Striking Manibela members assault radio reporter; media groups condemn attack

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The Philippine National Police (PNP) is now coordinating with radio reporter Val Gonzales for the possible filing of charges against some members of transport group Manibela who allegedly assaulted him while covering the transport strike in Quezon City.

PNP spokesperson Col. Jean Fajardo said that they would provide assistance to Gonzales should he intend to file criminal charges against those involved in the incident which happened in front of the Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board (LTFRB) office on East Avenue in Quezon City on Monday, June 10. 

“If he has intention to file a case, we will assist him. This incident is unacceptable because journalists were there to cover and report (the protest action,” said Fajardo in a press briefing at Camp Crame.

Around nine members of Manibela allegedly attacked Gonzales when he was reporting about the effects of the protest action on the traffic flow along East Avenue.

The report appeared to have offended some Manibela members who allegedly rushed to hurt him.

But for Fajardo, subjecting journalists to a physical attack is unacceptable. 

Fajardo’s statement was backed by several media groups who immediately condemned the incident.

In a statement, the PNP Press Corps condemned the attack on Gonzales and stressed that it was a brazen attempt to curtail the freedom of the press.

The PNP Press Corps also urged authorities to take legal action against those responsible and called on the Manibela leadership to hold their members accountable.

The group said it would support Gonzales if he would file the necessary charges against those responsible.

In a separate statement, the Defense Press Corps of the Philippines also condemned the incident and called on the organizers and leaders of the protesters to restrain their members and respect the freedom and rights of the free press.

“The emotions and perceptions stemming from a written or broadcast report can never be a justification to subject a journalist to physical harm… In the same way the press is instrumental in extending the voice of sectors seeking redress for grievances against the government, so too should these sectors value, respect and safeguard the safety of journalists,” the statement read.

The Presidential Task Force on Media Security and other press groups have also issued statements condemning the attack on Gonzales.