‘Blocktimer’ attacked after radio program

Former radio broadcaster-turned-blocktimer Florencio Hervias III gets first aid treatment after he was mauled outside a radio station Friday morning. (Photo courtesy of RMN-Iloilo)

By Jennifer P. Rendon and Joseph B.A. Marzan

A radio “blocktimer” was wounded after he was attacked by four persons outside a radio station at La Paz, Iloilo City morning of Oct 7, 2022.

Aside from cuts and bruises, the 54-year-old Florencio Hervias III did not suffer any major injury after the daylight assault.

The incident happened as Hervias was leaving the station after hosting his “Banwa Binag-binaga” blocktime program aired over DYRI-RMN Iloilo with his partner Roy Cejar.

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility defines blocktiming as a unique Philippine broadcast media practice of buying “blocks” of airtime to produce programs independent of networks and stations.

The blocktimer sells the commercial time to sponsors and/or advertisers. Blocktime programs especially proliferate during elections, as politicians scramble for access to the voting public by, among other means, sponsoring programs through which they can have the exclusive opportunity to enhance their image and undermine that of their rivals.

Hervias told Daily Guardian that his attackers were big-bodied persons who wore face masks.

He was unlocking his motorcycle’s steering wheel around 10:40 a.m. Friday when the attack happened.

Since Hervias was already wearing his crash helmet, one of his attackers threw an uppercut punch. His helmet got disengaged and cut his lips, eyebrows, and nose.

“When I got on my motorcycle and put on my helmet, I saw two men looking at me. I expected that it was nothing since it was normal. After I hung up the plastic bag I brought, they just started hitting me. They started with my head. Since I was wearing a helmet, they may have hit the visor, and maybe that’s how I got my injuries in my eyebrows and lips,” Hervias narrated in a phone interview.

Major Jose Val Ladublan, Iloilo City Police Station 2 chief, said that the suspects immediately fled towards St. Clement’s Church and boarded a vehicle after the incident.

“It was done in under a minute,” Ladublan said.

The area where the attack happened was on the side of the building where the RMN station was housed.

Ladublan said that CCTV cameras of nearby establishments were out of order.

On the other hand, establishments with functional CCTV cameras are situated at a distance which failed to capture the incident.

Years ago, Hervias used to work with Bombo Radyo-Iloilo and later with GMA-DYSI Super Radyo.

He then worked with Eugene Reyes, his former colleague at Bombo Radyo, after the latter won as mayor of Buenavista, Guimaras.

After the 2022 elections, he went back again to radio work via his blocktime program.


When asked what could have triggered the attack, Hervias talked about the ongoing rehabilitation of the P85-million Mandurriao Public Market.

“I was just merely asking if everything was done aboveboard, if the bidding was in order or if it underwent due process,” he said.

While not mentioning any names, Hervias pointed his suspicions towards City Councilor Plaridel Nava, who was involved in the Mandurriao public market rehab project as a joint venture partner of a contractor.

In a now-deleted Facebook post on Thursday, Nava purportedly mentioned Hervias and Cejar by name with the remark “hehehe”, which already alerted Hervias to possible retaliations.

Immediately after Hervias’s mauling, Nava again posted on his Facebook account the status, “Choose your battles wisely.” It also carried the hashtag “#round1KO” and “#moretogo”.

He again made another post captioned “Lessons for the day” where he mentioned about four points like, “don’t disturb someone who’s maintaining his silence.”

Nava also advocated for “using brake fluid for people who could not control what’s going out of their mouth.”

“Kong may naga bayad sa imo, dayawa lang sya pero indi pag yawyawa iya kontra. Kay imo ya bäbä ang ma buka, indi iya,” he said.

(If you’re getting paid by someone, just praise them but don’t hit their enemies. After all, it’s you who will suffer a busted mouth, not them.)

Nava also said that a peaceful life is always better.

Hervias recovered after being treated at the Western Visayas Medical Center and was able to file his complaint with the La Paz Police Station.

Despite what transpired, Hervias said that he would continue his program, not minding possible repercussions from what he called “onion-skinned” people.

“With what is happening now, it shows that media practitioners aren’t well-protected especially when they touch upon the feelings of onion-skinned public officials. They can do what they want,” he said.


On his part, Nava clarified to RMN Iloilo that he had ill feelings towards Hervias and Cejar because of their “anonymous potshots,” saying that “they should stop calling other people thieves.”

The councilor also sent statements to Daily Guardian via text message, denying his involvement in the attack as well as the connections from his Facebook posts.

He said in the radio interview that his Facebook post right after the incident was referring to the lawsuit filed against MORE Power over recent power price hikes, thus the #moretogo post.

“I have nothing to do with the attack against [Hervias] although he maligned me and called me a thief in public. If he believes otherwise, they should file a case in court,” Nava said in a text message.

“[The Facebook posts have] nothing to do with that. [D]id it mention about Hervias? Why connect it to Hervias? I am referring to other issue not in any manner related to Hervias[,]” he added.

In an interview over RMN-Iloilo, Nava denied having a hand in what happened to Hervias.

But he lambasted the two blocktimers for allegedly accusing him as “makawat” or thief.

While he claimed to feel bad about the accusations, he said he did not hurt nor ordered the attack on Hervias.

Nava claimed that Hervias and Cejar mentioned the materials taken from the old Mandurriao public market were “enough to build a house.”

Incidentally, Nava has just finished building his house, which he said was funded using a loan from the state-run housing agency PAG-IBIG.

He also stressed that the Mandurriao public market rehabilitation was above board, as he had a joint venture with another construction firm for the project.


In a statement, Colonel Leo Batiles, Iloilo City police chief, said that the “PNP does not and will not tolerate these acts involving our media men and women in Iloilo City.”

Batiles assured that the police will thoroughly investigate this incident and will press charges against the suspects.

“The ICPO will ensure the protection of the victim and other media personalities at all times,” he said.

The ICPS3 investigators have already coordinated with RMN Iloilo while the office of ICPO-PIO has already talked with the ICPO Press Corps about other information pertaining to the incident and to ensure that the same incident will not happen again.

“We are also appealing to the public to help the police identify the suspects involved in the incident to immediately solve the case,” Batiles said.


Two days before what happened to Hervias, the Police Regional Office (PRO)-6 issued a statement advising members of the fourth estate to remain vigilant and cautious.

This came on the heels of the shooting to death of radio broadcaster and columnist Percival Mabasa (aka Percy Lapid).

At that time, PRO-6 said there’s no reported threats on media personalities in Western Visayas.

But still it advocated to media personalities to always prioritize their safety and security.

Brigadier General Leo Francisco, Western Visayas police chief, said that media personalities could report any suspicious thing or incident that can harm their life.

“Sa atin pong kasamahan sa media, mag ingat po tayo palagi, maari po kayong magreport sa ating pinakamalapit na police station ano mang insidente na alam niyo pong malalagay kayo sa panganib,” Francisco said.


The attack on Hervias, which happened just three days after the shooting death of radio announcer Percy Mabasa in Las Piñas City, drew widespread condemnation from both the public sector and organizations.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP)-Iloilo Chapter said that the attack “shows how assaults against Filipino media workers have become more brazen.”

“We call on the Philippine National Police to act on its assurance of protecting journalists and upholding the freedom of the press by swiftly and decisively apprehending the assailants and all others involved and filing the appropriate charges,” NUJP-Iloilo said in their statement.

“We call on colleagues to continue to stand together in defending the freedom of the press and standing by our sworn duty to hold power to account,” it added.

Iloilo City Mayor Jerry Treñas in his statement said that the attack had “no place in a highly urbanized city.”

“Persons who perpetuate these kinds of actions should be condemned by all. I call on our [PNP] to immediately hunt down these perpetrators and bring them to the answer for their acts to justice,” the mayor said.

Bayan Muna chairperson Neri Colmenares likened the incident to recent attacks on lawyers, and called for an independent investigation into attacks against media practitioners.

“Like lawyers, media should not be attacked for the exercise of their profession. Kung may problema sila sa amin, dalhin nila sa korte. The country is now the ‘wild, wild West of Asia’ for brazen attacks against media, lawyers, activists and even ordinary citizens who only disagree with government policies,” said Colmenares.