Filtered By: Topstories

Journalist allegedly hurt by Manibela members during protest

Some members of transport group Manibela allegedly hit a journalist during his live report on the group’s protest along East Avenue in Diliman, Quezon City on Monday.

Manibela started its three-day protest to call on the government to grant unconsolidated jeepney drivers and operators one more year of provisional authority.

According to Allan Gatus’ report in Super Radyo dzBB, the protest caused the road to be crowded and almost impassable to motorists.

DZRH journalist Val Gonzales was reporting that Manibela occupied the road as the protest was ongoing for about 30 minutes when members of the transport group allegedly surrounded him and punched him twice in his waist.

Gonzales coordinated with the Quezon City Police District for the filing of complaint against the Manibela members.

In a statement posted on their Facebook page, Manibela chairperson Mar Valbuena denied Gonzales' claim, saying it was the journalist who provoked their members when he cursed them.

"Si Gonzales ang naunang nag-provoke sa aming hanay matapos niyang pagsalitaan at murahin ang mga miyembro ng MANIBELA na dapat umano'y ipakulong ang aming hanay dahil sa abala bago siya umere sa kanilang programa sa DZRH," he said.

(It was Gonzales who provoked our members when he said invectives and told us that we should be jailed for causing inconvenience before he aired his report.)

“Ang nakita lamang sa kaniyang video report ay ang paligiran diumano siya ng aming mga miyembro, ngunit hindi niya nilantad ang kaniyang mga malisyosong pahayag bago siya umere,” he added.

(What was shown in his video report was when our members approached him, but he did not report his malicious statement before he went on air.)

Valbuena said they respect journalists and hope that the latter will do the same and not shout invectives at them. He apologized for the incident.

In a separate statement, the Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) denounced the physical attack against Gonzales.

PTFoMS Undersecretary Paul Gutierrez said the physical abuse committed against Gonzales “cannot earn any public support from the transport group or the issue they are trying to promote.”

Gutierrez said he coordinated with Quezon City District chief Police Brigadier General Redrico Maranan to summon Valbuena.

He added that Gonzales also experienced verbal abuse by members of Manibela.

“Bukod sa pananakit kay Val Gonzales, hayagan ding inakusahan ng mga kasapi ng MANIBELA ang mga nag-cover na media nang pagiging ‘bayaran’ at umano’y pagiging ‘biased’ laban sa kanilang grupo,” Gutierrez said.

(Aside from the physical attack inflicted on Val Gonzales, Manibela also openly accused the media of being “paid” and allegedly “being biased” against the group.)

Several media groups also condemned the incident and expressed support for Gonzales.

Meanwhile, in a media briefing, Philippine National Police spokesperson Police Colonel Jean Fajardo said the agency will help Gonzales should he wish to file a complaint.

Fajardo also stressed that members of the media who are covering events are only doing their job.

“Hindi po ito katanggap-tanggap, ‘yung pananakit po. Maging ikaw man ay mamamahayag, sibilyan, o kapulisan dahil the reason why tayong mga pulis ay nag bibigay din ng security coverage doon sa kanila ay para din po sa kanilang proteksyon,” she said.

(This is unacceptable, harming someone. Even if you are a member of the media, a civilian, or the police, the reason for police presence is to provide them security coverage, for their own protection. —Mariel Celine Serquiña with Joahna Lei Casilao/AOL/RF, GMA Integrated News