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Two relatives of freed kidnap victim attack reporter in Zamboanga

Two relatives of freed kidnap victim Martina Yee attacked Wednesday a reporter covering her arrival from Sulu at the Western Mindanao Command camp.

In a text message to GMA News Online on Thursday, Reuben James Rosalado of ABS-CBN said they went to Wesmincom around 2 p.m. to cover the arrival of Yee.

“Wesmincom gave a clearance to all media to cover the said arrival of kidnap victim,” he said.

Members of 35th Infantry Battalion, 501st Infantry Brigade of Joint Task Force Sulu rescued Martina Lyn Yee from the Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) around 7 a.m. at a pier in Tanjung, Brgy Kajatian, Indanan Sulu. 

Yee was abducted by about six armed men around 3 p.m. on Monday in Sirawai, Zamboanga del Norte.

Rosalado said they went first to the media center of Wesmincom for coordination and he personally asked an officer assigned at the media center if they could proceed to Camp Navarro General Hospital, which is also inside Wesmincom, and wait for Yee there.

He said the officer gave the go-signal and even suggested that they can cover the landing of the chopper carrying Yee.

“So we went to the helipad area, and there I saw the family of Yee waiting along the road. I approached and talked to them politely and asked if we could interview them. They declined and I said, ‘OK, we will respect that,'” he said.

However, Rosalado said, the relatives started insisting that they would not allow media coverage of Yee's arrival.

He said he politely told them that the Wesmincom gave them clearance to cover the arrival.

“Then, Reiner Kue, a relative of Yee, started yelling at me and threatened to attack me and my cameraman if we would insist on covering the arrival of Yee,” he said.

He added that minutes later, Roseller Kue, another relative, approached him and immediately gave him a blow near his chest area.

Reiner Kue also punched him hitting his left cheek, Rosalado said.

He said he walked away from the relatives and immediately called the police for assistance.

Rosalado said during their confrontation inside the police station, the Kues said they were stressed out because of the incident and the wrong information coming from a local newspaper (not from ABS-CBN) saying that the victim was found dead somewhere.

He said he will file a case against his two attackers.

“For the record, I’m asserting my rights as a Filipino and pursuing a criminal case against Reiner and Roseller Kue,” he said.

Wesmincom spokesperson Major Filemon Tan, in a text message to GMA News Online, said he cannot comment on the incident as he was not present when it happened.

Aside from the spot report it issued which was posted on their website, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines has yet to issue a comment on the incident. —KG, GMA News