Press Release
August 29, 2013


Senator Aquilino "Koko" Pimentel III, PDP Laban President, today decried the use of excessive force by members of the Iloilo City SWAT (Special Weapons and Tactics) team that raided DyOK Aksyon Radyo last Sunday as another threat against the working media in the country. Pimentel joined neophyte Sen. Grace Poe in seeking a Senate inquiry into the assault made by heavily-armed police officers who struck the radio station allegedly in pursuit of suspects involved in a fracas from a nearby leisure complex in Iloilo City.

The SWAT raiders, wielding high-powered weapons, were captured in CCTV (closed circuit television) cameras subjecting the radio station's personnel to indiscriminate body searches and ordering them to strip naked before moving them out of their office at gun point.

The station's security guard was also seen being kicked by police operatives, handcuffed and later dragged out of the building in what Pimentel described as "uncalled for and inhuman treatment" by the police who are supposed to serve and protect the people.

Media practitioners in the province and city of Iloilo have already urged authorities to conduct an in-depth investigation into what they described as a black day in the history of press freedom in that part of the country and a scene replayed out from the unforgettable brutalities of Martial Law.

Pimentel, chairman of the Senate Committee on Justice and Human Rights, said that the SWAT team is an elite security force tasked to handle tough threats as in a hostage crisis, but not in that instance when it was the media itself which sought police protection in the presence of suspected troublemakers only to end up as victims of police abuse, instead.

He said that it is important to revisit the protocols used in police operations in order to prevent the re-occurrence of similar incidents which put police authorities on the spot, instead of earning the plaudits of the public for a job well done in the name of police security and protection.

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