AFP may probe PSG chief over statements vs Rappler
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) might just look into the conduct of Presidential Security Group (PSG) commander, Brigadier General Lope Dagoy, who allegedly threatened Rappler journalist Pia Ranada and refused to apologize for it, the military spokesperson said on Thursday.
“There’s no inquiry just yet but we are… closely coordinating with General Dagoy, you know, regarding what really happened, what transpired. We’re just waiting for higher headquarters what their decision would be regarding this matter,” Brig. Gen. Bienvinido Datuin said in an interview, a transcript of which was sent to reporters covering the military.
Datuin said the AFP leadership is “hearing both sides,” and gives an emphasis on the balance between press freedom and command responsibility.
He assured journalists of updates on the AFP’s decision on whether or not it would conduct a formal inquiry into Dagoy’s actions and statements.
Datuin reiterated that Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana “already admitted” that Dagoy’s statement was a bit “off the mark, off tangent or uncalled for.” But Datuin added that Dagoy also exercised his own decisions as a commander, following the policies and guidelines of his own unit, especially when it came to looking after the welfare of his own men.
“Let’s just say that Gen. Dagoy also has his reasons. We’ll just wait for the decisions of the higher headquarters,” Datuin said.
Nonetheless, Datuin was hopeful that there would soon be clarity on the issue and emotions would also settle down.
Before noon on Wednesday, Lorenzana expressed disapproval towards Dagoy’s behavior, saying that whatever Rappler’s offense was “the PSG has no right to harm Rappler’s people or threaten them.”
In an updated statement released early Wednesday night, Lorenzana said: “Pasensiyahan nyo na. Bugso lang ng damdamin yan sa pressure ng trabaho nila.”
On Tuesday, Ranada was prevented from entering the Malacañang compound that houses the New Executive Building where journalists covering the President work. She was later allowed to cover the press conference of presidential spokesperson, Harry Roque.
Ranada was also told that time that she cannot cover the events of President Duterte. On Wednesday night, Ranada had been banned from entering the entire Malacañang complex.
Rappler had asked Dagoy to apologize for his remarks against Ranada but the PSG commander refused.
Military officers are governed by a set of rules and regulations under the Articles of War. Article 96 says that officers can be convicted by a military court of conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman.
While civilians can file a complaint against a military personnel, only their commanders can formally file charges with the AFP Judge Advocate General’s Office (JAGO)./ac
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