Surigao del Norte vice mayor punches, chokes newspaper editor
DAVAO CITY, Philippines – A journalist in Surigao City was attacked and harassed by a local official from another Surigao del Norte town, the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) said on Tuesday, September 26.
Edito Mapayo, editor-in-chief of Diaryo Balita, was punched and “choked” by Francisco Matugas Gonzales on Saturday morning, September 23, during a Department of Health (DOH) event at Pilar, Surigao del Norte.
“Mapayo was at the venue to cover the event when Gonzales arrived, saw him, and immediately punched him in the neck,” the NUJP said.
Gonzales is vice mayor of Dapa, a 4th class municipality.
“I thought he would talk to me when he approached me. I did not know that his hands would target me. Good thing it was not that bad because I was able to fend off the attack,” the NUJP quoted Mapayo.
The official’s escorts attempted to pacify Gonzales, who had a spat with Mapayo in 2015 when the Mindanao Daily Centro, Mapayo's former newspaper, published an article alluding to the vice mayor using policemen to tend to his fighting cocks.
Later, the vice mayor reportedly summoned Mapayo to his office, and warned that “he was up for a ‘hit by one of the politician’s men,’” the NUJP said.
The NUJP said Mapayo, who is currently in hiding, will be filing charges against Gonzales.
Gonzales was among those named in a graft case that involved the questionable release of a P13-million fund to acquire construction vehicles. The complaint said there were no available funds for the transaction.
On September 2, Gonzales, then a councilor of Dapa, was acquitted due to lack of evidence. – Rappler.com