Philippine radio says governor attacked announcer

AP News
Posted: Jun 08, 2011 8:50 AM
Philippine radio says governor attacked announcer

A Philippine government radio station has gone off the air to protest an alleged attack on one of its announcers by a provincial governor.

A video taken at DZRK radio shows a man identified as Kalinga Gov. Jocel Baac bursting into the studio and confronting announcer Jerome Tabanganay as he was closing his radio program, Agenda, on Tuesday.

Tabanganay said Wednesday he was whacked with a microphone by Baac who was apparently was irked by the station's coverage and commentaries on illegal gambling and logging in Kalinga, one of the provinces in the country's northern Cordillera mountain region.

Baac has told ABS-CBN television he did not hit Tabanganay. Repeated calls to Baac for further comment were not answered.

The video shows the governor entering the announcer's booth, pulling out a cord that cut off the audio and Tabanganay pointing the camera to the governor. Baac is seen grabbing a mike but the footage did not show him actually hitting the broadcaster.

Tabanganay told The Associated Press he was hit in the mouth and the face by the governor, who was accompanied by armed bodyguards.

The video showed police officers and other people trying to pacify Baac and leading him out of the booth, followed by Tabanganay, who returned saying he was hurt and will get a medical examination.

"Anyway, we will continue the agenda. Long live Kalinga! We will never, never surrender," he was heard saying.

Tito Cruz, director of the government's bureau of broadcast services in charge of all government radio stations, has summoned DZRK station manager Basil Baluyan to Manila to discuss the incident.

"What the government did was really wrong," Cruz said. "There are other venues to air grievances against a journalist."

Tabanganay survived an assassination attempt last year but limps from the bullet wound in his right leg. Unknown assailants also tried to burn down his station last month. He said he plans to file criminal and administrative charges against the governor.

The Philippines is one of most dangerous countries in the world for journalists. In 2009, 32 journalists were among 57 people massacred in a political killing allegedly carried out by members of a powerful provincial clan in the southern Philippines.