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Filipino TV broadcaster receives threatening text message

UPDATE from CMFR: TV broadcaster receives more threatening texts after airing Ampatuan-related report (31 July 2013)

A television news broadcaster in Manila tweeted a screen grab of a threatening text message she received after she aired a report last 24 July 2013. The report was about a tax evasion case against a lawyer of one of the Ampatuans who reportedly bought property owned by his client. Several members of the Ampatuan clan are under trial for allegedly masterminding and carrying out the November 2009 election-related massacre in Ampatuan town where 32 of the 58 men and women killed were journalists and media workers.

TV news anchor and reporter Cecilia "Ces" Orena-Drilon of the ABS-CBN network tweeted at 8:56 PM Wednesday night, 24 July, a screen grab of a threatening text message she received after the airing of her report on the tax evasion case filed by the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) against Arnel Manaloto, a lawyer of massacre suspect Andal Ampatuan Jr.

"(Expletive) woman choose who you're going to fight with I know you're only after money how much are you?" the text message read in Filipino.

Ces Drilon's tweet
Ces Drilon's tweet


Drilon told CMFR in a phone interview last 25 July 2013 that the text message was sent from mobile number +639476343722 a few minutes after her report aired on the primetime news program TV Patrol.

CMFR tried to call the mobile number that sent the message but received a message that it was out of service.

"I posted the text for my own protection, as insurance in case (the sender) made good on his threat," Drilon said.

CMFR has so far recorded six other incidents of media practitioners receiving death threats via text messaging in 2013.

The news anchor also told CMFR that she did not engage the sender but was sure the text message was related to her report on Manaloto since she had no other reports airing that night.

Drilon did try to get Manaloto's side for her report. But she said Manaloto sent the following message to her through his secretary: "Kindly put this into writing and convey to Ms. Drilon: I do not entertain interviews. Stop stalking me. I have a high regard for respected media personnel like you. Media personnel of your calibre (sic) should know better about the privacy of private individuals such as myself. Thank you."

In a statement last 25 July, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) denounced the threat and urged "authorities and the network (ABS-CBN, Drilon's employer) to undertake measures to ensure her safety."

Drilon, a TV broadcaster for more than a decade and a household name in the Philippines, was abducted in 2008 by a terrorist group in Sulu, the southernmost province in the country. She was released nine days later.

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