Bulacan cops did not seize copies of alternative magazine Pinoy Weekly, but they were voluntarily given to them by the leaders of the urban poor group Kadamay, a spokesman for the Philippine National Police Region III said today.
Brigadier General Rhodel Sermonia said in a statement that Kadamay leader Lea Maralit, along with other leaders of the organization, urged the police to go to the village of Siling Bata in Pandi town to confiscate copies of the magazine. Maralit was allegedly afraid that the magazines could be used against Kadamay, Sermonia said.
Sermonia claimed that Kadamay’s Bulacan chapter “has already pledged support to the government’s programs of ending the decades-long insurgency and roadmap of lasting peace in the country.”
Pinoy Weekly decried the alleged seizure of its magazines in its statement yesterday, saying that the copies were forcibly taken from Kadamay’s Pandi office. In a follow-up statement, the publication narrated how eight members of the Bulacan police allegedly arrived at the office at about 9:30pm to take the magazines sans a search warrant and threatened that “something might happen” if Kadamay’s officers refuse to give them up.
Pandi’s police chief Captain Jun Alejandrino allegedly led the seizure of the magazines, and said that the publication is “illegal” because it “teaches the people to fight the government.” Aside from taking copies of the magazine, Kadamay said that the police arrested one of its leaders, Rose Fortaleza.
“It is up to our readers if after reading our reports they exercise their constitutionally-guaranteed right to seek redress of grievances to the government. In any case, ‘teaching the people to fight the government’ in a lawful manner is still a constitutionally-guaranteed right,” Pinoy Weekly said.
Critics have said that the Duterte administration has increasingly suppressed press freedom in the country, citing Rappler and ABS-CBN as examples. Rappler is currently facing multiple cases in court, while Congress has refused to grant a new broadcasting franchise to ABS-CBN.
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