Tara Yap/ TDG/ PNS
THE publisher-editor of The Daily Guardian was attacked Wednesday night right in front of the paper’s editorial office.
Lemuel Fernandez suffered a deep cut on the back of his head after an unknown attacker hit him from behind with a hard object while he was about to get into his car parked outside Viosils Arcade along M.H. del Pilar St. in Molo district.
According to executive editor Francis Allan Angelo, the incident happened around 9:30pm as they were both leaving the business and editorial offices after putting together the paper’s Thursday issue. They were getting ready to leave and have late dinner before heading home.
Angelo was already inside his car when he heard Fernandez yelling for help. He immediately got out of his car and assisted the publisher-editor whose head was already bleeding profusely.
Fernandez said his attacker, who escaped on foot toward the direction of Hotel Del Rio in Molo, was wearing a white shirt and maong shorts. Fernandez also noticed another man standing at the right corner near the Viosils parking area. Seeing that Fernandez was still standing, he ran towards the direction of UP Visayas.
Angelo also stressed that when he sought help from the security guard on duty, the guard was nowhere to be found. It was later learned that security guard Mike Sangines of Code One Security went to the restroom on the building’s second floor when the incident happened.
Angelo cannot pinpoint the angle behind the attack, but said it may be related to one of the issues the paper carried in the past or has been carrying since the New Year.
The incident was condemned by various media organizations including the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP-Iloilo), Iloilo City Hall Press Corps (ICHPC), Iloilo Capitol Press Corps (ICPC), Iloilo Police Defense Press Corps (IPDPC), Philippine Tri-Media Multi-Purpose Cooperative (PTMC), NUJP-Negros Occidental, and Negros Media Council for Press Freedom (NMCPF).
Meanwhile, the Police Regional Office (PRO-6) has created Task Force Guardian to investigate the incident.
Fernandez was discharged from St. Paul’s Hospital Thursday afternoon after receiving medical treatment.
He said he is not pinpointing anybody “because we have no evidence”.
“Since the attacker was not identified and arrested, we cannot make any speculations as to the real motive of the mastermind,” he said.
He assured that the paper will not waver in its avowed mission and vision in serving the ends of journalism.