THE Manila Police District (MPD) will provide 24-hour security to Manila Times’ senior reporter Jomar Canlas who received death threats after he testified at the impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Maria Lourdes Sereno at the House of Representatives.
Supt. Erwin Margarejo, MPD spokesman, said the round-the-clock protection would be temporary because Canlas’s request for a more permanent one before the Police Security and Protection Group (PSPG) at Camp Crame was pending.
Margarejo said Canlas would have to undergo threat assessment evaluation before the PSPG could approve his request.
“But because of the immediate necessity of Mr. Canlas’ situation, the MPD will provide temporary security for him pending his personal request to PSPG Crame,” Margarejo said. “We still need to gather more information, as of now investigation is still on going,” he added.
Also on Wednesday, the camp of the chief justice called on authorities to protect Canlas and other journalists.
“The Chief Justice and the entire Supreme Court have consistently upheld the freedom of media practitioners including their right to be secure in their persons, as with every citizen.
As Sereno has stated before, it is the duty of the courts to “ensure that the media may shine a light, where and when needed, by protecting the crucial freedoms that ensure independence of the press,” it said in a statement.
“The Chief Justice joins the call for concerned authorities to investigate the act of intimidation against Mr. Jomar Canlas, and ensure that he and other journalists are protected and are able to work without fear of reprisal,” it added.
On Friday, December 1, Canlas received death threats after testifying at the impeachment proceedings against Sereno who was accused of alleged culpable violation of the Constitution, betrayal of public trust and corruption.
Meanwhile, two groups of reporters covering the justice beat expressed their support to Canlas.
The Justice Reporters Organization (JUROR) and the Justice and Court Reporters Association (JUCRA) condemned the threats against the Times reporter.
”We consider the death threats received by Mr. Canlas as a direct attack on press freedom, which has no place in a democracy. To renege on our responsibility in upholding the truth at all times is to betray our social contract with the people. To stifle that responsibility, in whatever manner, is a betrayal of truth itself,” said JUROR in a statement.
”We must never allow intimidation and harassment of journalists as we stand pat on our duty as a watchdog of democracy,” according to JUCRA, as it called on authorities to “investigate the matter and run after the person or persons responsible for this dastardly criminal act.”