Bulacan cops probe harassment of members of media
MANILA, Philippines — The Bulacan Police Provincial Office is investigating the reported harassment of the members of media in the town of Norzagaray, Col. Chito Bersaluna said on Monday.
Bersaluna, chief of the Bulacan police, said members of the media on board a Mitsubishi Adventure were traversing Igay Road in Barangay Paradise 3 when an unidentified armed man blocked the way and asked for the cellphone number of a certain Engineer Glen.
Those in the vehicle were Philippine Daily Inquirer correspondent Carmela Reyes Estrope, Louie Angeles of radio DWIZ, Frederick Silverio of The Manila Times, Eloisa Silverio of Centro News, and Isagani Navarro, cameraman of GMA-7. The vehicle was driven by Federico Rivas of the Bulacan Provincial Public Affairs Office.
Bersaluna said the group came from a June 21 coverage on an inspection and water sampling at Wacuman Sanitary Landfill in Barangay San Mateo by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), following reports that the landfill was allegedly violating environmental laws.
He said Estrope then called to inform him of the incident.
The group was later told to have the incident recorded in the police blotter of the Bulacan Criminal Investigation and Detection Group Regional Field Unit 3 (CIDG-RFU-3).
A media report earlier said the group has been keeping track of a garbage crisis in the province for a month now.
Bersaluna said he immediately directed the Provincial Investigation and Detective Management Branch to coordinate with the Bulacan CIDG, Norzagaray Municipal Police, and the city police of San Jose Del Monte to “conduct an in-depth probe and validation” of the reported harassment.
“Exhaustive” investigation and intelligence gathering are also being conducted to identify the armed man, who was reported to be in civilian clothes and was onboard a motorcycle during the incident, the police official said.
“The Bulacan Police Provincial Office strongly condones any unlawful demeanor perpetrated by lawless elements that will directly or indirectly disturb the peace and order in the province,” said Bersaluna.
He assured that what happened is an isolated case and that the police are on top of the situation.
“PNP Bulacan will not be remiss of its duty to ensure that no harassment of any form will be committed against any member of the press and that their right to press freedom is upheld and protected as enshrined in our Constitution ,” he said.
He added best efforts would be exerted to address the concern of members of the media in the province who are “just doing their jobs.”/ac
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