Hard-hitting broadcast journalist kidnapped in Quezon, southern Luzon

Raises number of such incidents to 14 since 2010

Gulf News

Manila: A female broadcast journalist was kidnapped in a restaurant in southern Luzon at predawn Sunday, raising the number of incidents involving journalists since 2010 to 14.

Melinda Jennifer Glefonea, reporter and anchor of hard-hitting radio programme called “Apat Dapat,” at Edge Radio (103.1-FM), was taken by two armed men whose faces were covered by handkerchiefs at Lugawan ng Mesa, a restaurant on Argao Street in Poblacion village, Quezon at 4am on Sunday, said police chief inspector Edcille Canals, media relations of the Philippine National Police (PNP) in Quezon.

She struggled as the kidnappers forced her inside a silver Toyota Innova car whose plate number was covered. However, eyewitnesses were able to jot down the car’s conduction sticker number from its windshield, said Canals who quoted eyewitnesses as saying.

The get-away car passed through Candelaria’s bypass road after the abduction of Glefonea, the eyewitnesses said.

Mitch Regondola, a radio co-anchor of Glefonea, said her colleague had been receiving “death threats” in the early hours of every morning.

“We often reported it to the police,” Regondola said.

Explaining the wide coverage of her radio programme with Glenfonea, Regondala said they would report on “all illegal activities [of] police scalawags, unscrupulous government officials”.

“Election candidates, who, we feel are not worthy of the positions they are aspiring – they were all fair games to our sharp commentaries,” said Regondola, but she did not name possible suspects behind the kidnapping of her colleague.

“Feeling nervous” about the fate of her co-anchor, Regondola revealed plans to seek protection from government authorities. She did not give details.

“We will not be cowed [by what happened to Glefonea],” said Ronilo Dagos, chair of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines in Quezon.

“This is another blow to the cause of press freedom and members of the fourth estate,” Dagos added.

Policemen have begun a pursuit operation, the PNP said.

Last April 22, Mario Baylosis, 33, an entertainment broadcast journalist was killed by two motorcyclists in Zamboanga, southern Philippines. He was the 13th journalist who were killed since 2010.

A total of 131 reporters were killed since the ouster of former dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986.

In a 2013 Impunity Index, the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) ranked the Philippines as the third most dangerous place for journalists, following Iraq and Somalia where the US has initiated wars.