Reporters Harassed by Presidential Security Detail
CMFR/PHILIPPINES- Three radio reporters were allegedly harassed by members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) at the Malacanang Palace last February 7. The PSG denied such incident.
Aya Yupangco of dwIZ, Dennis Datu of dzMM and Michael Goyagoy of dzXL were covering a peace talks protest of human rights groups Hustisya and Selda when PSG personnel seized their radio devices, cellphones and identification cards. The PSG ordered the reporters to delete the footage that they recorded on their phones.
The Manila Times reported that the PSG continued to harass Datu even after he boarded his radio station’s crew vehicle. Goyagoy, meanwhile, said that one PSG member even grabbed his leg, demanding that he surrender his phone and erase the video he recorded.
PSG commander Brig. Gen. Rolando Joselito Bautista and PSG spokesperson Lt. Col. Michael Aquino both denied the accusations. According to a report by GMA News Online, Aquino said that the PSG members only escorted the media and the protesters to Mendiola. He added that the protesters did not have a permit to hold a rally in the Palace.
Bautista, in a memorandum to the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS), said that only protest materials and not the personal effects of the reporters were confiscated. However, he admitted that the media personnel “were just requested to delete all photos and video footages (sic) taken during the incident, which they had not complied with.”
PTFoMS Executive Director Joel Egco said he already gave instructions to investigate the incident. The PSG is conducting its own probe into the matter.