By Raymond Carl Dela Cruz

ASSAULTED. A screen capture of the live video by Val Gonzales as aired over DZRH’s Facebook page about the protest of transport group Manibela along East Avenue in Quezon City on Monday (June 10, 2024). Manila Broadcasting Corporation – DZRH condemned the attack and vowed to hold accountable those responsible for the incident. (Screen capture of DZRH video)

MANILA – Radio station DZRH and its parent firm Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC) condemned the alleged assault by members of transport group Manibela on its reporter Val Gonzales while covering a transport strike on Monday.

In a statement, MBC-DZRH station manager and vice president for Legal, lawyer Rudolph Steve Jularbal said the incident occurred while Gonzales was covering the protest of Manibela members on East Avenue, Quezon City.

“Ang mga kaparehong pangha-harass ay malinaw na pagsikil sa karapatan sa pamamahayag at walang puwang sa isang sibilisadong lipunan (Such harassments are clear violations of journalists’ rights and have no place in a civilized society),” Jularbal said.

He said those behind the assault would be held accountable to discourage similar incidents from happening again.

“Makakaasa ang publiko na mananatiling committed ang MBC-DZRH sa pagtataguyod ng katotohanan sa ngalan ng patas at malayang pamamahayag (The public may rest assured that the MBC-DZRH is committed to advocating for truth in the name of fair and unrestricted journalism),” he said.

Manibela chair Mar Valbuena denied that their members assaulted Gonzales and claimed that the reporter instigated the incident.

“Ang grupong Manibela ay mariing pinatututulan ang pahayag ng DZRH reporter na si Val Gonzales na umano’y sinuntok o sinapak siya ng aming mga miyembro,” he said.

“Ang nakita lamang sa kanyang video report ay ang paligiran diumano siya ng aming mga miyembro, ngunit ito ay para kausapin lamang siya nang mahinhin, ngunit hindi niya nilantad ang kanyang mga malisyosong sinasabi bago siya umere, kaya diumano siya sinaktan (What was seen in his video report was that he was surrounded by our members, but only so they can speak to him calmly. But he did not reveal that he was going to be airing malicious statements before going live, that’s why he allegedly was assaulted),” he said.

He said Gonzales allegedly started the incident by insulting members of the transport group, calling for their incarceration.

“Ang mamahayag ay malaya ngunit huwag mong isama ang sarili mong saloobin sa inyong trabahong kinabibilangan upang hindi ito maging bias, maging patas sana tayo sa ating pamamalita (Journalists are free but they should not speak their own opinions to not have bias and to be fair in their speech),” he said.

Val Gonzales, in a message over Viber, denied that he insulted or cursed any of the of the transport group’s members.

“Hindi po totoo na minura ko sila, hindi ko po siya nakakausap. Baka po ang nagmura sa kanila ay ‘yung mga nape-perwisyo at labis na naabala at naaabala sa pagsara nila sa East Avenue ng mahabang panahon (It is not true that I cursed at them, I did not talk to them. Maybe they were insulted or cursed by those affected by their protest for ‘closing down’ East Avenue for a quite a while),” he said.

A livestream video of his report as seen over DZRH’s Facebook page show that Gonzales was reporting Manibela’s protest and how it blocked the road along East Avenue in Quezon City when he was suddenly surrounded by the group’s members.

He moved away and claimed that he was punched during the incident. (PNA)