Saturday, May 22, 2010

ABS-CBN reporter harassed by policemen in Oriental Mindoro: The Manila Times

MANILA, Philippines - A Manila-based ABS-CBN radio reporter was harassed and threatened by members of the local police in Pola, Oriental Mindoro Thursday night on account of taking unsolicited video footage and political partisanship issue.

Philippine National Police (PNP) Press Corps President Noel Alamar of DzMM said that his camera was snatched by Pola Chief Inspector Telesforo Domingo, together with his men, clad in civilian clothes and sporting high-powered firearms around 9:30 on Thursday night.

Alamar told Camp Crame reporters in a teleconference on Friday that he was tipped by townmates in Pola of political leaning among the Pola police, which violates the order of Chief PNP Director General Jesus Verzosa about remaining a political days before the May 10 elections. Verzosa also gave directions not to follow illegal orders from politicians.

After checking the veracity of the tip, Alamar was surprised when Chief Insp. Domingo visited him early on Thursday at their ancestral house as they were commemorating the first death anniversary of his mother.

Apparently drunk, Chief Insp. Domingo asked him, “Sino ka ba?” [“Who are you?”]

The radio reporter immediately informed Mimaropa Regional Police Director, Chief Superintendent Paul MascariƱas and Oriental Mindoro Police Chief, Senior Superintendent Sonny Ricablanca what transpired, and they agreed to look into the complaint against Domingo.

Later on Thursday, Alamar went to the house of Pola Mayor-elect Panganiban. There, the DzMM reporter saw a mobile patrol vehicle parked in front of the house of Mayor-elect Panganiban at Barangay Zone 2 around 9:30 in the evening.

Chief Insp. Domingo was at the front seat and Alamar noticed that he and two other policemen in the vehicle were carrying guns while wearing only civilian clothes—a clear violation of the Omnibus Election Code.

Alamar took out his camera to videotape and document what he saw, but Chief Insp. Domingo spotted him and reportedly threatened to shoot him after snatching his camera.

Furthermore, Chief Insp. Domingo ordered his men to arrest Alamar for “obstruction of Justice” and also ordered his men to open fire at the civilians trying to protect the reporter.

Alamar voluntarily gave up resistance and entered the police vehicle but Pola residents took him out and
brought him inside the house of Mayor-elect Panganiban.

Additional police were sent in the area and barricaded the house but hundreds of people prevented them from arresting the Manila-based ABS-CBN reporter by forming human barricades.

Cooler heads intervened led by outgoing Mayor Alex Aranas and other policemen from the provincial mobile group, including Provincial Dir. Sr. Supt. Ricablanca, who ordered a full investigation of the incident.

In 2008, Chief Insp. Domingo was sacked as the town police chief of Victoria, also in Oriental Mindoro, after figuring in the shooting of a man in Mabini town in Batangas.

Philippine National Police (PNP) spokesman, Chief Superintendent Leonardo Espina told Crame reporters in an interview that PNP Chief Director General Jesus Verzosa has ordered the removal of Domingo pending investigations. (Sammy Martin and Roselle Aquino)


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