A broadcaster who works for a government-owned radio station was arrested on Friday in Manila because he temporarily removed his facemask while driving, the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) said today.
Lorenz Tanjoco, who works for PTV 4’s Radyo Pilipinas, was out driving his motorbike when he had to stop at a checkpoint in Pandacan. Cops asked why he wasn’t wearing a face mask, and the journalist explained that he had to remove it for a while because it was being blown away by the wind. Instead of accepting his explanation, the cops allegedly yelled at Tanjoco.
Manila police should be held liable for arresting PTV reporter pic.twitter.com/y987W1zRNh
— NUJP (@nujp) April 19, 2021
“The officers also asked for Tanjoco’s quarantine pass but he instead presented his media identification card. The officers did not accept his ID and decided to bring him to the police station,” NUJP said in its statement.
“Tanjoco started to film his arrest but the officers confiscated his phone and said that he will face a resisting arrest complaint. He was also cuffed and detained for almost 10 hours,” the organization added.
Journalists are considered essential workers in Metro Manila’s quarantine. They don’t need to have quarantine passes, unlike other residents.
NUJP reminded the Philippine National Police that its own chief, General Debold Sinas, had already said that no one will be arrested if he violates quarantine rules. A few weeks ago a man from Cavite died after he was forced to do squats when he was caught violating the province’s curfew.
The Manila Police District has already ordered an investigation into the radio host’s arrest, Rappler reported.