MANILA - A high-ranking police official who snatched the mobile phone of a GMA News reporter covering the Black Nazarene Traslacion has apologized for his actions on Friday, justifying his act as a means to maintain peace and order.
"I would like to apologize for what happened at Ayala Bridge during the procession of the Black Nazarene 2020 wherein I confiscated the cellular phone of a media personality who was later on identified as Mr. Jun Veneracion of GMA 7 thinking that he was someone who possess threat during the procession," Southern Police District chief Brig. Gen. Nolasco Bathan said.
On Thursday, Veneracion said in a social media post that Bathan snatched his phone and deleted the video of a scuffle between lawmen and devotees. Veneracion restored the video and posted it raw on Facebook.
"I checked the photo gallery and found that the video of the tense encounter between the cops and the devotee had been deleted. '“Bakit nabura ang video ko, sir,”' I asked Gen. Bathan. “Wala akong binura dyan, saksi ko pa ang Itim na Nazareno,” said Veneracion in his post that has been shared over 8,000 times as of posting.
Bathan justified his act, saying he did it to maintain security.
"Dumarating isang pulis may bitbit na sinasabing agitator, here comes another guy bigla kaming hinawi from nowhere nagse-cellphone. At that moment, I do not know that he is Mr. Jun Veneracion, ang alam ko he possess threat sa activity," he said.
The police chief however denied knowledge of deleting the video from Veneracion's phone.
"Wala akong alam kung meron mang na-delete. Hindi ko na alam 'yun," he said.
He added that what happened between him and Veneracion was a misunderstanding.
"I again sincerely apologize for my actions. It happened unintentionally, we were just securing peace and order in the area," he said.
Bathan made the apology during the press conference of the National Capital Region Police Office led by its head, Debold Sinas.
Sinas said that even if Veneracion accepted the apology they will still have the case investigated by the Philippine National Police Internal Affairs Service.
"Tingnan natin kung ano recommendations later on," Sinas said.
With a report from Zhander Cayabyab, ABS-CBN News