Manila Times reporter receives another death threat

Ina Reformina, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jan 23 2018 06:17 PM

MANILA - Manila Times senior reporter Jomar Canlas has reported to police receiving another threat over a month since the first death threat sent to him via text message.

Canlas, who covers the judiciary, went to the Manila Police District Tuesday to report another text message he received again threatening his life.

"P****g ina mo Jomar! Dapat December pa lang wala sa mundo kaya lang Pasko! Lahat nang lakad mo alam namin! Malapit ka na, magdasal ka na h***p ka!" read the text message, which Canlas received on January 18. 

"Mr. Canlas further reported that he received such messages after he testified in the impeachment proceedings on the articles or stories published in the Manila Times against Chief Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno, on her alleged irregularity as member of the Supreme Court," a certification issued by the MPD's General Assignment Investigation Section stated. 

Canlas had the incident recorded on the police blotter.

Canlas appeared at the House Justice Committee hearing on the Sereno impeachment complaint on November 27, where he was asked to shed light on his stories on Sereno's alleged poor psychiatric and psychological test results upon her application for the chief magistrate's post in 2012, her alleged misrepresentation in the Senior Citizens' party-list case, her alleged illegal creation of the Regional Court Administration Office (RCAO), her alleged non-inclusion of her multimillion-peso earnings as government counsel in the arbritation case with the Philippine International Air Terminals Co. Inc. (Piatco), and her alleged manipulation of the proceedings at the Judicial and Bar Council to block the nomination of former Solicitor General and now Supreme Court Associate Justice Francis Jardeleza. 

Sereno had denied any irregularity in the performance of her duties as Chief Justice. 

Canlas received the first threat against him on December 1, four days after he testified.

The message read: "P****g ina mo jomar canlas, 3 kami ang papatay s[a']yo, marami ka na kasalanan sa amin, magbilin ka na sa asawa mo at anak mo, bago ka mamatay. H[in]di to panananakot, ds [this] time talagang patay ka jomar."

After Canlas received the first threat, the Justice Reporters Organization (JUROR), of which Canlas is a founding member, issued a statement that condemned the threat.

"We consider the death threats received by Mr. Canlas as a direct attack on press freedom, which has no place in a democracy. To renege on our responsibility in upholding the truth at all times is to betray our social contract with the people. To stifle that responsibility, in whatever manner, is a betrayal of truth itself." 

The Justice and Court Reporters Association (JUCRA) also issued the following statement:

"We, members of the Justice and Court Reporters Association (JUCRA), strongly condemn the death threat received by our colleague and friend, Manila Times senior reporter Jomar Canlas.

As vanguards of truth in the Justice and Judiciary beat, we stand behind Jomar against this act of cowardice and attach on our constitutionally enshrined freedom of the press.

We must never allow intimidation and harassment of journalists as we stand pat on our duty as a watchdog of democracy.

We call on authorities to investigate the matter and run after the person/persons responsible for this dastardly and criminal act." 

In a statement, Sereno also condemned the first death threat received by Canlas, as she stressed that "[t]he Chief Justice joins the call for concerned authorities to investigate the act of intimidation against Mr. Jomar Canlas and ensure that he and other journalists are protected and are able to work without fear of reprisal."