Despite an existing no arrest order by the Philippine National Police (PNP), police arrested a radio reporter on Friday, April 16, according to a statement of the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) on April 19.
Lorenz Tanjoco, a radio reporter of Radyo Pilipinas under PTV 4, was arrested by police from the Police Community Precinct station 10 under the Manila Police District (MPD) after he failed to wear his mask properly while riding his motorcycle in Pandacan, Manila on April 16.
Upon his apprehension, Tanjoco explained to police officers that his face mask was being blown away by the wind so he decided to remove it for a while. The officers did not accept his explanation and a commotion started afterwards.
The officers also asked for Tanjoco’s quarantine pass but he instead presented his media identification card. Media workers are considered as essential workers under the community quarantine rules.
However, the police officers did not accept his ID and decided to bring him to the police station. Tanjoco started to document his arrest using his mobile phone but the officers confiscated it and said he would face a resisting arrest complaint.
He was cuffed and detained for almost 10 hours inside the community precinct before being released.
In a message to Rappler, Police Lieutenant Colonel Adonis Aguila of the MPD said the issue had already been settled as Tanjoco was released and had his phone returned.
Aguila added MPD director Police Brigadier General Leo Francisco also ordered an investigation into the incident.
The MPD on April 19 relieved the precinct commander and 4 other policemen under MPD Station 10 of their duties.
On April 12, PNP said they would stop arresting quarantine violators in areas under modified enhanced community quarantine. This came after the recent deaths of two men who were punished by law enforcers for violating enhanced community quarantine rules in Cavite and Laguna.
Then-PNP spokesperson Police Brigadier General Ildebrandi Usana said violators would instead receive warnings or tickets. In the event that village guards (barangay tanod) arrest violators and transfer them to the police, cops must immediately release them. – Rappler.com