Groups ask PDEA to probe manhandling of reporter
ILOILO CITY—Media groups supported a complaint by a television reporter here alleging harassment against agents of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) while she tried to cover a drug buy-bust operation.
In separate statements, the Iloilo Press Club, Iloilo Provincial Capitol Press Corp. and the Iloilo chapter of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines called on the PDEA to investigate agents who had been accused of harassment and manhandling by Rena Manubag Dago-on, a reporter of IBC TV 13.
The groups also demanded a public apology from the PDEA.
But the PDEA said its agents accosted Dago-on because they did not know she was a reporter as she was not wearing a media ID when she started taking photos of the ongoing operation against a drug suspect.
“The photographs showed the faces of several of our agents who did not wear face covers,” said David Abraham Garcia, PDEA regional information officer.
“We were merely protecting our agents,” he said.
Manubag said she was berated and threatened in front of bystanders after she took pictures of a PDEA operation in Barangay El 98 in Jaro District on Wednesday.
She said she was driving her car with her 6-year-old daughter and chanced upon the operation and saw several armed persons in civilian clothes near a man who appeared to be handcuffed.
Sensing a possible news story, she got off her vehicle and took pictures with her mobile phone.
Dago-on, who has long been covering the police and military beats, said she approached several PDEA agents to get more details and information but was surprised when she was accosted and one of the agents grabbed her phone and deleted pictures of the operation.
The agents accused Dago-on of being an accomplice of the suspect.
The agents berated her because she supposedly endangered their lives by taking pictures that showed their faces.
But Dago-on said the harassment continued even after she had identified herself as a reporter and wife of Supt. Salvador Dago-on, chief of the Iloilo City police intelligence unit.
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