As the country celebrates International Human Rights Day, a Filipina journalist was arrested by authorities at her house in Mandaluyong City Thursday morning, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said.
According to the NUJP, colleagues of Lady Ann Salem discovered that there was a “raid” at her house at 9 a.m.
She was later found at a facility of the Criminal Investigation and Detection Group of the Philippine National Police (PNP).
[Repost from IAWRT Philippines]— NUJP (@nujp) December 10, 2020
URGENT ALERT: Filipino journalist Lady Ann Salem was arrested in her house this morning, International Human Rights Day. pic.twitter.com/C2nLoE7SkY
Salem is the editor of Manila Today and the communications officer of the International Association of Women in Radio and Television (IAWRT).
The IAWRT also shared a photo of Salem’s photo inside a white unmarked vehicle. It said that the picture was taken by a relative who searched for Salem.
GMA News Online has reached out to the PNP for comment.
The NUJP condemned the arrest of Salem and demanded her immediate release.
“We are further outraged that authorities chose to seize Icy, as she is known to kin and colleagues, on International Human Rights Day,” it said in a separate tweet.
“The arrest violates a long-standing agreement between the Philippine National Police and media organizations on the arrest of journalists,” it later added.
The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemns the arrest of our colleague, Manila Today editor Lady Ann Salem, and demands her immediate release.— NUJP (@nujp) December 10, 2020
The group said the arrest is proof that the Duterte administration is “bent on silencing the independent and critical Philippine media” in order to manipulate the flow of information.
“We call on the community of independent Filipino journalists to close ranks and demand a stop to the repression of media. We will hold accountable anyone who subjects Icy to any abuse and violation of her rights,” it said.
Salem arrested with six others
According to the CIDG, Salem was arrested with six other individuals in police operations simultaneously carried out against "loose firearms and criminal gangs."
Aside from Salem, Mark Ryan Cruz, Romina Raiselle Astudillo, Jaymie Gregorio, Dennise Velasco, Joel Demate, and Rodrigo Esparago were also taken into police custody in separate raids.
Authorities said they confiscated four caliber .45 pistols, four grenades, four caliber .45 magazines, and 29 rounds of caliber .45 ammunition, among other items from the residence of Salem and Esparago.
Meanwhile, several ammunitions and firearms were said to have been seized from the residences of the other arrested individuals.
The CIDG said the search warrant was issued by Executive Judge Cecilyn Burgos-Villavert of Quezon City Regional Trial Court Branch 89.
The National Union of Peoples' Lawyers (NUPL) earlier called on the Supreme Court to review the "seemingly irregular" issuance by Burgos-Villavert of warrants, leading to simultaneous police raids in Bacolod City that resulted in the arrest of dozens of activists.—Joahna Lei Casilao/LDF, GMA News