(Statement from National Union of Journalists of the Philippines national chairperson Rowena Paraan)

THE assault by heavily armed members of the Iloilo City police’s Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) unit on radio station Aksyon Radyo early Sunday morning, and the subsequent justification by chief of police Ruperto Floro that the heavy-handed tactics employed by his men was “standard operating procedure” are proof that, for all their profuse claims, state security forces continue to have no inkling of what human rights are and what their role in a democracy is.

Video footage of the incident, captured on the radio station’s CCTV, clearly shows the following:

-No resistance on the part of the station personnel or the security guards who were with them

-Full compliance with the policemen’s orders

Why then, we ask, did the policemen kick and manhandle an unarmed security guard who had clearly complied with their orders to lie on the floor and why, after aiming their guns at the station’s personnel, did they order the men to take off their shirts?

Why, too, did the policemen delete the video taken by engineer Bem Abentino on his mobile phone?

And why did they, in their “tactical search” of the station, include the personal belongings of station staff?

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