DAVAO CITY, Philippines — The counsel of Davao-based columnist Margarita Valle is mulling to file charges against the Philippine National Police-Criminal Investigation and Detection Group (PNP-CIDG) despite police’s apology over her arrest which it claimed was a mistaken identity.
On Wednesday, the camp of Valle has called press briefing in Quezon City. Valle was joined by the National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP), National Union of Peoples’ Lawyers (NUPL), and Let’s Organize for Democracy and Integrity (LODI).
Valle’s legal counsel, lawyer Kathy Panguban from the NUPL said that the police has violated the rights of Valle for she was “arbitrarily detained and deprived of her liberty for 12 hours without any lawful cause.”
“We are looking at the possibility of filing criminal and administrative charges against the members of the PNP-CIDG who effected her arrest and violated her human rights,” Panguban said.
They insisted on holding accountable all the men in uniform involved in the arrest.
The CIDG Region 9 on Wednesday has issued an apology to Valle and said it was identifying lapses of its personnel.
The 61-year-old journalist recalled the ordeal when she was arrested from the Laguindingan Airport in Misamis Oriental around 10:30 am on June 9.
Valle said that about seven civilian-clothed men informed her of the arrest, but refused on letting her scrutinize the arrest warrants.
Police did not inform her also where they planned to take her, while being transported from the airport. Valle added that she could not inform her family of her whereabouts because the police took her phones.
She recalled she was brought to a police station in Iligan City where they took her mugshots and fingerprints.
Valle added that she’s been telling the police to call her journalist friends or to “google” her name in the internet to verify her identity as a media practitioner, but still they refused to let her go.
It was already evening when Valle was only able to call her family again to inform them that she brought to the CIDG office in Pagadian City.
“From the start, I asserted my rights. I showed them my IDs and all. I’ve been telling them that I’m not that criminal whom I don’t even know…I believe I’m really the one they wanted to take away.” Valle said.
The NUJP, in their statement, emphasized that what the police did to Valle was a “criminal abduction”.
Meanwhile, Inday Espina-Varona, LODI convenor said there were other cases of reported harassment against journalists in Mindanao, especially in the context of Martial Law, and the number continue to increase.
“The story of Ms. Valle is exactly what happens to people when due process is violated, when legal processes are short-circuited,” Varona said. (davaotoday.com)