Tacloban-based journalist Frenchie Mae Cumpio spent a full two years in jail. Now, she faced another case as she was accused by the Anti-Money Laundering Council of financing terrorists together with lay worker Mariel Domequil who was also arrested by trumped-up charges.
The two face a non-bailable case of terrorism financing under R.A. 10168, supported by “pieces of evidence” such as the money found along with their arrest and the statements from “rebel returnees” stating that they saw Cumpio and Domequil giving money to armed communists.
Altermidya Peoples’ Alternative Media Network (Altermidya) denounced the new case filed against Cumpio.
“All these are wrongful charges against our colleague. Frenchie Mae is a credible community journalist and radio anchor in Tacloban. She has exposed the abuses of the military in communities in Eastern Visayas, wrote about the struggles of farmers during calamities, reported on the lack of assistance for Yolanda survivors, and many others. These underreported stories should continue to be told and should not be reason to silence journalists like Frenchie Mae.” the group said in a post.
Two years deprived of liberty, still, eagers to fight back
In an open letter by Cumpio, the journalist remained resilient and hopeful even after her arrest.
“Yes, we could have had a better life like what people would say but remembering the demolition threats among several barangays in Tacloban, the land grabbing cases in Tacloban and Leyte, the illegal arrests of farmers and other activists, the strong Junk STS (socialized tuition scheme) and free education campaign, WE’D STILL MAKE THE CHOICE WE MADE YEARS AGO. Life behind bars is still better than not showing our love for this country,” Frenchie stated in her open letter published in Saloobin, an anthology of women political prisoners’ literary work, released in 2021.
Various media outfits called for Frenchie’s release despite the dismissal of their request to squash the faulty search warrant filed against them.