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Name broadcasters with Red links, Nica dared

Name broadcasters with Red links, Nica dared

CITY OF SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines — Television manager and host Sonia Soto on Saturday asked the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Nica) to identify the 31 radio broadcasters it accused of having links to “communist terrorist groups (CTG).”

Soto aired her demand after retired police general, Rolando Asuncion, Nica director in Central Luzon, personally apologized to her on Friday, three days after he implicated her among media people linked to CTG.

Asuncion made the allegation during a Sept. 17 forum at the Don Honorio Ventura State University, for which Soto once served as a member of its board of directors.

Targeting the media

Asuncion did not say if the 31 radio broadcasters were also operating in other regions. He did not respond to queries made by the Inquirer on Saturday.

Soto, a member of the Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas, said the names of the 31 broadcasters should be made public so they could refute allegations against them. They also needed to know so they could take security measures, she said.

“In reporting the truth and goings on in our government, journalists play an important role in democracy building. Journalism is a job for the people. Targeting the media is undermining public good,” Soto said at a forum of the Capampangan in Media on Friday.

She said she was proud of her stints as a former leader of the League of Filipino Students (LFS) and of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan.

She said she left these organizations because she decided to embrace her role as a “critical minded feminist.”

Soto served as city administrator of the City of San Fernando and mentored local governments in the performance governance system as a fellow of the Institute of Solidarity in Asia.

Her name has been associated with the Soto-Enrile accord, which Soto signed on behalf of the LFS with former defense minister and Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile in 1982.

The agreement bans the military and the police from entering school campuses.

Misunderstanding

“This is not really an issue between me and Asuncion. He represents a state policy wherein citizens who question and oppose the government are Red-tagged,” said Soto.

In a program broadcast by CLTV 36, which Soto manages, Asuncion said he had been “pre-occupied with the purpose of the Sept. 17 forum which is to educate the public sector on how the Communist Party of the Philippines, the New People’s Army and National Democratic Front have infiltrated a lot of sectors.”

“I apologize for whatever misunderstanding I caused or the risks that [may have risen by implicating] Ms Soto… It was not the intention of government to put anybody’s life in danger,” he said. —Tonette Orejas