Statement of the Commission on Human Rights denouncing the alleged assault committed by members of the MANIBELA group against journalists

Statement of the Commission on Human Rights denouncing the alleged assault committed by members of the MANIBELA group against journalists

The Commission on Human Rights denounces the alleged assault on journalists by individuals from the public transport organization MANIBELA. Radio journalists Val Gonzales of DZRH and Allan Gatus of DZBB were reportedly attacked while covering the three-day transport strike organized by MANIBELA in Quezon City.

According to reports, Gonzales was physically assaulted and punched in the waist during a live broadcast, while Gatus allegedly faced verbal abuse from protesters, who accused him of corruption and bias.

The CHR emphasizes the necessity for both parties to respect and protect each other’s rights, thereby supporting the democratic process and contributing to an informed society. The Bill of Rights explicitly states that there should be no abridgment of the right to peaceably assemble as well as the freedom of the press.

CHR Chairperson Richard P. Palpal-latoc stresses, “To ensure that grievances are properly addressed, it is crucial to maintain respect for our media professionals. They play a vital role in communicating the concerns of various groups to both the government and the general public.”

The Commission recognizes the constitutional right to public assembly. However, the CHR firmly reminds the public that this right is not a justification for violence, that assemblies should be conducted peacefully, and that participants do not molest any person or do any act unduly interfering with the rights of other persons not participating in the public assembly, including journalists.

The guarantees of Section 4, Article III of the 1987 Philippine Constitution include the safety of journalists, ensuring their protection against unlawful harassment. Therefore, the CHR is committed to upholding their right to freedom of expression in a secure environment while they fulfill their democratic role as the nation’s Fourth Estate.

As the country’s prime advocate for protecting and promoting the rights and dignity of all, the Commission continues to champion a society where rights are safeguarded, and dialogue occurs without resorting to violence or intimidation.###