Cebu cop who threatened journalist faces transfer to Cordillera region

CEBU CITY, Philippines – A Lapu-Lapu City police officer could be transferred to another region after allegedly threatening a reporter while on coverage, the region's police chief said on Thursday, September 8.

Police Regional Office-7 Chief Superintendent Noli Taliño told reporters on Thursday that the case involving Police Officer 2 Esnang Sarapuddin and DYSS Super Radio reporter Norman Mendoza is under investigation.

Taliño said that Sarapuddin could be transferred to the Cordillera region if found that he indeed threatened Mendoza during the coverage of a demolition operation under the Mandaue-Mactan Bridge on Tuesday, September 6.

Sarapuddin allegedly confronted Mendoza for taking videos of him, which the latter denied.

The Freeman earlier reported that according to Mendoza, he even offered that the police officer browse his camera's gallery to prove that he wasn't taking videos. And if he were, it was part of his job as a reporter.

Mendoza is also a Cebu Daily News correspondent covering crime in Lapu-Lapu City and Mandaue City.

On Thursday, Taliño told reporters that the police will look into all the "circumstances" surrounding the complaint.

"I will instruct the city director of Lapu-Lapu to conduct an investigation. Alamin natin lahat ng circumstances ng complaint (Let's determine all of the circumstances of the complaint)."

Mendoza said he would be willing to settle with Sarapuddin if the cop would be transferred outside of Cebu. 

Confrontation

Mendoza and Sarapuddin had an earlier encounter prior to the Tuesday face-off.

In May this year, Mendoza covered a story involving a British national who allegedly assaulted a Singaporean in Lapu-Lapu City. He said in his report that Sarapuddin responded to the incident, but didn't arrest the British citizen.

According to a report in Sun.Star Cebu, Sarapuddin found Mendoza's coverage of the story unfair. Mendoza then told Sarapuddin that he should file a case if he found the report libelous.

Sarapuddin then allegedly responded, "Ang Muslim, dili na mo file og kaso. Modiretso ra (Muslims don't file cases. They directly take things into their own hands)."

Later on, he reportedly added, "If dautan pa ko nga Muslim. Gipapatay na tika (If I were a bad Muslim, I'd already have you killed)."

The confrontation ended when other police officers pulled Sarapuddin away from Mendoza.

Days later, at the demolition coverage, Sarapuddin confronted Mendoza and asked him, "Wala lagi ko ninyo gipalabay sa Jolo (Why didn't you have me moved to Jolo)?"

This is in reference to the repeated warnings of President Rodrigo Duterte as well as the Philippine National Police leadership that erring police officers would be posted in conflict areas like Jolo and Basilan. 

Sarapuddin told The Freeman that his comment about transferring to Jolo was just a joke.

He also said that Mendoza did not have any proper media credentials when he covered the story about the British national in May. – Rappler.com

Ryan Macasero

Ryan covers Cebu and the Visayas for Rappler. He covers all news in the region, but is particularly interested in people stories, development issues and local policy making.

image