ABS-CBN TV reporter Trini Velasco received a death threat via text message during the network’s coverage of the recently concluded barangay (village) and Sangguniang Kabataan (youth council) elections in Marawi City.
Ms. Velasco, of ABS-CBN Cagayan de Oro, received the message Oct. 26, the day after the elections. The ABS-CBN CDO crew had left Marawi in the afternoon of Oct. 25.
The text message warned the ABS-CBN crew, especially those from Iligan City and Manila who had remained, to get out of Marawi City or else they would be killed.
Upon receiving the text message, Ms. Velasco called up the remaining ABS-CBN crew from Iligan City and Manila. The assistance of the Philippine Army was sought and all the ABS-CBN crew members got out of Marawi.
Marawi is the capital city of the conflict-torn Lanao del Sur. At the height of the elections, a riot ensued in one of the polling centers when unidentified men tried to grab the ballot boxes.
The commotion resulted in an ABS-CBN cameraman’s camera battery and light being damaged. It is unknown if the cameraman himself was unhurt.