Marites Vitug, author of the controversial Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court, has received death threats, reports ABS-CBN News.
The veteran journalist reportedly received two intimidating text messages days after the successful release of her book.
The first message about the pen being mightier that the sword had added text which read: "But the sword kills faster than the pen."
The second message coming from the number 09091348825 read: "Kaya pala maraming napapatay na journalists dahil katulad mo. May katwiran pala si Ampatuan na pagpapatayin ang mga journalists. Sana nakasama ka dun, malay mo malapit na. (Your kind is one of the reasons why journalists are being killed. Ampatuan has valid reason to kill those journalists. I hope you were one of them. You'll never know, it could be sooner.)"
Vitug told ABS-CBN News that the threats came after the publication of her book Shadow of Doubt, which dissects the inner workings of the Philippine judiciary.
In an email to SPOT.ph, Vitug disclosed: "I did not expect a death threat. I expected those who were offended by the book [to launch] a campaign to discredit me. I expected criticism. But I am not surprised by this threat because the culture of accountability has not yet seeped into a number of our government institutions. Public officials don't do the right thing and expect to get away with it. When journalists dig up the truth and write about these public figures, they intimidate and scare us off. They shouldn't be bothered at all if they have nothing to hide."
Vitug stated that she doesn't know the identity of the person or groups that sent the messages, but she is certain that her book was what prompted them.
In any case, Vitug has the support of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) and the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines (FOCAP).
In a statement released to ABS-CBN News, the NUJP praised Vitug for her courage in unveiling what is considered one of the "most mysterious" branches of government in the country: the Supreme Court. "[This] is the role journalism plays in any genuine democracy–that of stripping away the mystique that often surrounds the way government and its instrumentalities work so that the people may judge whether that government is true to its mandate to serve them," said the NUJP.
Meanwhile, Vitug said that she is simply "keeping her cool but staying alert." "(A journalist's) best protection is to bring the threat out in the open," she explained.
To date, Shadow of Doubt's first printing editions have been sold out. Newsbreak is currently reprinting the book. This Friday, March 26, 3,000 copies of its newsprint edition will be out. Then, on Monday, March 29, they expect 2,000 copies of its hardcover edition to be delivered.