The attack by Kalinga province Governor Jocel Baac on radio host Jerome Balinag Tabangay, which was caught on an in-studio video camera, has gotten lots of attention around the world, including lots of viewing on the RBR-TVBR site. Now the national government has ordered the Philippine National Police (PNP) to investigate and possibly file criminal charges against the governor.
According to an official government press release, Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Jesse M. Robredo has ordered the PNP “to immediately conduct an in-depth investigation and the possible filing of criminal and administrative charges against Kalinga Gov. Jocel Baac and his bodyguards for allegedly attacking a broadcaster inside his radio booth in Tabuk City, Kalinga the other day.”
The Chief Director of the PNP and other top police officials have been ordered to report back quickly on whether the attack was prompted by the broadcaster’s frequent attacks on the governor for alleged involvement in illegal logging and jueteng (an illegal numbers game which is popular in the Philippines).
“The acts of the Governor is tantamount to conduct unbecoming of a public official, abuse of power and discretion. He should have been more prudent and patient under such circumstances taking into account that the radio program was live on air. We cannot tolerate such a behavior of a local government official,” said Robredo. The national cabinet member also asked the local office of the PNP to provide a security detail to protect Tabangay and his family.
RBR-TVBR observation: The good news for the broadcaster is that this incident is drawing attention from the highest levels of the national government. Robredo’s predecessor in his cabinet post and the man who appointed him is Philippine President Benigno Aquino.