The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned efforts to link the group to the communist movement.
Three Manila-based tabloids – Police Files Tonite, Bagong Bomba and Saksi Mata ng Katotohanan – carried the exact same headline: “NUJP PINAMUMUNUAN NG CPP-NPA-NDF” (NUJP HEADED BY CPP-NPA-NDF), the latter initials referring to the New People’s Army and the National Democratic Front. The source of the story was a certain Ka Ernesto, who claimed to be a former member of the Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) and who supposedly “admitted” that the NUJP had links to CPP founder Jose Ma. Sison.
In a statement, the NUJP deemed that the tag is “part of an orchestrated effort to intimidate them into silence.”
This is the second time in just a few weeks that the group has been linked to the revolutionary movement. A certain Mario Ludades, claiming to be one of the founders of the CPP, also accused the NUJP of being a “legal front” of the underground movement in stories run by several outfits on December 26, incidentally the 50th anniversary of the CPP.
“It is hilarious that they keep repeating these charges since the NUJP’s membership represents a broad spectrum of creeds and political beliefs bound by a common dedication to defending and expanding the bounds of freedom of the press and of expression,” the NUJP said. “But, as they say, stupid is as stupid does.”
The group said the attempts to smear the NUJP expose their members and other colleagues to potential danger.
“With at least 12 colleagues slain under the watch of a president who has actually justified the murder of journalists–remember “Just because you’re a journalist you are not exempted from assassination, if you’re a son of a bitch?”–and openly and constantly curses and threatens media, we are taking this matter very, very seriously,” the NUJP further said.