A LAPU-LAPU City tourist police officer allegedly threatened to kill a reporter when the latter had a coverage in Barangay Pajo last Friday.
GMA dySS Super Radyo reporter Norman Mendoza, 44, had the incident re corded by the Lapu-Lapu Police Station 3 last Tuesday afternoon, after he was advised by officials of the radio management to do so.
As Cebu Press Freedom Week is approaching, Mendoza, president of the Association of Reporters in Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu in Truth and Excellence, said he was just doing his job as a journalist.
Mendoza said he was covering a demolition under the Mandaue Mactan Bridge last Friday morning when SPO2 Esnang Sarapuddin of the Lapu-Lapu Tourist Police (LTP) confronted him and asked why the reporter took videos of him.
“Niduol siya nako. Permiro gikumusta ko niya, niingon siya wa man lage ko ninyo mapalabay sa Jolo. Giingnan nako huwat lang, sir, noted naman na. Niingon siya nganu’ng video-video man ka diha (He approached me. At first, he asked me how I was and asked why we were not able to send him to Jolo. I told him just wait. He then asked me why I was taking videos of him),” Mendoza said.
Mendoza, who also serves as a correspondent of Cebu Daily News, told Sarapuddin that he was not taking video, but was writing his breaking news story.
The two had a run-in last May 8 when Mendoza tried to get the story of a British national who hit a Singaporean with a wrench.
In an interview yesterday, Sarapuddin recalled that he just asked Mendoza to show his identification card upon the instruction of his police chief.
“Nisud siya. Way respeto taga-media daw siya pero iya porma di mailhan taga-media (He just got inside. He did not have any respect and just told me he is from the media. I cannot just easily identify if he is from the media),” he said.
Sarapuddin said Mendoza was arrogant went he got inside their office.
According to him, he even heard Mendoza mentioning his name over the radio that he should be assigned to Jolo.
When they met again last Friday, Sarapuddin said he just cracked a joke to Mendoza on why he was not yet sent to Jolo.
For his part, Mendoza told Sarapuddin, that if he finds his report about the British national libelous, he should file a complaint.
“Niingon siya ang Muslim di na mo-file og kaso. Akong giingnan mo-unsa diay, Sir? Ingon siya modritso ra. Niingon sad siya kung dautan pa ko na Muslim gipapatay na tika. Gikuyawan ko (He told me Muslims do not file a case. I ask him what he would do? He answered me, ‘We just do what we want to do.’ He also told me that if he were a bad Muslim, he’d have killed me already. I was scared),” Mendoza said.
Mendoza immediately reported the incident to Senior Supt. Rommel Cabagnot, director of Lapu-Lapu City Police Office, after the incident.
Sarapuddin said he is willing to appear if his chief and the police director will ask him to explain.
“Ang masakit ba magsimba ko five times a day, nya tudluon ko ingnon ko nga bakakon... Kami nga police willing mi kung asa mi i-assign. Di mi magdumot (What hurts me is that I pray five times a day, but someone will just call me a liar. The police are willing to work wherever we are assigned. We don’t hold any grudge),” he said.
He said that he would not have reached his position, if he was a “salbahi (bad)” officer.
Mendoza feared for his safety after two unidentified men went to his house and asked his wife where he was yesterday morning.
The two persons just left after his wife said that he was in Lapu-Lapu.
Cabagnot said he already endorsed the incident to the chief of the City Tourist Police Office.
Mendoza said his only request to Cabagnot was to send Sarapuddin to another area of assignment after he was threatened by the police officer. with Dan Henly N. Cuizon, USJR Comm Intern