Photo from Abante Tonite Facebook page.

Four armed men attacked the printing press of the publisher of the leading Abante and Abante Tonite Filipino-language tabloids early on Monday.

The masked men poured gasoline on machines and supplies at about 1 a.m. on Monday. Two employees of the Parañaque plant were reported hurt.

The Abante group said heavier damage was avoided because of the early response of the Parañaque Fire Station.

“The management and staff of Abante and Tonite condemn this dastardly attack, the first violent act against our group and its facilities since 1987. We will not be cowed by this attempt to strike fear into our reporters, editors and staff. Our commitment to hard-hitting journalism remains unshaken,” Abante Managing Editor Fernando Jadulco said.

“We thank the Parañaque Fire Station for its immediate response and preventing further damage to our machines and supplies. We also thank the Philippine National Police, led by NCRPO Chief Guillermo Eleazar, for sending his men immediately to the scene of the crime and allowing us to continue our operation uninterrupted,” he added.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemned the attack.

“That a newspaper facility in the National Capital Region can be attacked in such a brazen manner underscores how deeply mired in the culture of impunity our country and people have become,” it said.

Sen. Grace Poe, head of the Senate Committee on Public Information and Mass Media, called for an immediate investigation and described the attack as harassment of the free press.

“Malinaw itong pananakot, hindi lamang sa Abante, kundi sa mga mamamahayag na nagbabalita lamang ng impormasyon at nagsisiwalat ng korapsyon at maling gawain ng iba’t ibang tao, kabilang na ang mga tiwali sa gobyerno,” she said in a statement. (