Southern Metro police chief snatches GMA reporter’s phone, deletes video of Traslacion commotion

Rambo Talabong
Brigadier General Nolasco Bathan, the chief of the Southern Police District, didn't like it that broadcast journalist Jun Veneracion captured on video how cops dragged a devotee to the ground

FOR CENSOR? Brigadier General Nolasco Bathan snatches GMA reporter Jun Veneracion's phone as he was recording this scene of a group of policemen dragging a devotee to the ground. Screenshot from Veneracion's video

MANILA, Philippines – A Philippine National Police (PNP) general snatched the cellphone of GMA reporter Jun Veneracion as he was recording a tussle between cops and a devotee of the Black Nazarene during Traslacion on Thursday, January 9.

“While taking footage on my phone of a commotion between cops and a hapless Black Nazarene devotee on Ayala Bridge in Manila, a police general suddenly darted out of nowhere and snatched my mobile unit. He quickly moved away from the scene,” Veneracion said in a Facebook status posted an hour after the Traslacion ended in the evening.

In his video, Veneracion recorded a handful of cops surrounding and dragging a devotee to the ground. One of them was shown pushing the devotee and another one held the devotee in a chokehold and shoved him to the ground. That was when the video turned black – the reporter’s phone had been snatched.

As Veneracion was seeking to take his phone back, he said he was “accosted” by another policeman and prevented from approaching the official who got his phone. He, however, remembered that the policeman who snatched his phone had stars on his shoulders – an indication that he was a police general.

A few minutes later, he found the general again and confirmed his identity: Brigadier General Nolasco Bathan, the chief of the Southern Police District.

When Veneracion approached, Bathan allegedly threw a fit and threatened to confiscate his hand-held radio for audio broadcasts. Veneracion returned to a more welcoming Bathan minutes later, supposedly saying, “I’m sorry, Jun, I didn’t recognize you.”

Veneracion is one of GMA’s veteran reporters, notable for his work in the West Philippine Sea. He is also a co-host of GMA’s news magazine show Reporter’s Notebook.

When Veneracion checked his phone for the video of the tussle, it couldn’t be found. Bathan denied deleting the video, but Veneracion was able to find it in his phone’s “recently deleted” folder.

He posted the video with his status, and at the end of the recording a voice could be heard saying “Burahin mo, burahin mo. Kuha ni Jun Veneracion. P*tangina nagku-kwan eh (Delete it, delete it! It’s Jun Veneracion’s video. Son of a bitch, he’s meddling.)

Rappler sought the comment of Bathan and PNP spokesman Brigadier General Bernard Banac. Neither of them has replied as of posting. –

Related videos on police clashing with Nazareno devotees

Plaza Miranda

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.