Chief of Police ambushes radio station and illegally detains journalist on World Press Freedom Day

Media Release:


May 6, 2013               


International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the National

Union of Journalists, Philippines (NUJP) in condemning the actions of Dipolog

City Chief of Police, Superintendent Reynaldo Maclang, after he forced his way

into blocktime commentator Rodolfo Tanquis’s radio show on Friday morning and

had him arrested without warrant, while he was live on air.


to reports, the Chief of Police had taken offence at criticisms made by Tanquis

on his radio show about the high number of unsolved killings in the Dipolong


On May

3rd, while Tanquis was hosting his 6-7 am radio program, Isyu

Karon, Superintendent Maclang, accompanied by several other men, forced

their way into the announcer’s booth, locked and blocked the door, preventing

radio technicians from entering to assist Tanquis.  


then took out his .45 calibre pistol and slammed it on the radio announcer’s

table, declaring that he was filing a libel case against Tanquis. Maclang then

“arrested” Tanquis, without warrant, and ordered the police to detain him at

the Dipolog City jail while Maclang filed libel charges. Tanquis was only released

the next day after he was able to post a P 10,000 bail bond.


to these shocking actions, the Western Mindanao police director, Chief

Superintendent Juanito Vano Jr., attempted to cover up Maclang’s actions.

In a

statement, the NUJP demanded that PNP Director General Alan Purisima and

Interior Secretary Manuel Roxas III immediately investigate and sanction

Maclang and Vano who have proven to be a blot on the service. “For Maclang to

draw his weapon and slam it down in front of Tanquis is a clear abuse of

authority and as grave a threat as anyone, especially a person in authority,

can make against a person,” the statement read. “As for Vano, his brazen

attempt at covering up for Maclang shows why the impunity with which

extrajudicial killings and other human rights violations are committed persists

and why the murders of journalists, activists, lawyers, religious, indigenous

people and others remain.” 


in the Philippines consistently face threats, intimidation and violence. 

This incident, which happened on World Press Freedom Day, highlights the grave

culture of impunity in which journalists in the Philippines are forced to

operate and the government continues to allow. According to the Committee

to Protect Journalists impunity index the Philippines ranks 3rd – with only Iraq and Somalia having worse records for bringing justice to the

killers of journalists.

The IFJ joins the NUJP in demanding

that the government of the Philippines take immediate and decisive action

against Superintendent Maclang and Chief Superintendent Vano. 

“While the current culture of impunity

thrives, those in power will continue to feel safe in the knowledge that

nothing will prevent them from acting to silence journalists” said Jacqueline

Park, IFJ Asia Pacific Director.  “If the

government is serious in its guarantee to address impunity, they should use

this case to set a new precedent, one that demonstrates their commitment to press

freedom and positive obligations under international law”.

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 131 countries

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

Find the IFJ on Facebook: