Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mindanao reporter gets death threats

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines (Mindanao Examiner / Oct. 12, 2010) — Death threats are not uncommon to members of the fourth estate, who even “wear it on their sleeves” as a badge of honor.But when these threats become serious, journalists also quake and quiver, given that they, like all human beings, also want self-preservation.

This is what happened to Jigger Jerusalem, a journalist writing for the Mindanao Gold Star Daily based in Cagayan de Oro City, who disclosed that he received death threats in his email twice already from someone who uses the email address alfredleron@yahoo.com.

Jerusalem said that per the threat of “Alfred Leron,” his days “are already numbered.”

“Mr. Jigger Jerusalem, 39 years old, a resident of Purok 5, Puerto, Cagayan de Oro, a news reporter of the city. Man, if you still consider your life important, my appeal is that I would not want to see your face here in Cagayan de Oro anymore, that’s if you still value your life. You can choose among your feet or hands for me to disable,” read part of Leron’s email to Jerusalem on October 7.

“You don’t know who you are up against. A month or two? Think twice if you don’t want others to be implicated. Leave Cagayan de Oro. Bear in mind what I said. Consider this a warning and start counting starting today,” the email continued.

But Jerusalem said he cannot recall having written something that will ignite the anger of someone to the point of killing him.

“I don't know who this person is and I'm sure that this is just an alias. He failed to mention any issue or story that I might have written about that has a connection to the death threat,” he said.

Jerusalem said he is now taking precautions since last October 9 he received another email from the same person.

“Regret always comes last so better think. Have you already started counting your days? Don’t wait for the time to come. The decision is yours,” the email said.

Jerusalem already alerted the police about the threats.

The National Union of Journalist of the Philippines, of which Jerusalem is a safety instructor and officer for Mindanao, is already aware of the threats to one of its officers and have taken the necessary steps to protect him, said NUJP-Mindanao Coordinator JB Deveza.

NUJP Mindanao said the threats “constitute an assault not only to Mr. Jerusalem but also to press freedom as these threats are clearly meant to influence, if not stifle, critical reporting which Mr. Jerusalem, as a member of the press, is only duty-bound to do.

Lawyer Santiago Goking, president of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club, said he will talk with Jerusalem regarding this threats before making a calculated move. (Bong D. Fabe)

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