Uphold press freedom, sanction Balauag

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines demands that the
Philippine National Police immediately investigate and sanction
Superintendent Ramon Balauag, intelligence officer of the Quezon
provincial police office, for maltreating a journalist who was on
legitimate coverage.

We also raise concerns over Balauag’s apparent penchant for violating
human rights, as witnessed by the harassed journalist, ABS-CBN dzMM
reporter Johnny Glorioso, right inside the Quezon provincial police
headquarters on Wednesday.

According to the NUJP Quezon chapter and the NUJP media safety office,
Glorioso had gone to Camp Nakar to get a follow up report on the
capture of New People’s Army commander Tirso Alcantara and another
alleged rebel, Apolinario Cuarto.

While there, Glorioso learned, from a copy of a report given him by
Balauag himself, that Cuarto was an employee of the provincial

When he sought clarification on this, he saw inside Balauag’s office a
handcuffed and blindfolded man, who turned out to be Cuarto, being
made to sign a document.

When he entered the office, however, he was met by Balauag who grabbed
the reporter’s shoulder and shoved him out the door.

“When I asked him why he had to shove me and why was the man
blindfolded while being asked to sign a paper, he answered that it was
their SOP (standard operating procedure),” Glorioso told the NUJP
safety office.

As a result of Balauag’s manhandling, the 66-year old Glorioso said
the pain he has been feeling in his left shoulder since suffering a
stroke last year has intensified.

That a ranking law enforcer like Balauag can display such an arrogant
disregard for press freedom is cause for real concern and certainly
gives a glimpse into why those who would silence the independent
Philippine press are able to do so with impunity as evinced by the
more than 100 unsolved media killings.

It is equally disturbing that Balauag can so brazenly describe a gross
violation of human rights, as witnessed by Glorioso, as “standard
operating procedure.”

If, indeed, such behavior as Balauag’s is standard procedure among our
law enforcers, not to mention the other armed services, then we dread
for the future of democracy and freedom in our country.

Nevertheless, we challenge Malacanang, the Department of Interior and
Local Government and Philippine National Police to prove Balauag wrong
by sending a clear
and unequivocal message that he and his ilk have no place in the service.

Nestor Burgos Jr, NUJP Chair
Rowena Paraan, NUJP Secretary-General


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