âI thought heâs a threatâ: Police general apologizes for taking GMA reporter's phone
Brig. Gen. Nolasco Bathan (second from left) issues a statement to reporters at Kamuning Police Station 10.
Southern Police District PIO
‘I thought he’s a threat’: Police general apologizes for taking GMA reporter's phone
Gaea Katreena Cabico (Philstar.com) - January 10, 2020 - 4:55pm

MANILA, Philippines — The chief of the Southern Police District who seized GMA reporter Jun Veneracion’s phone during the Traslacion apologized Friday, saying he mistook the journalist as a threat.

At a press briefing, police Brig. Gen. Nolasco Bathan said what happened between him and Veneracion was a misunderstanding.

“I would like to apologize for what happened at Ayala Bridge during the procession of the Black Nazarene 2020 wherein I confiscated the cellphone of a media personality who was later on identified as Mr. Jun Veneracion of GMA 7 thinking he was someone who possessed threat during the procession,” Bathan said.

The SPD chief said Veneracion has already accepted his apology.

In a Facebook post Thursday, Veneracion said Bathan “snatched” his phone while he was documenting a commotion between the police and a Black Nazarene devotee.

Bathan added the situation at that moment was “very critical” and his actions “all happened unintentionally.”

“We are just securing peace and order in the area,” he said.

Brig. Gen. Debold Sinas, National Capital Region Police Office acting director, said the Black Nazarene devotee in Veneracion’s video was the alleged leader of the “agitators” in the area.

‘Delete the video’

Bathan was also recorded directing a police officer to delete the video that the journalist took of cops dragging a devotee to the ground.

In the video, Bathan could be heard saying: “Burahin mo, burahin mo kuha ni Jun Veneracion. P******** nagku-kwan eh.”

When asked by reporters about the recording of him ordering someone to delete the video, Bathan said in a mix of English and Filipino: “I don’t know. It’s a mess there. It was another person who said that.”


The regional Internal Affairs Service will investigate the incident, Sinas said.

“We’ll still have our investigation kay Gen. Bathan as part of the protocol,” he said.

In a statement Friday, the National Union of the Journalists of the Philippines said the Philippine National Police should sanction Bathan.

“Such behavior not only makes a mockery of the policeman’s oath to ‘Serve and Protect,’ if unpunished, it can only add to the worsening impunity that has marked the general breakdown of the rule of law in this country,” NUJP said.

It added: “Anything less can bolster the growing perception that our law enforcers are also the primary lawbreakers.”

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