PNP gives general who snatched reporter's phone slap on the wrist

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine National Police (PNP) has closed its investigation on the police general who snatched a journalist's phone during the Traslacion in January, Metro Manila police chief Major General Debold Sinas announced in a press briefing on Monday, February 10.

In the end, former Metro Manila Southern Police District (SPD) chief Brigadier General Nolasco Bathan got a mere slap on the wrist despite wide condemnation, even the reprimand of Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Eduardo Año.

Why is it closed? According to Sinas, the Regional Internal Affairs Service opted not to file a case against Bathan because the reporter from whom he snatched a cellphone from had accepted his apology.

Bathan snatched the phone of GMA News veteran reporter Jun Veneracion. Veneracion first reported the incident through a Facebook post, where he attached a video of how his phone was snatched. It went viral overnight, and the next day, Bathan apologized, reasoning that he mistook Veneracion for a threat.

The punishment: Sinas said Bathan was punished with an admonition and a warning – the mildest punishment for unruly cops. The PNP also had the option of suspending, withholding the salary, or dismissing Bathan.

Instead, the PNP, by the order of PNP chief General Archie Gamboa, also promoted Bathan to become the deputy chief for operations of the National Capital Region Police Office, the third-highest post in the command.

During the briefing on Monday, Gamboa saw the change of position as a "slide down," as the post, while high, he said, has no primary control over cops of any geographic area. –

Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers security, crime, and the city of Manila for Rappler. He was chosen as a Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs.