Town police chief who threatened reporter relieved

A police chief of a town in Southern Luzon was relieved from his post after he allegedly harassed a Manila-based radio reporter last week.

The Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) said Chief Inspector Telesforo Domingo was relieved while an investigation on the incident is ongoing.

Domingo, who heads the police in Pola town in Mindoro Oriental, allegedly harassed dzMM radio reporter and Philippine National Police press corps president Noel Alamar last May 20. [See: Oriental Mindoro cops 'harass' Manila-based radio reporter]

Cops led by Chief Insp. Telesforo Domingo (right) harass and threaten dzMM reporter Noel Alamar (left) in Pola, Oriental Mindoro on May 20. — File photo, GMANews.TV
Alamar reported that Domingo and his men threatened to arrest and shoot him.

Domingo allegedly snatched Alamar’s company-issued camera and ordered his arrest for “obstruction of justice" after the reporter took footage of the policemen in civilian clothes carrying high-powered firearms around 9:30 p.m. Thursday last week in front of the house of mayor-elect Leandro “Dodjie" Panganiban Jr.

"Policemen are prohibited from bringing firearms while not in uniform under the election gun ban, which is effective until June 9, 2010," CMFR noted.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) reported that Alamar and his wife were in Pola to observe the death anniversary of Alamar’s mother.

During his stay at Pola, Alamar said he received complaints about Domingo’s alleged partisan activities during the May 10 polls.

Alamar informed Mindoro-Marinduque-Romblon-Palawan (Mimaropa, or Region IV-B) Regional director Chief Superintendent Paul MascariƱas and Oriental Mindoro Provincial chief Senior Superintendent Sonny Ricablanca of the alleged partisan activities of the Pola town police.

He said he also planned to interview Domingo for his side.

But Domingo had told GMANews.TV that the incident was only due to "lack of coordination" between Alamar and the police.

Domingo said he and his companions were in civilian clothes because they were in a hurry to serve warrants of arrest to the wife of the mayor-elect who was facing several criminal charges.

“We had to act immediately. Gabi kasi noon, mga 8:35 p.m. Isa pa, uncomfortable naman to be in uniform 24 hours (It was already evening. Besides, it was uncomfortable to be in uniform for 24 hours)," he told GMANews.TV.

The incident ended only after the Provincial Mobile Group and the incumbent mayor came, Alamar said.

Alamar retrieved his camera from the Pola police station last May 21.

He told CMFR that Domingo had talked to him and apologized for the incident.

Alamar said Ricablanca has ordered a thorough investigation and that an investigator has talked to him about the incident.

He will wait for the results of the police investigation before filing any complaint, Alamar said.

"Journalists and media practitioners have been under attack before and during the election period. On 9 May 2010, some Camiguin-based reporters were harassed and threatened by the provincial governor after they allegedly caught him and his men engaging in vote-buying.
On November 29 last year, 32 journalists and media workers were killed while accompanying a group of people on their way to the provincial office of the Commission on Elections to file the certificate of candidacy of a candidate for governor of the southern Mindanao province of Maguindanao," CMFR said.

Source: GmaNews


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