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Radyo Natin Iriga reporter jailed for opening police blotter
Radyo Natin Iriga reporter jailed for opening police blotter
Nation
Radyo Natin Iriga reporter jailed for opening police blotter
by Mhillen Nicole Borja09 August 2023
Screengrab from Radyo Natin Nationwide

A reporter from Radyo Natin (RN) station in Iriga has been in police custody for three days due to the alleged act of opening a police blotter.

The reporter was identified as Jose Rizal Pajares.

According to RN Iriga Production Manager Raul Sodsod, the newly appointed Chief of Police, Lt. Col. Ralph Jason Oida, found fault with Pajares' actions, claiming it violated a new police policy.

"Nung kasama ako [at] nakasakay kami sa PNP car, nakaposas siya, 'e, nung papunta kami sa korte nakaposas siya. Tapos nung magbibisita pa 'yung mga kasamahan sa media, parang pinagbabawalan pa nila," the prod manager said during an interview with RN Nationwide.

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"Hindi pa nakakareport, bubuklatin pa lang 'yung [police] blotter, hinold na siya." he added.

Sodsod noted that during their interactions, Pajares' explanations were disregarded by the Chief of Police, who promptly ordered his detention.

'Violation of Data Privacy Act'

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Despite the Radyo Natin reporter's decade-long career in the field, he was subjected to inquest proceedings and charged with violating the Data Privacy Act.

Sodsod revealed that Chief-of-Police roles have been rotating in Iriga, and collecting police blotters for their program's reporting has been Pajares' regular task.

"Papalitpalit na ang Chief-of-Police sa Iriga, 'yung talaga ang beat niya. Kumukuha siya ng mga police blotter dahil ire-report sa programa namin," Sodsod revealed.

"Siguro, hindi pa siya masyadong kilala ni COP pero may police naman don na magpapatunay na, siguro nagpaalam naman siya, na kukuha siya ng blotter," he added.

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Sodsod attempted to mediate by suggesting a dialogue, given their routine access to police blotters, and the absence of prior complaints from the police regarding the media's access to them. However, the situation escalated, with the case being forwarded to the provincial office, resulting in charges under the Data Privacy Act.

"Nag-usap kami na kung pwedeng bigyan ng babala dahil hindi naman namin alam na may bago silang policy, tapos sabi niya, 'wala akong magagawa kasi inakyat ko na itong kaso," Sodsod revealed.

"Naka-forward na raw sa provincial office. Violation daw sa Data Privacy Act... Pagbaba ko, wala na si Joriz sa lobby, nalaman kong nakakulong na," he said.

Pajares was eventually released on bail amounting to P10,000 after a prolonged court process.

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As of this writing, it remains uncertain whether there are sufficient grounds to substantiate the alleged violation of the Data Privacy Act.

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