The Malacañang Palace has ordered the Philippine National Police to investigate the suspicious operation of a Special Weapons and Tactics team after it barged inside an Aksyon Radyo station in Iloilo on Sunday before dawn.
Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said that the Palace will not let the incident pass because the SWAT team clearly violated the guaranteed rights of the media under the constitution.
The Palace asked for a complete report of the incident wherein members of the SWAT team kicked and manhandled a security guard and asked employees of the station to take off their clothes, including a woman inside the station which was caught by a CCTV footage.
Media organizations Iloilo Press Club and National Union of Journalists of the Philippines condemned the assault calling it “excessive use of force and unreasonable assault.”
They said that seven members of the SWAT team stormed inside the radio station past 2 a.m. on Sunday “trained their guns on the wrong persons, particular the technician, reporter, newsroom reporters and security guard of Aksyon Radyo.”
“The station personnel were subjected to body search, ordered to strip off their clothes, and later made to crawl out of the building at gunpoint,” they said, while the “security guard of another tenant in the building was also made to crawl and kicked in the head.”
Both organizations lashed back at the policemen who forcefully entered the Aksyon Radyo premises.
The CCTV footage shows – prior the incident – several youth seeking for asylum but left immediately. Later, the SWAT team arrived.
“We find such show of force uncalled for and completely unnecessary since the (station) personnel already submitted themselves voluntarily to the raiding team,” the media organizations said. “They are not even suspects in a crime as the police would like to portray.”
The SWAT team members that are in hot water are PO1 Michael Binobo, PO1 Christopher Castañeda, PO1 Rene Diane, PO1 Melvin Deypalubs, PO1 Ravelo Acosta, PO1 Johven Mark Causing, PO1 Amable Asturias, and an Inspector Domingo that led the group.