Ref.: PAUL M. GUTIERREZ//0977-1730127
VP and chair, Press Freedom Committee


THE National Press Club of the Philippines is calling on the Philippine National Police (PNP) and the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), to immediately impose disciplinary action against officials of the PNP National Capital Regional Office (NCRPO) to prevent further maltreatment of the members of the press in their hands.

“Since Police B/Gen. Debold Sinas assumed the post as officer-in-charge of the NCRPO in October 2019, members of the press in Metro Manila has seen a deterioration of their relationship with NCRPO police officials, the latest of which was the incident yesterday, January 9, 2020, at the height of the ‘Translacion’ in Manila when no less than Southern Police District (SPD) director, Police B/Gen. Nolasco Bathan, forcibly took away the personal phone of media colleague, Jun Veneracion, of GMA-7,” said NPC Vice President, Paul M. Gutierrez.

“Clearly, Veneracion is just performing his job as member of the press when he took a phone video of how the police are manhandling one of the devotees of the Black Nazarene and Gen. Bathan’s act is both unnecessary and uncalled for. It is also a direct attack on press freedom and the people’s right to know.

“As we have no reason to doubt the narrative of our media colleague on the details of what actually happened at that time, we find it more dismaying that Gen. Bathan could invoke even the holy name of the Black Nazarene in denying that he deleted the video clip taken by Veneracion,” Gutierrez pointed out further.

“Also, while we took note of the apology made by Bathan to Veneracion and GMA-7, much later, this is not the first time that members of the press received such high-handed treatment from the NCRPO. We recall that only last December, while preparations for the Translacion are under way, no less than Bathan’s boss, Gen. Sinas, also twice covered the face of a female reporter of GMA-7 because he does not want to be interviewed at the time,” the club official pointed out.

“We need not also point out here that as soon as he assumed office, Gen. Sinas’ first act is to shut down the press office of the NCRPO Press Club,” Gutierrez added.

“Unless the PNP and the DILG finally take action to remedy the situation, the rest of our policemen everywhere might be tempted to ‘follow the lead’ of their officials in the commission of acts of disrespect— and worse— against the members of the press on the belief that if their top officials can get away with it, why would not they.” ###


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