MANILA - The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) expressed concern over the red-tagging of a reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
In a video uploaded on the Facebook page of the "Rektang Konek Aksyon Agad" program of the Philippine National Police, Jeffrey "Ka Eric" Celiz alleged that Inquirer reporter and NUJP director and past chairman Nelson Burgos is an active member of the Communist Party of the Philippines.
Celiz, an alleged former member of the CPP and now the "star witness" of the National Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (NTF-ELCAC), claimed that it was Burgos who recruited him.
The video has been edited and reuploaded on Youtube.
In a statement, the NUJP said it is not disputing the fact that Celiz knows Burgos, and they may have met each other in the past.
However, NUJP said it is preposterous for Celiz to claim that Burgos is a member of the CPP.
"We can only wonder what threats and enticements have convinced this erstwhile drug-listed personality to parrot the fictions handed him, liberally sprinkled with his own concoctions, most likely to get in his handlers’ good graces. In fact, in the video, he all but confesses that he and his handlers do not have any evidence against those he slanders when he insists on the validity of public vilification, or what he calls the 'court of public opinion'," NUJP said.
The group also blasted the Philippine National Police and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for brandishing Celiz' claims.
"But while Celiz’s fantastic tales are despicable in themselves, even more despicable is how the Armed Forces and the National Police flout the very laws they are supposed to uphold by brandishing this fraud to red-tag people against whom they have absolutely no evidence to prosecute," it said.
"In doing so, they brazenly trample on the basic rights of Nestor and the others Celiz slanders, including that which this liar so disdainfully dismisses but which is among the cornerstones of the democracy he purports to fight for, the right to due process, and put the lives of Nestor and everyone else Celiz slanders in danger," NUJP added.
In a separate statement, the Philippine Daily Inquirer also expressed concern over Celiz's allegations.
"We take exception to the self-serving allegations made by Celiz against Burgos, who has been in our reportorial staff since 2001, and express deep concern for his safety," PDI said in a statement.
"Such sweeping statements may put Burgos and other journalists in danger from forces that are acting with impunity and violence against those erroneously tagged as enemies of the government," it added.
PDI also said the latest allegation will not stop it from "the pursuit of its mission to provide factual coverage and responsible reporting to its readers."