PSG ‘manhandles’ media, should learn from DU30

THE officers and members of the Manila Police District Press Corps (MPDPC) are up in arms over three or four abusive members of the Presidential Security Group (PSG) who virtually harassed and unduly manhandled reporters who were merely covering a rally near the Malacañang Palace yesterday.

The very amiable Mer Layson, president of the MPDPC, led the Manila-based reporters in condemning what befell his colleagues and expressed hope that something will be done about it, not only to give justice to those who were physically harmed and traumatized but moreso, to avoid a repeat of the same incident in the future.
   
Layson said tension arose between the media and the said PSG members during the rally of a group which came to Ma-lacañang to seek for the resumption of the cancelled peace talks.
   
I don’t give a hoot as to what these militant groups were there for. What concerns me is the manner by which, according to the accounts given by at least two reporters from two highly-reputable radio stations,  were shabbily treated and manhandled by the said PSG, despite wearing proper identification and all.
   
At least two -- Michael Goyagoy of DZXL and Dennis Datu of DZMM -- have come forward to complain.  Aya Yupangco was also there. Layson and the members of the MPDPC said all three are personally known to them, being legitimate media members of long standing.
   
The said reporters, Layson stressed, are in no way threats to security and thus he sees no reason why they were harassed by the said PSG members.
   
Dennis said they were quietly covering -- as their job calls for -- and taking video as the events unfold when a couple of PSG members told them to stop taking video. As if this were not enough, the said PSG members went on to attempt at confiscating the cellphones and IDs of the said reporters.
   
Goyagoy particularly complained that he was nearly strangled when a PSG member took him by the shoulder with unnecessary force -- kinalawit -- is the term for this. Datu, on the other hand, said he was already inside his marked vehicle when a PSG insisted on getting his cellphone and ID, which he initially declined. The same guy, whom he said was in civilian and even clad in shorts, also reportedly tried to forcibly open the door and blocked their path so that he was forced to turn over his cellphone, with a promise that it will be returned immediately after videos of the rally have been deleted.
   
Layson said the media were allowed by the PSG all the way to Solano Gate near Gate 2 which is why the sudden ‘harassment’ came as a shocker.  
   
The PSG, meantime, claimed the attention of ‘seven’ media members were called since they were ‘shouting’ in the course of their coverage.
   
PSG spokesperson Lt. Col. Michael Aquino claimed that the rallyists had an appointment with the Presidential Management Staff to deliver a letter to President Duterte asking for the continuation of the peace talks and that once at the compound, the media members allegedly began shouting. Notably, it was not even made clear though why and what they were shouting about.
   
I don’t see the point why the said media members had to be held, considering it was not even clear to the PSG what they were shouting about although, as Dennis said, this wasn’t true at all.  Why should they shout in the first place when they did not even do so amid the harassment and physical restraint they were subjected to?
   
Granting for the sake of argument the PSG was accurate, a simple hush sign would have been enough and using excessive force, like the near strangling and even going after the said media members’ IDs, cellphones and vehicles was just a bit too extreme. In other word, ‘OA.’
   
Aquino also reportedly told the three that they were not members of the Malacañang Press Corps and had no right being there. Huh!? What’s the point here? Does it legitimize what was done? He ought to know that reporters have their respective beats and events taking place in Manila are covered by those assigned to the MPD, not necessarily Malacañang reporters, who, on the other hand, cover the President. Magtanong din sana si Aquino ’pag me time.
   
I doubt very much if President Duterte would condone this kind of abuse specially against legitimate members of the media who are merely carrying out their job.  Duterte has established good relations with members of the mainstream media, even joking with them at times and it is along this line that the PSG should also base their treatment of the media.
             
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