Arbitrary arrest of Dipolog City radio broadcaster

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

His Excellency Benigno Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines
Office of the President
Malacañan Palace Compound
J.P. Laurel St., San Miguel, Manila

Excellency,

I am writing on behalf of Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE), a non-profit, non-governmental organization that works to promote and protect press freedom and freedom of expression around the world.

CJFE adds its voice to the Centre for Media Freedom and Responsibility (CMFR) and the undersigned signatories to express concern regarding the May 3 arrest and detention of Dipolog City broadcaster Rodolfo Tanquis by Police Director Supt. Reynaldo Maclang.

According to reports, Tanquis was delivering a broadcast in which he blamed Maclang for the large number of unresolved killings in the city when Maclang, accompanied by two of his men, forcibly entered the booth of dxFL FM 88.9. Maclang proceeded to lock the booth and clear himself of any responsibility on air. He then slammed his service pistol on the booth panel before forcing Tanquis to go with him and his men to a police station so he could file a libel complaint against him. No libel complaint had been filed against Tanquis at the time of his arrest and detention. Tanquis was released only in the afternoon of Saturday when a libel complaint was filed against him and he made bail.

These actions represent a clear violation of Tanquis’s rights as protected by the Philippine Constitution and indicate the dangers faced by journalists in the Philippine State. CJFE condemns Maclang’s actions and urges the Phillipine government to file the necessary charges against him and suspend him while the charges are pending resolution.

We thank you for your attention and I look forward to your reply.

Yours sincerely,
Arnold Amber, CJFE President

Cc: The Honourable Leila de Lima, The Secretary of the Department of Justice, Republic of the Philippines
The Honourable Manuel Roxas II, The Secretary of the Department of the Interior and Local Government, Republic of the Philippines
His Excellency Leslie B. Gatan, Ambassador of the Philippines to Canada
Mr. Christopher Thornley, Ambassador of Canada to the Philippines The Honourable John Baird, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs