The National Union of Journalists of the Philippines stands with our member and colleague Margarita Valle as she seeks justice for her wrongful arrest at the Laguindingan airport in 2019.
After being held incognito for hours on what police would later say was a case of mistaken identity, she sought redress through the Office of the Ombudsman.
The Office of the Ombudsman said, however, that police failure to verify her identity was just a case of simple neglect that merited suspension of three police officers for three months.
Valle’s fight for justice and the lingering trauma of the arrest have lasted longer than the penalty for “carelessness or indifference”, which is what simple neglect basically is.
We hope as she does that the Supreme Court, the highest court in this nation of laws, sees that holding a journalist — or any citizen — over a supposed likeness to a wanted person and denying them communication with their family or even legal counsel is more than just a matter of carelessness and indifference.
More than an apology and a slap on the wrist, we call for accountability and justice for the arrest of Margarita Valle and hope that hers is the last case of “mistaken identity” even when the resumption of regularity is often used to shield the even the most irregular acts from scrutiny.