

Trinidad wrote a front-page article in the 9-13 May issue of "Abra Today" on allegations that Abreco could not explain why their board of directors and division heads had each received a vehicle. The alleged anomaly was also tackled in the editorial of the same issue of the "Abra Today", published by the Diocese of Abra.

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