MANILA, Philippines – The police general who arbitrarily snatched the cell phone of a journalist at the height of the Black Nazarene procession last January has been promoted to a higher position.
On Friday, February 7, the Philippine National Police Public Information Office announced the designation of Brigadier General Nolasco Bathan as the new deputy regional director for operation of the National Capital Region Police Office (NCRPO).
Prior to assuming the post of Metro Manila’s third highest police officer, Bathan was director of the Southern Police District.
Bathan snatched the cellphone of GMA reporter Jun Veneracion as he was recording a tussle between police and a devotee of the Black Nazarene during Traslacion on January 9.
Bathan even feigned not knowing that the cell phone he grabbed belonged to Veneracion when the journalist asked that the cop give it back. (READ: Nolasco Bathan: The general who snatched a journalist’s phone)
Aside from snatching Veneracion’s phone, Bathan ordered that the video on the phone be deleted. Veneracion was documenting police beating up a Black Nazarene devotee when Bathan grabbed his phone.
Bathan tried to deny this, but when the deleted video was retrieved, a voice at the end of the recording 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.)”
Bathan apologized to Veneracion the following day.
“I would like to apologize for what happened at Ayala Bridge, where I confiscated the cellular phone of media Jun Veneracion,” he said
He said he took Veneracion’s phone “thinking he (Veneracion) was someone who possessed threat during the procession.”
Bathan received intense flak after that incident. Among those who criticized Bathan’s behavior was Interior Secretary Eduardo Año, who said, “That shouldn’t be done by a police officer.”
Año said he would see to it that the proper sanctions would be imposed on the police general. (READ: PNP Press Corps: General Bathan violated police code)
This year’s Traslacion of the Black Nazarene was marked by overly high police presence.
Prior to the procession, NCRPO chief Brigadier General Debold Sinas said that, aside from maintaining peace and order, the police planned to speed up the exceedingly slow pace of the Traslacion. – Rappler.com
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