ZAMBOANGA CITY (Zamboanga Journal / 24 Jun) Journalists in Zamboanga City condemned Saturday the abuse on a local broadcaster of an influential Muslim politician, who publicly berated the writer for a story he wrote for a weekly tabloid here.
Jun Feliciano, a broadcaster for the state-owned Radyo ng Bayan and who writes for the Zamboanga Star, was confronted by Councilor Abdurahman Nuno after he felt alluded by the story about an unnamed politician who was allegedly lobbying for his wife to be included in the list of the Laban ng Demokrating Pilipino party for next year's elections.
“We are not questionming the credibility of anybody involved in the incident but we strongly denounce the arrogance and unjust verbal and near physical attack on our colleague while the Council was in session,” Bong Simbajon, president of the Zamboanga Press Club, said.
Nuno's name was not even mentioned in Feliciano's story published on the Zamboanga Star. Feliciano was covering the session when he was berated by Nuno, who is also the chairman of an association of village chieftains here.
Television news footage also showed an unidentified man trying to attack Feliciano inside the session hall of the Zamboanga City Council after the journalist and Nuno had a heated argument. Nuno was seen pointing fingers at Feliciano's face and later shouted at him in front of many people, but other officials and reporters pacified them and prevented what could be a brawl.
”I was berated and reprimanded by the official, who felt alluded by the story. I respect him very much, but he should also respect my person. We are only doing our job here, there's nothing personal," Feliciano told reporters.
The Zamboanga Press Club also demanded from the City Council to investigate the incident. Feliciano has filed a complaint to the police for grave threats after he allegedly overheard the politician telling his bodyguard to attack him.
Vice Mayor Maria Isabelle Climaco said she would ensure that the incident will not happen again. "The session was briefly halted by the commotion and we don't want this incident to happen again. There will be more security men inside the session hall," she said.
Nuno apologized Thursday to the City Council for the incident, but not to Feliciano. He said he is ready to face any charges from Feliciano.
Nuno was in the news after he accompanied a failed independent mayoralty candidate Lepeng Wee for a meeting with Mayor Celso Lobregat. The meeting, Nuno said, was all about business that Wee is planning to put up in Zamboanga City.
Lobregat, the leader of the local LDP party, and Wee, a wealthy businessman, were political rivals.