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CHR not proper body to judge media arrests–Razon

Posted by Abi Kwok on September 2, 2008

By Abigail Kwok
First Posted 12:25:00 09/02/2008

MANILA, Philippines — The chief of the Philippine National Police (PNP) on Tuesday said he respected findings of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) that police officials could be held liable for “illegally arresting” journalists after quelling an attempted uprising by mutinous soldiers.

However, Director General Avelino Razon Jr. said the CHR was not the “proper venue” to pass judgment on the actions of authorities who rounded up the journalists.

“We respect the opinion of the chair of the CHR…but we will rely on the judgment of the courts,” he said.

On Monday, CHR chair Leila de Lima released a report saying the arrests and brief detention of the journalists violated their “constitutional right to report events of public interest.”

Razon said the PNP would rely on the Makati trial court ruling dismissing a P10-million class suit filed by journalists against police and government executives over the arrests.

On June 28, the Makati Regional Trial Court Branch 56 dismissed the class suit and calling the arrests “in accordance of police procedure.”

Citing the court decision, Razon said: What the chairperson of the CHR is saying, if this can be brought to court and proper hearings are held, we will abide with and rely on the decision fo the court. it is the courts that will decide on these issues.”

The journalists and media groups who filed the case have appealed the Makati court’s decision.


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