Student journalists from the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP) have demanded the release of journalist Lady Ann “Icy” Salem, following the court’s dismissal of the illegal possession of firearms and explosives charges filed against her.
On February 5, the Mandaluyong Regional Trial Court dismissed illegal firearms possession charges against Salem, editor of independent media Manila Today, stating that authorities had improperly used contradictory witness testimony to obtain the search warrant that led to her arrest on December 10.
Salem was arrested in her home in Mandaluyong during the commemoration of Human Rights Day.
In a statement, Alyansa ng Kabataang Mamamahayag ng PUP (AKM-PUP) said “no reason” could ever justify Salem’s continuous detainment.
“It is nothing but a chase against the truth-tellers, playing cat and mouse in the state’s pursuit to silence the critical independent journalists in their voyage to expose impunity,” the statement read.
“This desperate move by the Duterte regime is crafted incessantly to paint journalists along with the community organizers and basic masses as the terrorists they seek to purge, especially under the dread of Anti-Terror Law. These consecutive strikes of the state show nothing but the futility of law in defending the vanguards of truth,” it further read.
It reiterated that reporting the truth and the plight of the people, including the exposition of impunity, are “nothing near to crime nor terrorism.”
“We, Alyansa ng Kabataang Mamamahayag, the broadcast alliance of campus publications and writers’ organization in the PUP branches and campuses, stand in solidarity and support the call to immediately release Lady Ann Salem from wrongful detention,” AKM-PUP added.
The group also called for the release of Altermidya Network Correspondent Frenchie Mae Cumpio who was arrested on February 7 for illegal possession of firearms.