9 March 2011


Drug enforcement officer threatens television news team

Incident details

Harassment, Threat

Jay Dayupay, Journalist
Randy Estrella, Camera operator
(CMFR/IFEX) - An agent of the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) angered by media criticism of the agency allegedly threatened a television news team which was covering the arrest of a drug trafficking suspect on 1 March 2011 in General Santos City. General Santos City is a chartered city approximately 1,049 kilometers south of Manila.

The incident happened while the news team of the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Company was at the PDEA Region XII office in General Santos City to conduct interviews on the joint raid carried out by the PDEA and the Sarangani provincial police in Maitum town, Sarangani.

Reporter Jay Dayupay said Special Investigator 2 Raymund Parama tried to stop cameraman Randy Estrella from taking footage of the alleged suspect arrested in the raid. Parama allegedly told the cameraman in Filipino, "If that ever gets aired, you better watch out."

Dayupay asked the PDEA agent why he was being hostile. The PDEA agent allegedly answered: "You have been criticizing us (PDEA) about the arrest (of alleged drug traffickers) in Silway, General Santos City."

Dayupay told CMFR on 7 March that the PDEA agent was allegedly irked over an ABS-CBN report on the complaints of the residents of Silway, General Santos City on another PDEA raid. The residents alleged that the PDEA agents did not coordinate with village officials, were intoxicated during the raid, and were indiscriminate in arresting people.

PDEA Region XII spokesperson Wilson Esparcia told the ABS-CBN news team that the PDEA agents were demoralized by the network's story on the Silway residents' complaints, Dayupay said.

Dayupay and Estrella have reported the incident to the General Santos City police's Investigation, Detection, and Management Section (IDMS).

Dayupay said the local chapter of the Association of Broadcasters of the Philippines (KBP) and PDEA officials were scheduled to meet on 7 March to discuss the incident and other instances of alleged PDEA harassment against media practitioners in the Sarangani and General Santos area.


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