Netizens have expressed anger and disbelief over the snatching of the cellphone of veteran GMA reporter Jun Veneracion by the chief of the Southern Police District (SPD) during the Traslacion in Manila on Thursday.
Veneracion was recording a group of policemen dragging a devotee of the Black Nazarene to the ground when his mobile phone was allegedly snatched away by Brigadier General Nolasco Bathan.
Bathan has since apologized to Veneracion.
He said he was “tired” and “it was chaotic” when he seized the cellphone.
However, a lot of netizens are still angry with what he did, adding that saying that sorry is not enough.
They also condemned the general for besmirching the name of the Black Nazarene.
Here are some of the netizens’ reactions to the incident:
“A sincere apology? In the recorded video, B/Gen Bathan clearly knew who @jun_veneracion was AND clearly intended to snatch his cellphone to delete his footage. Unless the officer believed that Jun’s documentation was a ‘threat’ (why and how?) this statement is still untruthful,” tweeted broadcast journalist and actor Atom Araullo.
A sincere apology? In the recorded video, B/Gen Bathan clearly knew who @jun_veneracion was AND clearly intended to snatch his cellphone to delete his footage. Unless the officer believed that Jun’s documentation was a “threat” (why and how?) this statement is still untruthful. https://t.co/QmfaOSsEx0
— Atom Araullo (@atomaraullo) January 10, 2020
“Kawawa kay Bathan. Di daw nya alam nung una na si Jun Veneracion ung kumukuha ng video. General, sinasabi mo bang kung ibang tao o ordinaryong tao lang un, pwede mo na hablutin ung phone nya? Nag-iisip ka ba talaga? 🤔”
“General Bathan magnanakaw ka na ng cellphone at sinungaling ka pa!”
General Bathan magnanakaw ka na ng Celphone at sinungaling ka pa!
— Rain Forest (@lowpressurearea) January 10, 2020
“‘Saksi ko pa ang Itim na Nazareno.’ Back to you, General Bathan. Ang sahol niyo. 🤮”
“Snatcher General Bathan.”
Snatcher General Bathan
— Perci Cendana (@PerciCen) January 10, 2020
“Kasuhan ng snatching si General Bathan.”
Kasuhan ng snatching si General Bathan.
— Charles Yao (@sabrejaguar) January 10, 2020
In his Facebook post on January 9, Veneracion narrated that while taking footage of a commotion between cops and a hapless devotee on Ayala Bridge in Manila, a police general suddenly darted out of nowhere and snatched his mobile phone.
“He quickly moved away from the scene. I was accosted by another police officer, preventing me from going after the police official who took away my phone,” he wrote.
“Didn’t get his name and could no longer remember his face. But one thing stood out: I saw a star on his shoulders,” he added.
Minutes later, Veneracion with the help of a group of photojournalists, was able to identify and find the officer, who turned out to be Bathan.
When confronted, the SPD chief allegedly looked “fuming mad” and even threatened Veneracion that he’ll confiscate his hand-held radio.
Thus, Veneracion told him, “Lalayo muna ako kasi masyado kang mainit, sir.
The veteran reporter came back later to an apologetic Bathan.
“Pasensya ka na, Jun, hindi kita nakilala,” said the general as narrated by Veneracion.
Then, Bathan handed back the cellphone.
Upon checking his phone, Veneracion found out that the video of the tense encounter between the cops and the devotee that he was recording when his phone got snatched had been deleted.
“Bakit nabura ang video ko, sir,” Veneracion asked Bathan.
“Wala akong binura dyan, saksi ko pa ang Itim na Nazareno,” the general replied.
The Kapuso reporter then turned his back and left.
“Good thing there’s a ‘recently deleted photo album’ that enables the iPhone users to recover erased photos and videos,” Veneracion continued in the post.
“Apparently, someone forgot to switch off the record button,” he added.
The video ended with the voice of a man giving instructions to someone.
“Burahin mo, burahin mo kuha ni Jun Veneracion. Pu#!#! ina nagku-kwan eh.”
Veneracion’s post quickly went viral and it has since garnered over 12,000 reactions and 10,000 shares.