Malaybalay police apologizes for info-drive error targeting journalists

Jul. 17, 2020

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, Philippines – The chief of the Malaybalay, Bukidnon Police apologized to local media for one of their Facebook advisory post that accused supporters of the beleaguered ABS-CBN network as terrorists.

The post made on the Malaybalay Police Station Facebook page last July 15, depicted persons holding placards supporting ABS-CBN, whose renewal of its franchise was denied by the House of Representatives’ legislative franchise committee last July 10.

Beside that photo was a text saying “Malalaman mong sila ay para sa TERORISMO. Papatulan lahat ng isyu, basta laban sa GOBYERNO”. (You know they are inciting terrorism since they jump on any issue against the government”.

The placards bore signatories of progressive groups supporting the network’s call for renewal such as Gabriela, Altermidya, Kilusang Mayo Uno, Bayan Muna, College Editors Guild of the Philippines, among others.

The post was removed on Friday, July 17 after local media and netizens called out the station and higher-ups in the Philippine National Police for implicating supporters and members of ABS-CBN as terrorists.

Malabalay Police Chief Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Tambis said in a phone interview that one of his officers was responsible for the post. He said there was no intent to malign ABS-CBN since the post was intended for “left-leaning” groups.

“One of my personnel did it and has already apologized for what happened. We made a mistake and we are sorry for it,” Tambis said.

Tambis added that the graphic was not an original post but was shared from another social media account and was edited by his staff.

He said the police regional office at Camp Alagar called him up and ordered him to remove the post shortly before noon on Friday.

Tambis also reported to the PNP National Office about the complaints from journalists.

The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) criticized the Malaybalay PNP for the said post, saying it “bolsters fears about how the Anti-Terror Law may be potentially abused.”

NUJP local officers in Cagayan de Oro and other provinces have been repeatedly red-tagged along with human rights defenders in anti-communist propaganda spread on Facebook, in posters and leaflets spread in Northern Mindanao.

The Republic Act 11479 or the Anti-Terrorism Law has taken effect beginning on Saturday, July 18, according to Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra.

“We demand that the government orders its security forces to respect freedom of the press and of expression,” the NUJP said. “We also demand that any and all such attacks on the media and on journalists be swiftly investigated and sanctions meted on those responsible.” (

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