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2 cops drag radioman out of studio

ZAMBOANGA CITY—Rolando Tanquis was inside the announcer’s booth of dxFL FM on Friday morning as he was holding another edition of his radio program, “Isyu Karon,” when two policemen barged in and dragged him out and hauled him to the Dipolog City police office.

The 50-year-old block-time announcer could only do so much as he protested as the policemen forcibly brought him to the police station.

Tanquis learned later that Dipolog City police director Superintendent Reynaldo Maclang, who appeared at the radio station with two policemen in tow, had him “arrested” for his commentaries blaming the police officer for the unabated killings in the city during his 6 a.m.-7 a.m. block-time program.

On the day of his “warrantless arrest,” Tanquis had accommodated Maclang, who slammed a .45 cal. pistol at the console table before starting to issue his statements on the announcer’s criticisms.

Mitchell Bala, also a block-time announcer at the same station, said prior to the “on the spot arrest,” Tanquis was also commenting about the unsolved killings in the city.

It was at this point that Maclang and the two policemen arrived, he said.

Technicians on duty, who asked for anonymity, said they were surprised when Maclang suddenly came in. They said the police chief was apparently angry when he entered the announcer’s booth, grabbed the microphone as Tanquis was still speaking and started talking.

Bala said the criticisms over unsolved killings in the city could only be one of the things that had enraged Maclang.

“[Tanquis] also played on air last Wednesday a recorded conversation between Maclang and a candidate, where Maclang was heard demanding  an air-conditioning unit from the candidate,” Bala said.

Bala said Maclang and the two policemen did not wait for Tanquis to finish his radio program. They dragged him out around 6:45 a.m., he said.

The station’s technicians, he said, were so shocked at the development that the station was “on dead air” for several minutes.

Bala said as soon as he arrived at the police station, Tanquis was immediately shoved inside the detention cell.

But the formal complaint against Tanquis was filed in the prosecutor’s office only late Friday, nearly 12 hours after the block-timer was dragged out of the announcer’s booth, he said.

Contacted for comment, Chief Supt. Juanito Vano, Western Mindanao police chief, said there was nothing wrong with Maclang’s action against Tanquis.

He said a simple complaint would be enough for the police to invite a person.

“There was nothing violated. A complaint was enough to detain a person,” he said, adding that “while going through the whole process, I am certain the person was placed under custody within the reglementary period.”

Vano also said Maclang just wanted to clear his name, that’s why he filed sedition and libel charges against the block-time announcer on Friday.

He said the charges had been filed in the prosecutor’s office, which in turn, submitted it to the court.

Vano said Tanquis had to be released from police custody on Saturday because “a court order was issued for his release.”

“I believe the issuance of such was just this (Saturday) morning,” he said.

Tanquis’ lawyer, Reinerio Ramas, confirmed that his client had posted bail past noon on Saturday and was to be released from police custody.

“The court has a skeletal force on weekends,” Ramas told the Inquirer by text.

Bala said Tanquis was released 3 p.m. on Saturday.

The Inquirer learned that Tanquis was not the first radio announcer that Maclang had thrown into jail.

Of the four radio announcers he had put in jail for such charges as involvement in illegal drugs and illegal possession of firearms, only Roy Villar was freed on bail.

The others, Genesis Ajero, Ryan Uy and Joseph Herrera, remained locked up to this day. Julie Alipala, Inquirer Mindanao

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Tags: Crime , News , press freedom , Regions , unsold killings

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