Ref.: PAUL M. GUTIERREZ//0977-1730177
February 7, 2017
MANHANDLING OF MEMBERS OF THE PRESS
BY PRESIDENTIAL GUARDS ASSAILED
THE National Press Club of the Philippines (NPC) joins its members and colleagues from the Manila Police District Press Corps (MPDPC) in condemning the manhandling this morning by elements of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) of three legitimate members of the press covering a mass action outside Malacañang Palace.
“No matter how the PSG would excuse its members from the bruising incident early today, it is simply inexcusable. The PSG should apologize and assure there would not be a repeat of the incident,” said NPC president Paul M. Gutierrez.
“Those physically attacked by Pres. Duterte’s security group are legitimate members of the media, riding in marked media vehicles and displaying their press IDs.
“They are there covering a legitimate media event,” Gutierrez said, referring to DWIZ veteran reporter and NPC member, Aya Yupangco, Dennis Datu of DZMM/ABS-CBN and, Michael Goyagoy of DZXL.
“Thus to ‘mistake’ them as part of those holding a mass action in front of the Presidential Palace and physically assault them to stop them from their press coverage is a clear violation of press freedom and a clear-cut case of abuse of authority on the part of the PSG,” Gutierrez stressed, adding:
“The members of the press are never a threat to anyone, even to the PSG soldiers themselves.”
The NPC also lamented that while Pres. Duterte has taken steps to protect the members of the press from physical attacks and other acts of violence thru the creation of task force focus on media security only last October 2016, “his own security detail appears ignorant about it or they simply couldn’t care less.”
“Si Pang. Duterte, gumagawa ng mga hakbang upang bigyang proteksyon ang mga miyembro ng media pero nawawalan ito ng saysay kung ang kanya mismong mga tauhan ang unang lumalabag sa kanyang kautusan.
“May this incident not cast doubt on Pres. Duterte’s seriousness in addressing violence against members of the Philippine press,” Gutierrez added. ###