The arrest of Davao-based journalist Margarita Valle last Sunday which turned out to be a case of mistaken identity puts into a question how intelligent is this so-called intelligence report which is the basis for the actions of government authorities, including the country’s chief executive, President Duterte.
Valle, 61, a columnist of online publication Davao Today, was arrested at Laguindingan Airport in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental by agents of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Western Mindanao, while waiting for her flight to Davao City at about 10:30 a.m. She just came from a training workshop with the Rural Missionaries of the Philippines in Cagayan de Oro City
She was released about 10 p.m. after being held incommunicado. A report by the Philippine Daily Inquirer quoted Col. Tom Tuzon, director of the CIDG in the Zamboanga Peninsula (Region 9) admitting that the arrest of Valles was a mistake.
The CIDG reportedly mistook Valle for Elsa Renton, a suspected member of the communist movement, is the subject of a 2006 arrest warrant for arson and a 2011 arrest warrant for multiple murder with quadruple frustrated murder and damage to government property.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) refused to buy the CIDG’s story of mistaken identity.
“Let us call a spade a spade. The supposed ‘arrest’ on Sunday of Davao Today columnist Fidelina Margarita Valle in Laguindingan, Misamis Oriental was not a lawful operation but a criminal abduction of a journalist,” NUJP said.
“This is the equivalent of ‘shoot now, ask questions later'," NUJP said warning of the “dire, even fatal, consequences” of this faulty police operation.
NUJP reminded the public that “There is no lack of victims of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances to drive home this point.”
This incident of pouncing on media is encouraged by the President who has discredited media several times with lies and irresponsible comments.
He did it again in his almost three-hour conversation with Pastor Apollo Quiboloy on Sonshine Media Network Saturday.
He again took the opportunity to reiterate the silly allegations in the matrix he released last month showing media and a lawyer groups conspiring to oust him.
‘Diyan sa media, ‘yung sa matrix, ‘yung sa matrix puro bayad ‘yan, maniwala kayo (In media, the one in the matrix, they are all paid hacks, believe me,” he declared without giving any proof.
Spewing out more lies, he zeroed in on me:” Yan si Tordesillas. Hesus, sige lang hingi kay may cancer siya. Hanggang ngayon buhay pa. Lord, ano ba ang desisyon mo diyan? (That Tordesillas. Jesus, she keeps on asking (for money) because she has cancer. Up to now she is alive. Lord, what’s your decision there?)
I have expressed alarm before over the kind of intelligence report that he gets and bases his decisions on. Whoever gave him the information that I have cancer and I’m soliciting money for my treatment must really dislike him so much?
Duterte might not be happy to know that I have long been cured of cancer. I underwent treatment for ovarian cancer in 2003 and I have been cancer-free for the past 16 years.
Cancer treatment is very expensive but Jake Macasaet, publisher of Malaya Business Insight, where I worked as a reporter and columnist, was kind enough to take care of my medical needs.
When I told him about my illness, Jake told me not to get stressed out. “You pray, I pay,” he said. And he really made good his promise. One time, he personally brought the P45,000 for my chemo medicine, Taxol, at the Philippine General Hospital, where I was confined, on a Sunday.
There were other kind souls who helped without my asking for it. Two senators wrote PGH with the instruction to credit my hospital bill to their respective Priority Development Assistance Fund allotment in the hospital. No cash passed through my hands.
There were two politicians who sent cash money which I donated to the PGH Medical Foundation, a non-government organization that help indigent patients of the country’s premier government hospital. The Foundation issued me a receipt which I sent to the politicians with a note thanking them for their generosity. I said that I had been a recipient of a lot of kindness during my treatment at the PGH and there were others who needed the money more than I did.
I have said a lot about the history of my cancer.
Now, can the public be told about the President’s illness? If it was not a heart surgery that made the Cardinal Santos Medical Center cordon off a portion of the hospital one day after the May 13 elections for him, what medical procedure did he undergo? If it was a minor thing, why can’t the people be told about it?
Disclaimer: The views in this blog are those of the blogger and do not necessarily reflect the views of ABS-CBN Corp.