SWAT team raids radio station

Media Release: Philippines

29 August 2013


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

Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) in condemning the raid in the

central provincial capital of Iloilo City by the local police force’s Special

Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) squad on radio station Aksyon Radyo early Sunday

morning. The NUJP reports that the Iloilo City chief of police Ruperto Floro

described the tactics employed by his men as “standard operating procedure”.


raid, which was captured on CCTV, demonstrates that Filipino security forces

are improperly trained in their human rights responsibilities and lack proper

restraint and clear-thinking in tense situations. NUJP says that the video

footage of the incident clearly shows no resistance by station employees or the

station’s security guards, and full compliance with police orders


this, NUJP says the SWAT squad:

·        Kicked

and manhandled an unarmed security guard who had complied with their orders to

lie on the floor.

·        aimed

their weapons at the station’s personnel,

·        ordered

the station’s male employees to take off their shirts

·        deleted

mobile phone video footage taken by the station’s engineer on his mobile phone,


·        conducted

a “tactical search” of the station that included the personal belongings of

station staff.


says the raid took place after a nearby shooting incident. Seven youths hid in

the building that also houses the radio station. The youths were later taken

into custody by the police. But Aksyon Radyo personnel had alerted police to

the presence of one of the youths and had readily opened the station entrance

and introduced themselves in order to assist the police.


response, the SWAT team continued to treat the radio station staff as suspects,

even when they were clearly cooperating with police instructions and were

clearly not the suspects the police were seeking. The kicking of the security

guard, who was complying and was not a threat, demonstrates that the SWAT squad

had overstepped the bounds of control and restraint. The deletion of the cell

phone video without the owner’s permission is a clear assault on press freedom

and could well be considered destruction of evidence.


Asia-Pacific said: “The ongoing culture of impunity in the Philippines in

relation to the targeted killing of journalists and the alleged involvement of

dozens of police in the 2009 Ampatuan Massacre of 32 journalists is a dark stain

of the performance of the Filipino police authorities. It is only natural that

journalists have a grave and deeply-felt mistrust when it comes to the police.

The appalling aggression displayed during the incident in Iloilo City amplifies

the reasons why trust between media personnel and Filipino law enforcement is

at such a low.


join with our affiliate in demanding the Philippine National Police impose the

maximum sanctions possible against the SWAT members responsible for threatening

and assaulting our colleagues and for interfering with journalists going about

their civic duty. We further urge the Aquino Government to take urgent steps to

train its police and military forces across the country in the role of the

media in a democratic society, and the need for those agencies to comply with

the international legal obligations of UN Security Council Resolution 1738 on

the protection of journalists in combat zones given the comprehensive failure

to do so in the instance of the Ampatuan Massacre.”

For further information contact IFJ Asia-Pacific on +612 9333 0950

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

Find the IFJ on Twitter: @ifjasiapacific

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