Cases filed vs 2 Leyte cops for allegedly harassing 3 reporters | Inquirer News

Cases filed vs 2 Leyte cops for allegedly harassing 3 reporters

By: - Reporter / @FArgosinoINQ
/ 01:53 PM July 17, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Administrative and criminal complaints were filed against two police officers who were relieved from their posts after allegedly harassing three members of the press during a land dispute in Leyte, the Philippine National Police (PNP) said on Monday

In a media briefing, PNP spokesperson Police Col. Jean Fajardo said the two police officers identified as Staff Sergeant Rhea Baleos and her husband, Staff Sergeant Ver Baleos, were relieved from their duties last July 15 and are now facing complaints.

“Yung dalawa pulis nating mag-asawa ay na-relieve na at nahaharap sila ngayon sa kasong kriminal at administratibo. Yung mga kapatid natin sa media na involved dun sa incident ay nakikipag-cooperate po sa PNP at nakuhanan na ‘rin sila ng statements.” Fajardo said.


(Our two police officers have been relieved from their duties and are now facing criminal and administrative charges. Our brothers and sisters in the media who were involved in the incident are also cooperating with the PNP, and we’ve already taken their statements.)


She added that PNP has already asked the immediate superiors of the two police officers to explain their sides as to why the incident occurred. If proven that there was indeed a lack of supervision on their part, Fajardo said that corresponding administrative cases would also be filed against them.

According to the Presidential Task Force on Media Security, the alleged harassment occurred last July 14 when San Juanico TV reporters Lito Bagunas, Noel Sianosa, and Ted Tomas interviewed agrarian reform beneficiaries in Barangay Jones in Pastrana.

Police said the land dispute stemmed between Moises Empillo and Anecita Nogal, who was with her husband Virgilio Nogal. The former claimed to be the rightful owner of the rice field, but the couple insisted that the land belonged to them.

However, it turned out that the rice field was mortgaged to the female Baleos, who called for backup during the commotion. Sianosa, on the other hand, reportedly took a video of the commotion, prompting Baleos to stop and push him, as seen on the video posted by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines.

Later in the video, several gunshots were heard in the background from an unknown source.

Fajardo said that if investigation results showed that both cops opened fire during the commotion, additional criminal complaints would be filed against them.


She further disclosed that cops and all personnel involved with the incident had undergone paraffin tests and were under restrictive custody.


Media task force seeks probe into harassment vs 3 reporters in Leyte

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PNP relieves 2 cops for allegedly harassing 3 reporters in Leyte

TAGS: harassment, Journalist, Leyte, Media, Police, reporters

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