5 Manila cops axed over reporter’s arrest

Marc Jayson Cayabyab (The Philippine Star) - April 20, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Five police officers were relieved from their posts yesterday for arresting a radio reporter at a checkpoint in Pandacan, Manila last week.

Lt. Joel Piñon, commander of the Police Community Precinct station 10, was sacked along with his men Senior M/Sgt. Jonathan Hernandez, Cpl. Charles Bronzon dela Torre and Patrolmen Marvin Anthony Comboya and Jonathan Abad.

They were relieved pending result of the investigation, according to Manila Police District (MPD) director Brig. Gen. Leo Francisco.

Police arrested Lorenz Tanjoco, anchor and reporter of the state-run Radyo Pilipinas, for not wearing his face mask properly while on a motorcycle on Friday.

Radyo Pilipinas is the flagship radio station of the Philippine Broadcasting Service Bureau of Broadcast Services, the national government’s official radio broadcast arm.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) condemned Tanjoco’s arrest.

The NUJP cited an existing no arrest order by the Philippine National Police following the deaths of two men, who were apprehended for allegedly violating health protocols in Cavite and Laguna during the imposition of the enhanced community quarantine last month.

Tanjoco removed his face mask temporarily because it was being blown away by strong wind. Police refused to accept his alibi, the NUJP said.

The police officers also did not recognize Tanjoco’s media ID even as reporters are considered essential workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tanjoco was detained at the police station for at least 10 hours, according to the NUJP.

“Tanjoco’s arrest is a clear violation of the police’s own directive and a continuation of the excessive enforcement of quarantine rules,” the group said.

The NUJP called on the police to respect the rights of essential workers during the pandemic.

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