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Police chief may face rap for DZRH reporter’s arrest

By Paulo DS. Papa

BICOL Press Club volunteer lawyer Atty. Michael Marpuri has recently confirmed that DZRH correspondent and Radyo Natin Iriga radio reporter Jose Rizal Pajares may file administrative and criminal charges against former Iriga police chief PLTCOL Ralph Jason Oida.

Pajares, 55, was arrested inside the Iriga City Police Station in the morning of Aug. 2, Wednesday for trying to scan the police blotter placed on the police desk.

Oida, ordered his men to arrest Pajares and put behind bars for his conduct without an arrest warrant and for having violated RA 10173 or the Data Privacy Act of 2012.

On the other hand, Oida, before the incident, ordered his men to require the member of the press to ask for his permission first before taking or seeing police reports.

Pajares said the sequence of events can be considered cruel for a journalist who has been taking reports from the blotter for years.

He said that after Pajares’ arrest, the police authorities brought him to the city health office handcuffed. He was incarcerated in three days without the provision of appropriate meals, not even allowed to take a bath or even was his face.

“I had sleepless nights during my stay inside the prison cell. I cannot even eat well. I cannot even poop while I was in the detention cell,” a teary eyed Pajares said in an interview.

He added that while behind bars, he heard a police officer warning a visiting friend who is also from the media, “Dae na kamo magdagos ta baad makadamay lang kamo”.

Pajares was able to post a bail of P10,000, an amount that his family earned from the contributions of his friends in the media.

In a press conference, Marpuri told newsmen that Pajares may file an administrative and criminal charges if the situation warrants.

He, however, said that the court will determine if such charges are admissible.

“If he feels na igwa po nin liabilities su police na naggibo kaiyan saiya, he can always press for charges. Administrative and even criminal if he feels. The prosecution and the courts will determine if it is reasonable to file such cases,” he said.

Marpuri bared that the reporter’s children were not able to attend school due to the trauma caused by the incident.

Upon learning about the incident on the same day, the police provincial office relieved Oida from his post.

As of this writing, Pajares faces the case of violation of the said law. Section 4 of the Data Privacy Act provides that the law does not apply to media practitioners.


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