Thursday, August 17, 2006

Open season for journalists

Dangerous times indeed. Killing season continues.

Provincial reporter escapes abduction try
Source: National Union of Journalists of the Philippines

A provincial newspaper-radio reporter escaped abduction Tuesday night (August 15) from unidentified men he suspects to be hired goons in Calamba City in Laguna.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) received a report that Dick Garay, 52, a reporter for the tabloid Police Files Tonite and a correspondent of the Manila-based radio DZME, said the men tried to seize him near the highway and even followed him to a nearby town.

Garay was waiting for a ride home at around 10:30 p.m. in front of a convenience store after visiting a friend when he noticed two suspicious-looking men staring at him, as if waiting for him.

Garay, who is the vice president of the Camp Vicente Lim Press Corps (CVLPC), said he then went inside the store to buy chocolates for his granddaughter.

When he walked out of the store, he noticed that the men boarded a parked Mitsubishi Hi-ace van with license plate WGL-919 which was driven by another man.

The driver then maneuvered the vehicle, while its passengers continued to stare at him, according to Garay.

The vehicle then suddenly stopped in front of him, the door slid open and the suspects asked him where he was heading. Garay replied he was going home. The men ordered him to board the van and Garay refused. When he sensed that they were about to grab him, Garay immediately ran and rode a passenger bus.

While in the bus, Garay said he sent a text message to a colleague and told him what had happened to him.

Thinking that he was already safe, Garay alighted the bus near his residence in Pila, a nearby town. However, he noticed the van used by the suspects was parked at a roadside leading to his house.

Garay waited for the vehicle to leave before going to his house.

He reported the incident to the police the following day.

"I believe the men were hired goons of some people I had hit in my tabloid column and in my reporting," dzRH radio quoted Garay as saying moments before he went into hiding.

Radio station dzRH also said that as of Thursday morning, Garay remained incommunicado and his cell phone appeared to have been switched off.

Before the foiled abduction incident, Garay wrote about jueteng (an illegal numbers game) in the Calabarzon (referring to the provinces of Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon), linking police officials to its operations.

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