Slain journo's wife hurt over Duterte statement

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jun 02 2016 11:16 AM

MANILA - The widow of slain reporter Alex Balcoba turned emotional after she was asked about her thoughts on the statement of President-elect Rodrigo Duterte on the killing of journalists.

Florabella Balcoba admitted she was deeply hurt when Duterte said in a press conference that journalists are killed because they are corrupt.

READ: Journalist shot dead in Manila: police

"Noong buhay pa asawa ko, 'yung mga kinakain namin, ang mga diaper, hindi niya iniikot (at) kinukuha sa mga station commander para magkaroon ng pera," she told radio dzMM, emphasizing that her husband was never corrupt.

Florabella even recalled an incident where her husband refused to take an envelope from an official of the Manila City Hall.

She said Balcoba also refused to have his old and damaged phone, resourcefully held together by a rubber band, or his camera replaced, despite the City Hall official's alleged offer.

Florabella added that the watch repair shop her husband owns is not even painted, and that as a teacher, she relies heavily on loans.

"Hindi ko ipinanglilimos ang pang-araw-araw na pangangailangan kasi ayaw na ayaw ni Alex iyan," she said.

As a columnist, Alex never accepted money in exchange for his silence, according to Florabella.

"Ang mga banat niya tungkol sa mga tiwali at ilegal. Kapag bumanat siya, wala siyang tinatanggap na anumang kabayaran para manahimik."

On the day her husband was killed, Flor said she only had P200.

"P200 lang iniwan sa akin nung nawala siya. Paano nila sasabihin, halimbawa kung isama nila asawa ko, paano nila sabihin na korap?"

LOOK: Artist's sketch of journalist's gunman

Balcoba, 56, was shot in central Manila late Friday outside a watch repair shop owned by his family.

The two gunmen fled on a motorcycle after shooting Balcoba, according to the report from the National Press Club.

Colleagues described Balcoba as a news reporter and columnist at People's Brigada who had written about the Manila police since the 1990s.

Balcoba is the second journalist to be murdered in the Philippines this year, and the 34th since 2010 when President Benigno Aquino came to power, according to the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

'I admired Duterte'

Florabella further revealed that she admired Duterte and his campaign against crime because like him, she wants drug syndicates punished.

But what the President-elect said hurt her a lot.

"Paulit-ulit ko po ito sinasabi e, pero sa wall ko po puro po si Duterte e, kasi alam niyo po Sir, una 'yung mga post ko e patayin lahat ng mga sindikato, 'yung mga mamamatay-tao, pero 'yung sa wall ko na iyon, ako rin pala ang natamaan e. E 'yung asawa ko naging biktima ng mga kagaguhan ng mga walang pusong pumatay," she said.

Florabella insisted that she is not asking Duterte or anyone else for financial help, as she only wants justice for her husband.

"Hustisya sir, e, 'yun po...Wala akong pakialam sa pinansiyal, ang akin lang hustisya bago pa man ako makauwi, dala-dala ko na ang hustisyang 'yun," she said.

During a press conference on Tuesday, Duterte said he believes journalists in the Philippines are killed because many are corrupt.

He said the constitutionally guaranteed freedom of the press cannot protect a journalist from getting killed especially if he is a “son of a b****.”

“Kaya namamatay kasi karamihan diyan nabayaran na. They take sides or sobrahan ang atake, getting personal,” Duterte claimed.

“Just because you are a journalist you are exempted from assassination… Freedom of expression (sic) cannot help you if you have done something wrong.”

For Duterte, a journalist need not fear anything if he knows he has not committed anything wrong.

“Hindi ka naman talaga papatayin kung wala kang ginawa,” he said.

READ: Duterte: Journalists are killed for being corrupt
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Duterte's spokesmen said the president-elect's statement was just taken out of context.

READ: 'Duterte's media killings statement taken out of context'