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
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.
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
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