Duterte’s Task Force vs media killings hailed

July 4, 2017 at 9:39 pm Leave a comment


The Presidential Task Force on Media Security (PTFoMS) drew praises from media workers and their families who were victims of violent crimes recently in connection with their job.

 Pangasinan-based radioman, Virgilio Maganes, for one, thanked PTFoMS for its prompt action on his case that resulted in the arrest of a suspect behind his botched assassination last November.

 Maganes, also columnist of the local newspaper Northern Watch and a commentator of DWPR Radyo Asenso based in Dagupan City said police operatives led by Villasis Deputy Chief of Police Rodrigo Lubiano arrested in Urdaneta City Michael Prado y Tagle, 33, a resident of Puelay village in Villasis town last June 10 by virtue of a warrant of arrest dated April 3, 2017 issued by Judge Junius T. Dalaten of Regional Trial Court Branch 50 here.

 It can be recalled that Maganes was on his way to the Villasis town proper in the morning of November 8, 2016 when the tricycle he was riding was tailed by motorcycle men riding in tandem. Three gun shots were fired at the back of the tricycle and one shot hit him when the suspects left the crime scene.

 PTFoMS executive director, Undersecretary Joel Sy Egco, himself a former mediaman, visited Maganes at the hospital hours afters the shooting and instructed investigators to leave no stone unturned in finding the culprits.

 “I am very grateful for the help of PTFoMS, especially President Rodrigo Duterte who has shown his deep concern for media workers’ safety by creating the task force,” said Maganes.

 Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin M. Andanar pushed for the creation of the Task Force last year, along with the freedom of information Executive Order signed by President Duterte.

Meanwhile, Edralyn Pangilinan, the widow of slain Catanduanes News Now publisher Larry Que, expressed appreciation to the PTFoMS for ensuring the delivery of justice for the Que patriarch, who was gunned down on December 19, 2016. Que died the next day.

 Pangilinan and Marlon Suplig, also a local broadcaster filed charges of murder with the Department of Justice against Gov. Joseph Cua, a certain Prince Subion and policemen Vincent Tacorda and Dan Bagay.

 “We are thankful for the sincerity of the Duterte government in serving justice for slain mediamen. We are aware of the PTFoMS’ sacrifices. The task force has provided security for our family as we go along this lengthy fight for justice,” said Ms. Pangilinan.

 During the PTFoMS’ last meeting, DOJ Assistant Secretary Juvy R. Manwong said that a panel of prosecutors has been formed to handle the case of Que.

 “This proves that President Duterte pays no lip service to the people he promised to serve. We are forever grateful to him and the people behind PTFoMS,” stressed Suplig.

 Last week, six of the biggest media groups in the country issued a manifesto of support for Que’s family and friends’ quest for justice.

 “We condemn in the strongest possible terms any and all forms of violence against Media Workers and likewise strongly urge all those concerned to expedite the resolution of this case,” the group said.

 The signatories are Melinda Quintos De Jesus, Executive Director, Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility; Paul Gutierrez, President, National Press Club; Ryan Rosauro,Chairman, National Union of Journalists of the Philippines; Ruperto Nicdao Jr., President, Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas; Nelson Santos, President, Publishers Association of the Philippines, Inc.; and Ariel C. Sebellino, Executive Director, Philippine Press Institute.

 In its six-month accomplishment report to the president last May, PTFoMS noted the latest survey of The Press Freedom Index, where the Philippines ranked 127th, a sharp 11 notches improvement from its previous position in 2016 (138th).

 Records show that the Philippines latest ranking is the fourth steepest improvement among 180 countries worldwide.

 Usec. Egco said the Task Force has also noticed a significant improvement in media worker security under the Duterte administration, owing largely to the proactive measures that are now in place to ensure a safer environment for members of the working press.

A number of new cases handled by the PTFoMS since its creation in October 2016 involve threats, harassment and physical assault against journalists.

  Besides the murder of Que, the Presidential Task Force reported the following cases: eight (8) Shooting Incidents, eight (8) Threats, one (1) Detention, one (1) request for continued Witness Protection Program coverage, two (2) for Physical Attack, one (1) Complaint and one (1) for Arrest. A Follow-Up was also conducted in the case of Jun Pala following the public admission by retired policeman Arturo Lascanas of his participation in the killing.

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Entry filed under: News.

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