Surprise cop visits to journos get flak

Independent opposition lawmaker Edcel Lagman has denounced the recent unannounced visits of police officers, mostly in plainclothes, in the private residences as well as studios of journalists, saying it is reminiscent of the intrusive and illicit operation tokhang on drug suspects.

Lagman, the newly-installed president of the once-ruling Liberal Party, emphasized the need to put an end to these covert harassments as they constitute attempts at prior restraint on the freedom of expression.

“Crusading journalists need police protection from threats and harm, not police intrusion into their privacy,” the veteran lawmaker of Albay said.

It all stemmed after several journalists complained about privacy invasions following cops’ sudden home visits to “check” their safety and well-being in their homes.

This gesture of the authorities sparked hysteria among the members of the media in the aftermath of the assassination of veteran radio commentator Percival Mabasa, better known as Percy Lapid.

Lapid was shot in the head twice by motorcycle-riding assailants in Las Piñas City while driving on his way home on 3 October.

Among those visited by police officers who were not in uniform were veteran broadcasters Noel Alamar and David Oro, as well as journalists Adrian Ayalin, JP Soriano and Lourdes Escaros.

Alamar, Oro and Soriano said that a police officer visited their homes, while Escaros claimed that a PNP officer recently went to the radio station where she works in search of her.

Ayalin, who was not at home in Marikina at that time, also said a police car and several police officials dropped by looking for him and asking for his contact details.

Several legislators were also alarmed over police media visits and already asked for a probe.

Meanwhile, Interior and Local Governments Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr., on Monday said will have a dialogue with media outfits and representatives in connection with concerns and fears over police visits to the private residence of some journalists.

In a radio interview, Abalos said they would be coming out with a process and then will publish a hotline that can reach media practitioners if they received a possible threat on their lives just put in writing in a letter addressed to concerned PNP units if they want security personnel from police.

A reporter from GMA news, JP Soriano, posted on his Twitter account that a man went to his private residence, identifying himself as a police officer who was ordered to check for any threats against journalists.

Abalos already talked to Soriano and apologized to the members of the media over the alarm caused by the house-to-house visits by the police which is intended to identify any threat against them.

He has ordered the National Capital Region Police Office to re-strategize and passes through proper channels in order to reach out to media workers instead of going to their residence.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *