BAGUIO CITY – Mayor Mauricio Domogan has ordered an investigation Thursday (Feb. 24) on charges of a news photographer who filed a complaint for illegal arrest and detention, harassment, robbery and intimidation against two police auxiliary members.
During his weekly media “Ugnayan,” Domogan tasked Policarpio Cambod, executive 3 of the mayor’s office to make inquiries so he could act on the matter.
This, after Peter Oliva Valencia, 45, a news photographer of the weekly newspaper Northern Philippine Times (NPT) filed Thursday with the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) a complaint on the incident, which he said, demeaned and humiliated him personally and his status as a member of the media.
Identified as respondents in the complaint were police auxiliary members Honorato S. Gallegos Jr. and Julius Albano whom Valencia alleged, accosted him in front of Cuevas Bakery along 1st Kayang St. here about 3:30 PM on February 21.
The respondents were reportedly with around 10 members of the Anti-Peddling Task Force who were confiscating goods of vendors in the area when they handcuffed him.
Valencia said he was about to take a photograph of Gallegos as he was about to load a confiscated pot full of cooked food at the back of a police mobile car with a sticker printed with H7 on its side when Gallegos put the pot inside and tried to grab Valencia’s camera.
“I resisted and grappled for the camera and was able to put it in its case strapped to my waist,” Valencia said.
At this point, Albano demanded that Valencia show his press card to him.
Albano reportedly took shots of the press card including Valencia while Gallegos shouted, “Walang media media sa amin.”
Suddenly, Valencia said, Albano and Gallegos held and handcuffed him. This made his leather notebook which had a fastener fall to the ground. When the two later returned the notebook, Valencia said the P500 he was supposed to pay for his electricity bill was lacking.
Valencia reportedly asked John Delmas, head of the traffic management division, who was standing nearby why he was being handcuffed, but he did not act or say anything.
While people looked, the two respondents reportedly forcibly held Valencia and marched him to police Station 7, about 50 meters away.
“I was so humiliated while being forcibly taken to the police station in handcuffs like I was a criminal,” Valencia said.
At the police station, Gallegos reportedly forced Valencia inside a detention cell and locked him inside for at least two hours.
This, while about five unidentified police officers reportedly looked and did nothing.
Inside, Valencia texted Rudy Garcia, columnist of the said paper about his predicament. Garcia in turn texted Alfred Dizon, their publisher about the matter.
Dizon went to the police station and asked SPO1 Reynaldo Badua why Valencia could not be released.
Badua said he had to ask first his bosses who were having a meeting that time with City Police Chief Senior Supt. David Lacdan in improving police work.
Dizon then went to the office of City Prosecutor Gloria Agunos who phoned the police to release Valencia under the custody of Dizon.
Valencia was released later and accompanied by Dizon and Garcia the next day, filed the above cited complaints with the NBI.
He said, at press time, charges were not filed against him by the respondents for taking photographs or any purported violation.
He said vendors and onlookers who saw the incident were willing to testify against the respondents.
He added that the respondents could have had an axe to grind against him for some articles printed by the NPT on abuses of members of the market task force. # nordis.net