Media cries foul over attempted illegal arrest during dispersal of barricade in Kidapawan

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Photo from Manny Pinol fb page
Photo from Manny Pinol fb page

BY ZEA IO MING C. CAPISTRANO, Davao Today

DAVAO CITY, 2April2016 – A local media correspondent covering the violent dispersal of the farmers’ barricade in Kidapawan City, North Cotabato province was briefly arrested by the police Friday noon, April 1.

Danilda Fusilero, a correspondent of online news outfit, Davao Today, was handcuffed by two policemen around 11:00 am outside the United Methodist Church in Kidapawan.

Fusilero has been covering the barricade since Wednesday, March 30.

“I was looking for a colleague, Davao Today reporter, Earl Condeza, while the commotion was going on,” said Fusilero.

But she said she decided not to go inside the church compound where she believed Condeza went with the farmers as “the situation was really intense.”

“Police officers were arresting protesters all around,” Fusilero said in a phone interview.

Fusilero stayed at a café outside the church where she found an acquaintance, former vice governor of North Cotabato, Jose “Bing” Tuburan.

She said, before they arrived, Tuburan was sitting with a man, believed to be one of the protesting farmers, who was among those hit during the dispersal.

“He was surprised when the man suddenly fell down and he was among those who assisted the medics,” she said.

She said Tuburan asked her if she will interview police officers.

“I told him, maybe not now since the situation is still intense. I told him I just wanted to check if my colleague is safe,” she said.

Tuburan then asked her to bring the belongings owned by the victim of the shooting, which include a sling bag, slippers and sunglasses.

She then told Tuburan that she will bring the belongings to Charm Radio “through Abner Francisco”.

“They can help locate the owner of that bag,” she said.

On her way out of the café, Fusilero said policemen ran towards them and handcuffed her and her husband, Rolando Fusilero.

“I asked them ‘what is this for?’ and showed them my press id. But the police told us that we are one of the protesters,” she said.

Tuburan then scolded the police officers and after which, removed the handcuffs from Fusilero and her husband.

The police invited them to the station to settle the incident and asked for apologies.

“Pataka na lang silag paganakop (They are arresting people arbitrarily),” Fusilero lamented.

Fusilero said that they also saw around 10-15 farmers being held at the city gymnasium for investigation.

“Police said they are arresting people only for investigation purposes,” she said.

Fusilero worked for the now-defunct Media Mindanao News Service during the 1990s. (davaotoday.com)

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