ILOILO CITY, 29Aug2013 (PNA) – Iloilo media joined hands together in condemning the alleged harassment made by the Iloilo City Police Office’s Special Weapon and Tactics (SWAT) operatives as they barged the Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo station at the Carlos Uy Building, Diversion Road in Mandurriao district here around 2:13 a.m. of August 25.
The raid happened after the SWAT got information on a group of armed men that allegedly entered the station.
These men were reportedly involved in a commotion at the nearby night bar along Smallville area that left five wounded youngsters. Later, these wounded youngsters were turned out to be the victims who sought help from the said station.
Iloilo Press Club (IPC) president Francis Allan Angelo, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) national director Nestor Burgos and NUJP-Iloilo chairman Bert Ladera have issued a statement in Monday, denouncing the act of the SWAT operatives.
“We find such show of force uncalled for and completely unnecessary since the (radio) personnel already submitted themselves voluntarily to the raiding team. They are not even suspects in a crime as the police would like to portray. It was even the station personnel who called the police for assistance and later explained that the young men who sought refuge in the building were unarmed and suffered gunshot wounds which needed immediate medical treatment,” said the statement.
The IPC and NUJP called on the Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), Commission on Human Rights (CHR), National Police Commission (Napolcom) and People’s Law Enforcement Board to conduct an immediate, full, and impartial investigation and enforce appropriate sanctions against the SWAT personnel involved.
Noni Basco, president of Iloilo Police and Defense Press Corps (IPDPC), said they are strongly condemning in maximum sense the actions taken by the members of the SWAT who stormed the office of Aksyon Radyo-Iloilo.
“We are united in calling for a speedy and fair investigation of the higher PNP command regarding the incident”, he said.
On her part, Elena Pabiona, president of the Iloilo Capitol Press Corps (ICPC), said her group also strongly condemns the harassment, grave abuse of authority and unlawful search done by the SWAT.
She added the press corps supports the criminal and administrative charges to be filed by the management of Aksyon Radyo against the SWAT team.
“We suggest to ICPO director Ruperto Floro to again re-orient the members of SWAT on the proper training on raids or standard operating procedure (SOP) to avoid further harassment not only to media practitioner but also to civilians and ordinary citizens”, Pabiona said.
On Tuesday, the ICPO has inhibited themselves on the investigation to erase bad speculations and biases.
Chief Supt. Agrimeno Cruz, director of Police Regional Office (PRO-6), confirmed that they have taken over the investigation of the incident that started Wednesday.
Chief Supt. Manuel Felix, deputy regional director for administration, will lead the investigating team. (PNA)