MANILA, Philippines – The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) issued a statement on Thursday, December 13, “deploring” the assault of Getty-Images photographer, Al Bello and asking Manny Pacquiao to “take action” against his aides.
Manny Pacquiao’s trainer, Buboy Fernandez, and his adviser, Michael Koncz, were allegedly incensed by Bello’s attempts to take photos of Pacquiao knocked out on the canvas, in his fight against Juan Manuel Marquez.
Photos from Yahoo! Sports show Koncz grabbing Bello by the shirt and Fernandez going after him at ringside, even after Bello had left the area.
Bello said the pair punched and kicked Bello.
In their statement, the NUJP said Bello was just doing his job.
“It is clear that Bello was merely performing his obligations as a photojournalist and, besides, had every right to take pictures of the fallen Pacquiao,” said the statement.
“Koncz and Fernandez had absolutely no reason to attack him and their doing so was actually in the nature of a criminal act, just as Pacquiao’s trainer Freddie Roach had no right to order Bello to stop taking photos, although Roach later apologized for doing so, according to the photographer,” it added.
The statement labeled the assault on the photographer as inexcusable, “no matter how distraught they were by his loss.” It also thanked the Nevada Athletic Commission for promising to investigate the case.
NUJP also asked Pacquiao to deal with his aides’ behavior, citing how the incident “tarnishes” his good image. – Rappler.com