Was it a simple case of attempted hold-up, or was it a political threat? The recent attack on a council member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJP) Baguio-Benguet chapter by an unidentified knife-wielding man has brought this question to the fore.
BY ARTHUR L. ALLAD-IW
LA TRINIDAD, BENGUET – Was it a simple case of attempted hold-up, or was it a political threat?
The recent attack on a council member of the National Union of Journalists (NUJP) Baguio-Benguet chapter by an unidentified knife-wielding man has brought this question to the fore.
Abigail Taguba Bengwayan, 25, had just alighted from a jeepney in front of the Benguet State University (BSU) branch here at around 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 19 when the incident took place. As she crossed the street and headed towards the compound where she resides, a man rushed by her right side, locked one arm around her neck and with the other hand poked a knife at her.
The man, whom she described as standing about 5’6” tall, ordered her in Ilocano not to shout, Bengwayan said, but she screamed anyway. Alarmed, the man pushed her and she fell to the ground.
The people in the neighborhood came to her rescue and the man sped away.
Bengwayan, a former Nordis editor-in-chief and now a correspondent for the same paper while at the same time contributing to the official newspaper of an indigenous people’s organization, said the man had a companion who served as a look-out.
She said that the man did not announce a hold-up, as is known to be the usual practice of hold-up men. The area during that time of the day is considered to be busy, as it is near the public market, as well as BSU, where there are evening classes.
Lawyer Kissack Gabaen, who assisted Bengwayan in reporting the incident to the La Trinidad police, said that the assailant’s purpose could be to silence the victim, who has been critical of the government in her writings.
“If the purpose is hold-up or robbery, then why (didn’t) the man announce it and why (did he do it) in a place considered too busy during those hours?” Gabaen said. He urged the local police to check the scene of the crime for possible apprehension of the suspects.
Meanwhile, the local NUJP urged the La Trinidad police to immediately investigate the incident as it has “already threatened and affected” her work as a journalist.
“We strongly urge the PNP (Philippine National Police) to immediately investigate, pursue and arrest the perpetrator or perpetrators of the crime against Ms. Bengwayan, a member of the media and an activist,” a statement issued by the NUJP-BB read.
“We equally demand the speedy delivery of justice for her as well as to the whole community vigilant against crime and injustice,” the statement, released Sept. 21, further read. (Bulatlat.com)