Police confiscate copies of alternative magazine in Bulacan

CMFR/PHILIPPINES – Police confiscated issues of Pinoy Weekly magazine during a raid in Pandi Bulacan on 26 July 2020 claiming that the publication is illegal and carries anti-government propaganda.

Bulacan is 43 kilometers north of Manila.

According to Pinoy Weekly, members of the Pandi police headed by PCPT Jun Alejandrino raided the local office of the urban poor group Kalipunan ng Damayang Mahihirap (Kadamay) and seized copies of the publication.

When asked for a search warrant, Alejandrino said that the magazine is “illegal” because it “teaches people to fight the government.” The police chief also threatened members of Kadamay to give up the copies or “something will happen.”

The raid happened a day after the warrantless arrest of Kadamay member Rose Fortaleza, who lives in the unit where the raid happened.

In a statement, Pinoy Weekly editor in chief Kenneth Guda said that the Pandi police are “grossly ignorant of the law” and the seizure of copies of the magazine, which are the property of Kadamay-Pandi, was illegal. Guda further said, “the police chief is ignorant of the constitutionally-guaranteed freedom of the press and freedom of expression, or he chooses to trample upon it. Either way, he and his men are committing a crime.”

This was not the first time that issues of the magazine were confiscated by pro-government forces. On 5 September 2019, a pro-government group accompanied by members of the military ransacked the Kadamay office in Pandi and burned copies of the publication.

Pinoy Weekly is an online and print magazine that features stories and opinion about the plight of the marginalized. The magazine is published by Pinoy Media Center, Inc., a legal, duly registered non-profit organization that aims to democratize the practice of journalism in the country.