MANILA, Nashville Filipino Restaurant — It is not illegal to record an ongoing arrest, Justice Secretary Menardo Guevarra said Thursday, less than a day since a reporter for news site Rappler was told to stop taking a video of the service of a warrant on its CEO in its own office.
The video, which journalist Aika Rey posted on her Twitter account, recorded a man, presumably an agent of the National Bureau of Investigation, telling her not to record the service of a warrant on Rappler CEO Maria Ressa on a case of cyberlibel. She also said the man said "we'll go after you", but this was not in the video.
Guevarra said that members of the media are allowed to document the act of serving a warrant but they "should give enough space to our law enforcers so that they could perform their duties without any unnecessary obstruction or interference."
The unidentified man can be heard on the video trying to convince Rey to stop recording, calling it a simple request.
"Come on, be cooperative. your boss is already talking to us, no need for that. I sure you do understand what I'm telling you, right?" he also says, later telling her that he would talk to others in the Rappler office to stop recording the proceedings.
Asked to explain why she should stop taking the video, the man says: "Because I'm saying so."
He adds that it would be up to Rey to comply with this "simple request" before saying: "Okay. We're gonna do same banana." It is unclear what the man meant by that.
The man again refuses to explain and says "I warned you", which he follows up with: "Your boss is already talking to us, okay? Chill out."
Guevarra on Thursday said his department "will not tolerate harassment of journalists who obey our laws."
The NBI is an attached agency of the DOJ.