BROADCAST journalist and senatorial candidate Jiggy Manicad has condemned the accusation against Cagayan de Oro reporter Cong Corrales of being allegedly involved with the New People’s Army (NPA) and Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP).
The accusations were made in flyers containing the names of four organizations and 19 individuals, including Corrales, an associate editor at Mindanao Gold Star Daily, and his wife and son.
“I know Cong personally from our coverages together in Mindanao, and I can say that he is truly a professional in this field,” Manicad explained in an interview.
“Unless there is complete evidence of the fact, red-tagging especially of the media will not be tolerated. Ginagawa lang namin ang trabaho naming mag-ulat ng katotohonan, ngunit kadalasa’y may mga masasamang elemento nais kaming makitang masaktan o mapatay sa anumang pamamaraan. Dapat lubos na imbestigahan ito ng mga awtoridad,” Manicad explained.
“Ang nakalulungkot dito ay sinama pa ang pangalan ng kanyang asawa at anak nang walang ebidensya. Ngayon nalalagay na sa alanganin ang buhay ng pamilyang Corrales,” Manicad lamented, citing that names on such lists often become vulnerable to targeting by “hit squads”.
The multi-awarded broadcast journalist, who is seeking a Senate seat in the upcoming midterm elections, hit the practice as a “form of intimidation” endangering the lives of journalists.
“One reason why I am seeking a higher level of public service is because of the need to enforce stronger regulations to protect the lives of journalists especially those who, like Corrales, put their lives on the line to report what they know to be true,” Manicad said.
Manicad earlier stated that, if elected, he will push for fairer labor rights for journalists and more protective measures for reporters covering places and events where they may be put in danger.
Corrales, for his part, has denied the allegations, saying, “We denounce this list as it is not only aimed to intimidate me in my work as a journalist but has endangered my family. We know fully well that red-tagging is a virtual death sentence,”
The flyers were also denounced by the Cagayan de Oro Press Club (COPC) of which he is a board member.
Both the Philippine National Police Regional Office 10 and the Philippine Army have denied any involvement with the red-tag list.