NUJP condemns NBI 'spying' on Kirams
MANILA - The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines (NUJP) has expressed "outrage" over the alleged misrepresentation of three National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) agents as media men "to gain entry and spy" inside the residence of Sulu Sultan Jamalul Kiram III on Wednesday.
Journalists covering the Kiram family reported that the supposed agents from the NBI's Technical Intelligence Division called up a TV news reporter so that they could pose as a member of her crew. The reporter flatly denied their request.
"The charade pulled off by the NBI agents was not only unethical; it was downright criminal. They not only willfully endangered the reporter but all other journalists who have been covering the Kiram family amid the unfolding crisis in Sabah," NUJP said in a statement.
"As if it were not bad enough that our law enforcement agencies cannot, or will not, stop the continued murders of and attacks on journalists, they now directly place journalists' lives at risk through such despicable tactics," the group added.
The NUJP issued three demands directed at Justice Secretary Leila De Lima who has direct supervision over the NBI: (1) to issue, with NBI Director Nonnatus Ceasar Rojas, an immediate public apology to the media and a promise not to let such an incident happen again; (2) to immediately relieve, if not fire, the agents and whoever ordered them to undertake the operation; and (3) to file the appropriate administrative and criminal charges against them.
For her part, De Lima said Rojas has denied any such order to send agents to the Kiram residence.
"I immediately texted Dir. Rojas kagabi when I saw that sa news and Dir. Rojas denied issuing any instruction, any order, to that effect. Walang authority. Pinapa-check ko siyempre kung mga NBI [agents] talaga yun although wala pa sa aking feedback," De Lima said.
The NUJP also called on other law enforcement and security agencies to " immediately stop the practice of impersonating journalists in the conduct of their work."
"We call on our colleagues not to allow themselves to be used by these agencies, and to immediately expose any attempts by them to use the media in their work," the statement read.