For the past three years, community journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio has been detained over trumped-up charges of illegal possession of firearms and explosives and terrorist financing. Frenchie Mae is part of the ‘Tacloban 5’ human rights defenders who were arrested during midnight raids on February 7, 2020.

Frenchie Mae’s arrest and continued detention demonstrates the persistent attacks against independent journalists in the country. The attacks are aimed at intimidating and silencing those who are critical in their reportage.

In a recent court decision, Frenchie Mae and her co-accused Mariel Domequil were not allowed to participate in the proceedings after failing to respond to the petition for civil forfeiture. But this was due to difficulties brought about by their detention and pandemic restrictions. While the decision is under appeal, we stand in solidarity in her plea to present evidence in court and wield her only weapon that is the truth.

As a community journalist, Frenchie Mae has exposed human rights violations and highlighted the stories and aspirations of the marginalized communities in Eastern Visayas. These stories and the pursuit of truth should not be reason to silence journalists like Frenchie Mae.

We call on the Philippine government to drop all the charges against Frenchie Mae and the rest of Tacloban 5.

Let Frenchie Mae speak!
Free Frenchie Mae now!


AlterMidya – People’s Alternative Media Network
Executive Board, International Association of Women in Radio and Television – Philippines
National Directorate, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines


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