Media group seeks probe on Malaybalay PNP’s socmed post branding ABS-CBN supporters as terrorists

CAGAYAN DE ORO (MindaNews / 18 July) – The city’s press club here has called on top officials of the Philippine National Police (PNP) to reprimand those responsible for posting a publicity material accusing supporters of ABS-CBN as terrorists.

Cagayan de Oro Press Club President Dr. Manuel Jaudian sent an e-mail to PNP Chief General Archie Francisco Gamboa and PNP Northern Mindanao Director General Rolando Anduyan to conduct an investigation on the publicity material published by its Malaybalay City police station.

“The recently released electronic poster reportedly from the Malaybalay City Police Station is not only irresponsible but legally flawed,” Jaudian said in a statement.

The 15-member Board of Directors of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club approved the demand letter in a meeting Friday afternoon.

The Malaybalay Police Station  shared in the Viber group of reporters covering PNP 10 and on its Facebook page an e-poster  alluding that those who support the cause of ABS-CBN and campaign for press freedom are terrorists.

The Malaybalay PNP post was issued Friday morning, hours before Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 took effect. The controversial law, according to the Justice Secretary, takes effect on July 18, the 15th day since the publication of the law in the Official Gazette.

The PNP 10 regional command took down the post Friday morning after it drew  flak from journalists who complained that the material was “insensitive” to the reporters, cameramen and employees of ABS-CBN who have just been given termination papers.

Police 10 spokesperson Lt. Col. Mardy Hortillosa issued an apology and pointed to a police corporal as the person who uploaded the controversial e-poster.

Hortillosa said they are also conducting an investigation of the PNP socmed unit why the material was published on Facebook and posted in the Viber Group.

“We extend our sincere apology to ABS-CBN about the said post. Malaybalay CPS is directed to explain regarding this matter,” Hortillosa said.

“This action of our personnel will be investigated and we will let them explain what’s the main message of the said post,” he added.

The e-poster shows a group of protesters purportedly from militant groups carrying placards bearing the initials of their organizations  below the messages of support for ABS-CBN: “No to ABS-CBN Shutdown,” “Save our ABS-CBN workers” and “Defend Press Freedom,” among others.  On the right side the text reads: “Malalaman mong sila ay para sa TERORISMO. Papatulan lahat ng isyu, Basta Laban sa Gobyernn” (You’d know they are for terrorism. They will carry all issues. Against Government).

The ABS-CBN issue is an issue carried by various sectors in Philippine society nationwide as the denial of its franchise bid is seen as a major blow to press freedom.

A Social Weather Stations survey conducted on June 3 to 6 showed three out of four Filipinos want Congress to grant ABS-CBN’s bid for franchise renewal. In Mindanao, the figure is higher, at 8 out of 10. The SWS survey results were released on July 11, a day after 70 members of the House of Representatives voted to deny ABS-CBN’s franchise renewal application.

Supporta sa Kapamilya, a group of 155 journalists and media workers in Mindanao rallying rallying behind ABS-CBN earlier lashed out at the PNP Malaybalay and regional office.

“We find it deplorable that the people who have sworn to serve and protect us are the ones breaking that very same oath,” the group said in a statement.

“Red-tagging does not serve and protect civilians but instead endangers them and their families,” it added. (Froilan Gallardo / MindaNews)