Media task force seeks probe into harassment vs 3 reporters in Leyte
MANILA, Philippines — The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) on Saturday demanded the immediate investigation of the alleged harassment of three members of the press by several police officers in Leyte.
According to PTFoMS, San Juanico TV reporters Lito Bagunas, Noel Sianosa, and Ted Tomas were conducting an interview with agrarian reform beneficiaries in Brgy. Jones in Pastrana, Leyte when the incident happened on Friday morning, July 14.
In a video posted by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines, a woman, who was later identified as Staff Sergeant Rhea Baleos, was seen pushing Sianosa. A few minutes later, several gunshots were heard in the background coming from a “still unknown” source.
“The actions made by elements of the Pastrana Municipal Police Office in confronting members of the press who are merely doing their job of conducting an interview is totally uncalled for, unnecessary, and amounted to abuse of authority and power,” said PTFoMS Executive Director Paul Gutierrez in a statement.
Gutierrez specifically urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to investigate Baleos and the other policemen whom she called for backup during her confrontation with the reporters.
“It turned out, however, that the land had been pawned by someone else to Baleos and her husband, who, according to Tomas, is also a member of the PNP. Tomas said the husband, whom he failed to identify, even pointed his M-16 at them,” said Gutierrez.
PTFoMs vowed to continue monitoring the incident, urging the Marcos administration and the PNP to “not tolerate” abuse committed against citizens, including members of the press.