Police officer sacked for alleged manhandling of journalist

CHIEF Supt. Samuel D. Pagdilao Jr., Calabarzon Police director, sacked over the weekend the intelligence officer of the Quezon provincial police office for allegedly manhandling a reporter who witnessed the apparent violation of a suspected rebel’s human rights.

Sacked from his post was Supt. Ramon Balauag, PNP Quezon intelligence officer who was accused of maltreating and harassing ABS-CBN reporter Johnny Glorioso inside the Quezon provincial police headquarters in Lucena City recently.

Pagdilao’s order came after the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) demanded the immediate investigation and sanction of Balauag, claiming that his action as a ranking police officer displaying an arrogant disregard for press freedom is a cause for real concern.

The NUJP told Pagdilao that Balauag’s action “gives a glimpse into why those who would silence the independent Philippine press are able to do so with impunity as shown 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,” the NUJP stressed.

The Calabarzon PNP director vowed that he would not tolerate erring cops, but said that he will allow an open investigation to shed light on what really transpired.

He also said that he will give his investigators a free hand to determine the real truth, and if indeed the accused police officer is guilty, whatever is the recommendation will be effected immediately in the interest of justice.

According to the NUJP Quezon chapter and the NUJP media safety office, Glorioso had gone to Camp Gen. Nakar to follow up on the capture of New People’s Army commander Tirso Alcantara and another alleged rebel, Apolinario Cuarto, whom the journalist later learned from a report given him by Balauag himself, was an employee of the provincial government.

Earlier, Glorioso told probers that he sought clarification on the status of suspected rebels when he saw a handcuffed and blindfolded man, who turned out to be Cuarto, being made to sign a document inside Balauag’s office.

”When I entered Balauag’s office, he grabbed my shoulders and shoved me out the door,” Glorioso said in a statement.

Glorioso also said that when he asked Balauag why he had to shove him away after he saw the blindfolded man being asked to sign a paper, the police officer claimed that it was their standard operating procedure.

The 66-year-old Glorioso, still recuperating from a stroke he suffered last year,complained of severe pain on his left shoulder after the incident. PNA

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