MANILA, Philippines — Senator Richard Gordon expressed concern on Friday on the act of a police officer who confiscated the cellphone of GMA7 News reporter Jun Veneracion in Thursday’s Traslacion.
During a press conference, Gordon urged media organizations to issue a statement to condemn the incident.
“Dapat ang media magsalita laban dyan. The police should not do that,” Gordon said.
“Media is important to our country. Kapag nag-threat ka sa media you will never hear the truth. Media is the one telling the emperor that he is not wearing any clothes,” Gordon said.
“That is one of my concerns as a senator,” he added.
On Thursday morning, Veneracion captured on video a policeman manhandling a Black Nazarene devotee on Ayala Bridge.
In the video, the police rounded up and pushed the devotee to the ground.
But Police Brigadier General Nolasco Bathan, chief of the Southern Police District, approached Veneracion and snatched his cellphone then immediately fled, not knowing the video was still on.
At the latter part of the video, a unidentified man said “Burahin mo, burahin mo kuha ni Jun Veneracion. P***** i** nagku-kwan eh.”
Veneracion’s phone, however, was returned to him after 20 minutes, but the video was already in the “Recently Deleted” album.
Bathan, meanwhile, apologized upon returning the phone to Veneracion and said he did not recognize him. He also denied he was the one who deleted the video.
In a statement released Friday morning, Bathan apologized for the incident saying he thought Veneracion “was someone who poses threat during the procession.”
He added there was a commotion “between the police officers and a hapless Black Nazarene devotee at the time Mr. Veneracion was at the said place and everything went uncontrollable when the PNP let go of the Andas (float of the statue of the Black Nazarene) to all the people especially the devotees to get near to it.”
He said, on the part of the PNP, they still have to maintain the security in the area because the situation is very critical at that moment.
“What happened between me and Mr. Veneracion was somehow a misunderstanding and I again sincerely apologized for my actions, it all happened unintentionally, we are just securing peace and order in the area,” the police said. (Stacy Ang/JGo/CurrentPH.com)