Lawmaker: ‘Axe must fall’ on people involved in police visit to journos homes
MANILA, Philippines — Someone or some people in the Philippine National Police (PNP) must be dismissed or forced to resign over police officers’ visit to the homes of journalists, a lawmaker said Tuesday.
For Manila 6th District Rep. and House human rights panel chairman Bienvenido Abante, such a move of the PNP is “a human rights violation… very clear” – noting that the action is inappropriate.
“Visiting the media in plain clothes, I don’t think it’s proper. To me, it’s a human rights violation. Very clear. Traumatic ‘yan eh. Why would they do that? Mayroon silang baril, naka-plain clothes sila, hindi sila nagpapakilala. Is that proper?” he said in an interview over ABS CBN News Channel.
(Visiting the media in plain clothes, I don’t think it’s proper. To me, it’s a human rights violation. Very clear. That’s traumatic. Why would they do that? They have guns, they’re in plain clothes, they didn’t introduce themselves. Is that proper?)
“Sa akin ay tanggalin na ‘yan, whoever is involved in that tanggalin na. I believe the axe must fall on people that have ordered the fiasco of the PNP,” Abante also said when asked if heads must roll in the PNP over such visits to members of the media.
(For me, whoever is involved in that move should be sacked. I believe the axe must fall on people that have ordered the fiasco of the PNP.)
Abante said that even if the PNP has good intentions for the visits, the action conveys intimidation. He then recalled that he personally experienced intimidation from police.
“Kahit ako, noong isang araw, my convoy hinarang ng SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) eh. Can you imagine? SWAT ‘yan. Hindi na nga ako nag-complain pero bakit ako bilang VIP (very important person), haharangin ako ng SWAT pa?” he said.
(Even me, the other day, my convoy was stopped by SWAT. Can you imagine? That’s SWAT. I just did not complain about it but why – me as a VIP – would be stopped by SWATt?)
“Nakakatakot ‘yun eh (That’s frightening). It’s not proper. It’s not normal for any police to do that to a man like me. How much more on ordinary people?” the lawmaker added.
Abante also said there may have been abuse on police’s authority when the police officers visited the homes of journalists.
“The way they do it is not proper, it is not right. They should correct themselves on that. It’s not normal. That would be a HR violation because you caused trauma and intimidation towards our media practitioners,” he said.
He said his committee will conduct a probe on the matter should there be a resolution filed about it.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, October 15, GMA TV reporter JP Soriano said a police officer in plainclothes showed up at his house unannounced to “check” on his security.
Soriano said the police officer showed him his identification card and introduced himself properly, and then told him that he just wanted to see how he was doing. The reporter added that the police officer also asked him if he had received any threats recently.
READ: Cop’s visit to journalist’s home stirs media unease
Soriano further said that the police officer likewise asked to take a picture for documentation, but he declined.
National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO) chief Brig. Gen. Jonnel Estomo earlier apologized for the home visits to journalists and ordered all police chiefs to stop the scheme.
NCRPO spokesman Lt. Col. Dexter Versola had said they welcome any sanction if the police strategy was found to have violated the Data Privacy Act.
READ: NCRPO welcomes sanctions if Data Privacy Act violated after cop’s home visit to journalists
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